I call her Mami and sometimes Madre. The kids call her Omie (pronounced: Oh me). She gets to celebrate her birthday on the same day our country celebrates its independence. When we were little my sister and I used to think that all the fireworks were from people celebrating her birthday.
Well today we got to celebrate her 74th birthday. It’s difficult for me to imagine she’s really 74 because she acts 20 years younger than her age. Natalie was excited beyond belief that she got to face paint Omie’s face today! My mom had never experienced the fun of having her face painted before so she thought it was real fun. Natalie explained to Steve: “yes, when Omie was little face paint wasn’t invented yet”. 🙂 Which led, of course, to a conversation of things that she got to experience in her lifetime. She recalled how when her family would want to make a phone call, they would pick up the receiver of their phone and wait for a woman’s voice who would ask what number she could connect them to. They would tell her and wait for her to push/operate buttons on her end and then wait for what seemed a really long time before the phone would begin ringing at their friend’s house. She told us about her neighbors who invited her family over to watch tv with them. It was in the 1950’s…..she was around 12….and she remembers her mom baking cookies and their family walking over with a plate of cookies to watch a show at the neighbors. She remembers seeing pictures in magazines of an American family sitting around on the floor watching a television. She told us about how there wasn’t any plastic or scotch tape. Sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper and a rubber band was put in place. A man would walk down the street once a week shouting out to announce his arrival. He walked, pushing a car with big wheels, collecting potato peels and any other food scraps that people had. It was an early form of composting you could say. But, he was collecting scraps to feed to his pigs.
Lots of stories……lots of hilarious laughter as she opened up her presents! When Natalie had called her asking her what she would like for her birthday, my mom mentioned perhaps a new animal statue for her patio. Well ‘lo and behold she got a giant reclining frog statue and a bejeweled metallic blue peacock. It made her laugh soooooooooooo hard. But that’s what you get when you have a 4-year old go shopping with mama. Natalie loooooved getting to pick them out!!!!!
And my mom loved the present we made her. It made her cry. Tears of joy. And tears of feeling special, I think. We wanted to say thank you to her for the hours and hours she has spent with Jacob and Natalie- teaching them the beauty of art and music. She has instilled a love of the arts in them. And for that I will forever be grateful. So it seemed fitting for all of us to gift her in the same language. An artistic expression of thanks. We each made flowers and then adhered them to canvases. And then spread mod podge over it all. She couldn’t believe that even Steve was a part of the project. That alone I think made it extra super special. 🙂
I love my mother. She is more special to me than words can adequately express. Ever since I had children, I’ve learned to appreciate her more. I’ve experienced now the love and sacrifice she gave to me when I was a child. But she continues to shower me with love- encouraging me in my motherhood. Her words of affirmation and compliments to me as she watches me be a mom, mean the world to me. It is so nice to be noticed and told that you’re doing a great job as a mom. It’s a job where you never know if you’re doing it quite right. I love it that she notices details of our lives and brings attention to them. I love it that she knows my kids so well. I love it that they can have a relationship with her. I am so grateful for my mother. My heart is getting full of this intense mushy feeling right now and I feel the emotion rising in my throat. I better start posting some pictures before I begin to cry.
I’m blessed to have the relationship I do with my mom. Thank you God. I know that years ago she and I went through a rough patch. Times were tough for our relationship and it wasn’t always like this. So it makes me all the more thankful that we have these years now.
Happy Birthday Madre! May you have many many more. Would love for you to get to see what Natalie will be like when she’s really 17! She’s dreaming of it now and already pretending to act that age. I’d love to share those days and conversations with you. Okay now I’m going to really start to cry. Here’s hoping and praying for another 12 years! Okay now I did start crying. You’ll only be 86! That’s still a young chicken. 🙂 I can’t and don’t want to imagine days without you. I love you too much to think of that.