Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ten Things I Want To Thank My Mother For On The Occasion Of Her 75th Birthday

Mom and Dad - aren't they gorgeous?

My mom's 75th birthday is today. (How is that possible?)

It's a milestone birthday and richly deserving of some kind of official recognition on a scale equal with the Queen's Jubilee, although I suspect Paul McCartney and Elton John won't be serenading my dear mother while she imbibes in barbecued hot dogs and birthday cake. Thus having no celebrity performances or parades in the plan, the least I can do is present Ten Things I Want To Thank My Mother For On The Occasion Of Her 75th Birthday:

1. Thanks for having beautiful dark hair and big brown eyes and tremendous dimples and passing those gorgeous things my way.

2. Thanks for your kindness and generosity, your big heart, your all-round niceness. You have always been, and will always be, a lady in the old-fashioned and true sense of the word. Except when you give bad drivers the finger. Or when you perfectly hork your gum out of the window of a moving car which, by the way, is a skill I admire and try to emulate whenever possible. You look like you would never say shit even if your mouth was full of it, except when you do say shit. Which you almost never do. Mostly your swear word of choice is "asshole" which usually accompanies giving bad drivers the finger.

Family portrait taken in Midland, mid 1960s. That's me with my teddy bear.
My little sister, Liz, wasn't born yet.
3. Thank you for busting your middle finger and having it wrapped in a cast in the up position for a month. It wouldn't have been nearly as funny if you had broken your index finger or your baby finger. I never grew tired of seeing you wave that stiff bandaged gauze covered middle digit around. Thank you for being funny.

4. Thank you for having that dream about the giant squirrel chasing you up a telephone pole. When did you have that dream... back in the 1960s? See? A dream that's almost 50 years old, a dream that wasn't even my own, and I still think of it. You probably forget it entirely but I remember we were sitting in your bedroom in Midland, that big bedroom in that big old house, and we were talking about bad dreams  and you said the scariest dream you ever had was about a giant squirrel chasing you up a telephone pole. It was funny, this dream of a giant squirrel, and I still think it's so cute that your scariest dream was about a plus-sized squirrel. We were all so young then. I was just a little kid, maybe five or six. You were in your 20s. A girl, really. You always seemed so beautiful to me. Even in that ratty old pink housecoat, the one with the black buttons. Even when you had curlers in your hair. I loved those conversations at bedtime. You were the best mother imaginable.

5. Thanks for rubbing Watkins White Liniment on my legs when I was crying with rheumatism. You gave me a baby Aspirin, you rubbed liniment on my knees and you dried my tears with your kindness and your patience. I still have bad knees and I can't tell you how often I think of you when I'm rubbing Voltaren or Deep Cold onto my aching legs. It never feels as good as when you did it. It never will. Funny, how no matter what was wrong with me, no matter what I was crying about, you always gave me a baby Aspirin to make feel better. Just yesterday I had a terrible day at work and was bawling and feeling sorry for myself and thinking the world hated me. I went to the bathroom and took two Tylenol. I had no pain to speak of. Only the pain in my heart. But I thought of you when I took those pills and you know what, they made me feel better. Thanks.

Mom opening a Christmas present (from Simpson's!) in Markham, 1970s.
6. Thanks for making me spaghetti when I had my period that time when I was a teenager. I really wanted spaghetti for supper that night. We didn't have it often, mostly because Dad didn't like it, but I really wanted it this one time so I said, "I have a craving for it," and you knew it was a womanly-thing, a period-thing, so you made spaghetti using a can of Bravo spaghetti sauce. Dad probably bitched about it but to me it was more delicious than the juiciest steak and also our womanly secret.

7. Thanks for not murdering me. I know, there was times when I deserved it. So thanks for not shooting me in my retreating back when I ran away from home; or hanging me for a thief when I stole money from my brother; or strangling me when I was mouthy, which was all the time so frankly your arthritic fingers couldn't have borne that much strangling; or stabbing me with a butter knife when I refused to help with the dishes. Charming child, I was. Charming adult, too. Sorry about all that. Wish I could have been better because you deserved better.

8. Thanks for having beautiful penmanship; for being a talented artist; for being creative in all things. I love the way you write – I know that sounds silly but your handwriting truly is a thing of beauty. As a messy writer I envy and admire that about you. Also, you should blog more because you are a natural born storyteller with many, many stories to tell. You know me, I hate to be bossy, but get busy. :)

9. Thank you for ordering birthday cakes from Stouffville Bakery, the vanilla double layer ones with lemon curd filling. Thanks for the typewriter under the Christmas tree. Thanks for paying my way through college. Thanks for decorating the yard so beautifully for my first wedding. Thanks for playing Here Comes the Bride on the organ. Thanks for making the world's best apple pies. Thanks for taking us up to the cottage and letting us run wild and have the best times of our lives, while you sat alone and lonely with a crossword puzzle book and your own thoughts. Thanks for supporting me through thick and thin. You have never let me down, never. In a world where nothing is sure and people are cruel, you are my one constant, my rock. Thank you for unselfishly giving up your own life for your family.

10. Thank you for everything. I love you so much. Happy Birthday!

Mom and blue-haired Angus at his Grade 8 graduation last year.
She's still gorgeous. He still has blue hair.


P.S. The birthday girl sent me an e-mail last night to say how much she loved this post and everyone's comments and good wishes. She wanted me to pass on her thanks to you because she was having trouble posting a reply:

"Thanks Cathy for all the kind words you said about me. Thanks to all the people who sent great comments. I tried to comment but it didn't work. I had forgotten about the squirrel dream. That's funny. Thank you very much. See you to-morrow. Love Mom"


P.S.S. I'd like to thank CarrieBoo for her generous donation to the YMCA's Adult Literacy Programs, through my participation in the upcoming Muskoka Novel Marathon. THANK YOU CARRIE! She has a really fun blog, by the way, where she talks about family life and foibles and writing in an entirely entertaining way. Check her out! The novel marathon is getting closer - it all starts Friday, July 13 (eek!) with a whole weekend of writing, writing and more writing at Club 55 in Huntsville. Thirty writers will try their darndest to pump out a novel in that time, as well as raising as much money as they can so other people can learn to read and write. It's astonishing how many adults are illiterate in this day and age. Until I saw the statistics, I had no idea. If you'd like to find out more about the marathon, visit the website. If you'd like to sponsor my own efforts, click on the Muskoka chair (in the States it's called an Adirondack chair) on the top right side of my blog. I am thrilled about the support I've had so far and it makes my heart sing every time I see another donation. So thanks everyone! oxoox

45 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Cathy's mom! She is beautiful. I especially love the pic of her and Angus with the blue hair. Adorable.

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  2. Beautifully written Cathy! I read teary eyed all the way thru it! I laughed at the squirrel nightmare! Had never heard that one before! I didn't know you stole money from Billy! lmao I too have many special memories I hold dear to my heart that my parents gave me! I can only hope I have left as good a memories in my own childrens hearts! Even to this day when I am sick as a dog with a migraine or the flu, I get to the point when I cry pitifully for my Mom! Cuz only my Mom could make me feel better! I truly believe our Mom is what a Mom is all about and should be! Thanks for the memories Cathy! And Thankyou Mom for making them the best memories ever! Happy 75th Birthday! I love you very much!

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    1. Yes, I stole change from his piggy bank and used it to buy french fries at the restaurant across from Lakeview St. Public School. I got a real live official lickin' from dad for that one!

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  3. Happy Birthday to your Mom...she's a keeper.

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  4. Can you pass me a tissue, please? That was the best tribute I ever read. Such beautiful (and funny) memories. I hope I can be all that for my little girl (less said about my own mother the better... it's always good to hear what a "real" mother does so I can know what I'm aiming for!). THAT is a successful life. Happy 75th, Cathy's (a.k.a. The Real Queen) Mom!

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    1. That is the nicest comment, Carrie. Thanks so much!!!! "The real queen" LOL!

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  5. Your Mom was and is cute as *ell. I am jealous of you. Green and pretty vicious. Keep that tylenol handy as I'll probably bite if you come by. Give you something to cry about.

    My mother gave me a foot rub once.

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    1. I wouldn't recommend biting, Jeannie - I bit a cop once and it didn't end well for me... LOL!
      A foot rub? Was it good?

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  6. Wonderful tribute, Cathy! Happy birthday to your mother. We're glad she didn't murder you either. The giant squirrel story is funny although I think the broken finger one wins.

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    1. It was pretty fun... such a lady... such an expressive finger...

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  7. I hope you share this with your mom :) Beautiful!

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    1. I did, T.S., thanks! I think she liked it! :)

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  8. Happy birthday to Cathy's mom. You did the wonderful requirement perfectly.

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  9. Just beautiful! Cathy, Cathy, Cathy...what a wonderful tribute to a wonderful mom. Happy birthday Cathy's Mom!!!!

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  10. Happy b-day to your mom! She sounds like a totally awesome lady! Love the pictures :)

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    1. Thanks Jemi!! She is totally awesome. Totally totally totally.

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  11. Happy birthday to your mom. She sounds like an awesome lady!

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  12. I would love to have my girls write something like this when I turn 75! Though I pretty darn sure they could write #2 word for word. :) Such a wonderful tribute! BTW, I picked up saying 'shit' from my grandmother. Asshole is my own. LOL

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  13. Happy Birthday Aunt Dorothy. You really are a wonderful lady in the full sense of the word. I love you.

    Thank you for being a best friend for Aunt Mary and my Mom. You girls are what we daughters/cuzins want to be when we grow up. Beautiful and satisfied.

    Cath, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your/my memories. They are precious, just like our Moms.

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    1. That is a beautiful comment and sentiment, Debi. Thanks so much. It's true, all three of those sisters are fabulous.

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  14. What a lovely list and a great post for your mom!

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  15. Happy Belated Birthday, Cathy's Mom! What a great Mom to get, you're a lucky gal, Cathy! And a lot like her!

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  16. Happy Belated Birthday!!!!! I hope you had a wonderful day with the family! :D

    PS Love Angus' blue hair!

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    1. OMG, and he made it MORE blue on the weekend... my son the Smurf.

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  17. That was such a beautiful love letter and birthday wish to your mom! I love the sense of closeness. You are both so lucky to have each other. Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday!

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  18. Such a beautiful tribute, with fantastic use of your trademark humor--now I know where you get it from! Happy birthday to your Mom!

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  19. Sorry for being late to the party, so many blogs to visit especially on Friday Flash weekend - still a
    ‎*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪ღ♪•*ღ♪*•.¸¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪ღ♪¸.•
♪ღ♪░H░A░P░P░Y░♥░B░I░R░T░H░D░A░Y░ TO CATHY'S MUM♪ღ♪
*•♪ღ♪*•.¸¸¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪¸.•*¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*•♪

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    1. I think that's a world's record for most and best sparkles!!! Thanks Helen!

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  20. What a wonderful birthday tribute, Cathy!

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  21. Wow, this made me laugh and actually even cry a little bit. What a gorgeous post and I hope your Mother had a lovely birthday. I am sorry for being so ridiculously late. xx

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    1. Great to see you here Rebecca and, pfffft, on lateness!!!

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  22. A most excellent birthday tribute to your mom! Very nice way to honor her.

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