Happy 60th Birthday, Mom

A Birthday Ode to My Mom

A Birthday Ode to My Mom

Meet my Mom, Arla.

She marks her 60th year today, though this last year has been tumultuous.  Nutshell: She retired on a Sunday, left for a celebratory vacation on Tuesday, and two weeks later lost her husband of 33 years, my Dad, beginning the start of a new season in her life as a widow.  A year ago, my Dad and I were planning a swinging surprise party for her big year, a thank you to her for throwing HIM a 60th surprise party.  But then he left and everything changed.

My mom is in a Purge Mode, brought on by the loss of my Dad (cleaning out his stuff from the house) but also clearing out many THINGS just to make life simpler.  Over the last six months, at least five huge bags a week have gone to a variety of charities and those in need.  I am so proud of her.  But she doesn’t need another THING in the house just to prove that I love her and remember her birthday.

So instead, Mom, I want to remind you of the many gifts you already possess, share, and nurture in others.  Here, in no particular order, are:

60 Things I Love About You

You love us, me, John, B and P, unconditionally and it shows.
You exposed your children to the good things in life–art, food, and fun–and made us appreciate that these were the things to work for, not indulge in.
You chose your children’s interests over your own on countless occasions.  We are better for it and appreciate your sacrifices.
Your example of how to parent is exceptional and I am still learning from you every day.
You inspired me to devote this part of my life to child-rearing and homemaking, and I am better person from following your example.
I see myself in your beauty and know that I am beautiful, too.
You have supported me every day of my life, even if you didn’t support every choice I made.
I appreciate your marriage to Dad and the example of devotion you showed every day.
You take care of yourself emotionally and mentally.
You are a talented musician.
You are a gifted teacher, and your piano students love your patience and enthusiasm for music and the instrument.
I love listening to you practice the organ.
I love listening to you play a church service.  It’s one of my favorite things and I would rather sing to a hymn you are playing than attend most concerts.
Though impossible to enumerate, your gift as an organist has most certainly aided others’ journeys towards God.
You are a fantastic cook and hostess.
Your pantry and fridge are always well-stocked (until John comes over, anyway. 🙂 )
Your homemade candy is delicious.
Your homemade everything is delicious.
You teach knitting expertly, and encourage women to embrace the legacy of handicrafts passed down from our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
You are a talented seamstress, and kept me and my sister in cute clothes.  You continue this with our girls B and P.
I love your hands, well used, the folds and calluses, and all the things they have made over your lifetime, and continue to create.
You have a knack for matching colors from memory.  Seriously, it’s a real skill to remember that particular shade of aqua without the aqua thing in front of you.
You have good taste in design, from architecture to fashion.
I love your curating of the beautiful objects in your home.
You admire good craftsmanship.
You surround yourself with beauty made by others and are inspired by their artistry.
You enjoy learning new things.
You listen carefully.
You always know the diplomatic thing to say to people or about situations.
You always remind me of what’s truly important and allow me to see the bigger picture.
You believe and trust in God.
You do not judge quickly.
You give openly to those who are in need.
You celebrate the talents of others.
You are patient with others, but…
I have never known you to be a doormat.
You are a skilled mediator, even in difficult situations.
You are unflappable in every situation.
You pursue your interests with your whole heart.
You maintain your femininity while asserting your power and strength.
You have experienced setbacks medically, but continue to try to improve your health everyday.
I love working with you on projects.
You are a talented leader, especially in the trenches of a job or project.
You have honed that difficult-to-master skill of saying “No.”
You are not afraid to dream of something better, more creative, more interesting and satisfying.
You like adventure.
You have a large vocabulary.
You are a good storyteller.
You remember fondly events of your childhood and enjoy sharing stories these treasured moments.
I love your humor, even the groan-worthy puns.  Perhaps especially the groan-worthy puns.
You are fun to play games with and are a good sport.
You are fun to tease.
You are the ultimate prankster.
I love your impish smile.
I love your laugh.
I have always been proud to claim you as my Mom.
You are always willing to try new things.
Looking to the future, you see possibility, despite your current struggles.
You are not afraid to start over.
You are so brave.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  May this next chapter of your life bring everything you deserve, every good thing.  And should you ever doubt your place in my heart, re-read this and know you are cherished.

With love, your daughter,


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