My mother turned 65 yesterday. We threw her a big surprise party. Family and friends from all over came into town. Aunts and uncles, cousins, small group members, new friends and old.
We ate wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon, steak and pork and oddly colored ravioli. We had cake; chocolate, cream cheese carrot, red velvet and tuxedo. I honestly don’t know what was in the tuxedo cake but it was pretty so we bought it. My mom likes pretty things. We all like cake.
We talked about my mom. She’s incredible. She’s funny and charming and silly and fierce. She is tenacious and intelligent and mischievous and profound. She is a good friend. My dad smiled when he talked about her. My daughter said she loved her grandma really a lot. My sister cried. I quoted Nelson Mandela and said that “a good mind and a good heart are a formidable combination”.
My mom likes to tell me on my birthdays to double my age and think about how much life I have left. I think its supposed to spur me on to appreciate each day and redeem my moments for things that matter. Yesterday I mentally doubled her age and my heart hurt. You see, my mom is 65. She’s not going to double her age. And then I remembered Proverbs 31. Not that bit about a good wife who can cook and keep a house organized (although my mother’s pork chops are lovely and her napkins are always ironed). Not the bit about how her industry makes sure her family is not hungry (although as her business partner I can attest to her talent). I remembered this bit:
She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 That’s my mama.
My heart is full of lessons from my mom; Wink. Watch your grammar. Take dinner to sick friends. Put butter on your popcorn. Improve your vocabulary. Dance in your kitchen. Read lots of books. Don’t give up on the Seahawks. Say yes more than no. Travel. Use your good crystal often. Read The Hiding Place whenever you have a bad attitude. Take very hot baths. Buy comfy shoes. Invest in people. Stand up against injustice. Laugh often. Hold hands. Date your spouse. Hold your faith.
When my mom stood up at her party last night she thanked her friends and family for coming. She thanked them for their love. And she reminded them that her life is for Christ. We all hope and trust that she has bright years ahead to travel and read and serve and laugh. But beyond that, she has eternity. So her tomorrows are all secure. Corrie Ten Boom said it best “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Happy Birthday Mom.
My grandmother was competitive. If you went to visit Grandma, it was only a matter of time before she asked if you wanted to play a game. Skipbo, RummyCube, Trianamos, Phase 10 and Rook were all good possibilities. If she was losing, she’d pray. She’d win. I think that might be cheating.
I take after my grandma. With the praying and the competition. I only cheat in Monopoly. That game is mind numbingly boring. I always tell people I cheat before I agree to play. Somewhere in the middle of the game they notice that I’ve pilfered half of the funds in the bank and have been charging them rent when they land on their own properties. They always act surprised. Not sure why though since I warned them upfront.
Currently, I’m caught up in a fierce competition with my mother. I showed her how to play Word with Friends on her phone. When you finish a game on WWF it asks if you’d like a rematch. Problem is that it asks you both. We’re both fairly competitive. If I lose a game, I’m certainly not going to deny a rematch. It’s a shot to earn back some vocabulary credibility. If I win, its fun to keep riding that wave. As a result, we are experiencing exponential growth in the number of games we’re playing against each other.
The two of us have different approaches to Word with Friends. My mom looks at the letters she has and thinks. Then she puts words on the board. I try that. When it doesn’t work, I start randomly arranging letters until the game accepts a word. Sometimes I’m shocked. My mother is not impressed. If she ran the world, you’d have to use the word in a sentence before you could place it on the board. I have to admit that it does slightly decrease the impact of a win when I sneak in a higher score with a word I have no idea how to pronounce or define.
Bovids are not known to daven. If they did, Ods might decided to rearrange the var. There you go, my mama. All my words in sentences. I even looked them up. Grandma would be proud.
It struck me tonight while I outside washing the one window my husband forgot to do that selling a house stinks. I was still wearing work clothes crouched down trying to get the window track clean. What is that nasty stuff that collects in the track? I heard that newspaper is great to keep streaks away. No one mentioned that the newspaper also gets very soggy and dyes your hands black.
We’ve had our house on the market for a week. One person looked at it. I can tell this is going to be a test in patience and endurance. I love our house. This sale is about the kind of life we want to live. I want to be close to work, church, family and friends. I don’t want to spend two hours a day in the car.
Having a house on the market is deeply personal. We’re hoping that random strangers will walk through our house. I’m hoping that someone will feel comfortable here and want to stay. I’m afraid they won’t.
It feels remarkably familiar.
Remember what it felt like when Prom was coming and you didn’t have a date? I remember trying on dresses on the off chance that I had a date when the big night came. I remember sitting in classes and wondering if anyone thought I was worth a dinner and a ticket. I remember the sinking feeling when everyone else had plans and I did not. A friend and I had a complicated and unrealistic plan to convince two boys who rode our bus that they really did want to go to a dance. It didn’t work. I remember my wise parents planning a trip for that same weekend so I’d be out of town. My mother told me not to worry, that I’m just a late bloomer. Who wants to be late at anything? Late is not good….right?
I heard about someone yesterday who sold their house in five days. Part of me strongly dislikes these people. Part of me wants to be them. Today my mother today told me not to worry. Anything worthwhile takes time. God knows the plans He has for us. I’m grateful for my mother.
I’m also grateful that I’m no longer an insecure teenager. I have a cousin who decided she didn’t want a date to Prom. She and a whole pile of her girlfriends went shopping, found the perfect dresses and went to Prom in a big limo. Just the girls. They had a ball. No worries. I wish I could go back to that teenager I was. I wish I could tell her that Prom is not a big deal. I wish I could tell her to relax and just enjoy her friends. I plan on telling my daughter this. I hope she listens. In the mean time I am going to keep washing my windows and calling my realtor. I am going to plan for a move and trust that it will happen. If it doesn’t, I’m going to trust the One who knew me in high school and knows me now. I am going to try and model for my daughter what trust looks like. Thanks Mom.