When I see the photos of my Mom with my oldest siblings, she looks like she had a little more time. A place to take a breath. She looks a little more relaxed.
But. By the time I was born, she seemed to be in a bit of a hurry in most of the snapshots. Her eyes look tired, and her smile was slightly taut.
It only seems right. Heck, the last three girls were more than a handful. I am the youngest. So yes, me especially. I mean, I was a pretty good kid in general. But completely off-the-charts on energy. I have been called, on several occasions, Type AAA. I was the wagging tail at the end of our family.
But Mom. And Dad. Seven kids. I know some people have more children. But most families have way less. In fact, I looked it up. The average now is 3.14 family members per household. That includes the entire family.
In 1950, the average was 3.67.
So yes, we were inflated by the time I got to the surface. Nine in our household.
Somehow, though, it always worked. Incredibly. We were always well fed. We were warm and cozy in our very own beds. We were bathed and clean, and lived in a sturdy, orderly home. We did our homework, our chores, and then we played. We went to church every day. And said our prayers at night. Like clockwork.
My Mom and Dad were completely in love too. Which was icing on the cake.
I know that my life has been incredibly fortunate in this way. This way of family.
But Mom. She was born in 1923. She would have been 95 on this day.
Lucy Rita Rose was strong.
She was beautiful too. And confident. My Mother was entirely sure of her opinion. She had style.
She had a friendly face that put people at ease. Mom did not seem to know a stranger, and always welcomed those around her with a place to sit, and the warm comfort of food.
Lucy did not like to wait. For anything.
There was a fantastic, and instantaneous sparkle in her eyes when she would smile. One hazel, one green. And then there were those furrowed-brow looks of thought and contemplation.
Mom asked good questions, and had a large sense of wonder.
She gave us the gift of life.
And gave of herself throughout our lives.
In her last years, I would visit with Mom most every day. This, for the three years after Dad died. Some days those visits were fun, and joyful, and good. Other days, they were grueling. Not because of Mom. But because of her dementia, and poor health.
But then I stepped out of her room for a couple of weeks. I decided to take a vacation. And Mom died in that room, while I was gone. While my feet stood on the ground in Germany, of all places. I am still so sad that I was not with her, to help her cross.
Mom. Today is your birthday, and I am thankful for that. For your life. For you.
I miss you Mom.
A parent’s love is whole no matter how many times divided. – Robert Brault
Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first. – Matthew Jacobson