Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 87th birthday. She passed away 10 years ago, one week before my youngest son was born.

Mom at age 18

Mom was the youngest of 4 children and the only one born in the United States. Her father died when she was 5 and her mom died 6 months after my mother got married. Mom met my dad on a double blind date – they were each with a different date! Mom’s date was very aggressive and finally Dad told him to sit in the back while he went up front with Mom. They were married for 49 years before she died.

She wasn’t always an easy woman to get along with. She had very strong opinions and felt that if a thought came in her mind it should come out of her mouth. Tact was NOT her middle name!

She was very over-protective. She threw out anything she didn’t think was important FOR HER (including one of my dad’s paychecks one time!) She had a temper that flared quickly and spewed emotional junk onto others but faded quickly. She didn’t hold grudges but her quick tongue often cut others and they may have.

She was a terrible cook but was a really good baker. She made great chocolate chip cookies! She slept like a log and would sit with me for hours when I was very sickly as a child. She never got jokes at the moment but would wake up and laugh uncontrollably and hysterically at 2 am when she FINALLY got the joke.

She was generous and never malicious, even if she came across harsh at times. She was a neat-nik but smoked (and I could never understand how she tolerated the smell of cigarettes). She cried easily and often at movies. She loved science fiction and knew all the scoop on actors and actresses from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Saturdays she would have us kids sit down with her and watch Creature Double Feather and then Elvis Theater.

As I grew older I forgave my mom for her thoughtless statements (“you really are a homely girl; develop a good personality because you’ll never get a husband on your looks”) and learned how to be a friend to her. Our entire relationship changed when I began to realize that JESUS was the one who defined me and not my mother. I opened my heart up to love her in a way I didn’t feel capable of when I was young and very sensitive to her sharp tongue.

I learned about her ability to laugh at herself and that no one had ever really told her that some of the things she said were NOT appropriate! So I told her. And we grew closer and developed a real friendship.

Yes, it bothered her that we had 8 children, but I joked with her about it and said, “Mom, if I get pregnant again would you rather I tell you right away, wait until the baby is born or wait until you come to visit and say it is a neighbor kid staying with us?” She laughed and realized that her responses were not the best (she always swore). In the end she said that I could tell her right away but that I needed to give her space for a negative reaction. Then she’d be better. 😉

Our relationship bloomed over the years, mostly when I matured! I pursued her and she responded. In the end, it was very good.

And when she died I was devastated. I miss her dreadfully. There are still some times when I reach to pick up the phone to share a funny story with her. And 10 years have passed.

Mom age 74 at a surprise party

So today, I am thankful for my Mom and that, at the last, she came to Christ. Vera, happy birthday tomorrow. I love you and miss you very much and I’m grateful that God gave you to me as my mother. Looking forward to Glory with you!

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