I won’t tell you how old she is, not because she’s self-conscious about it, but because it doesn’t matter. What she is and who she is has nothing to do with her age.
I remember a lot about her when I was growing up. I remember her cutting my sandwiches into triangles (tuna fish! Mmmmm!). I remember her taking away my tinkertoys because I wouldn’t clean them up. I remember her ironing downstairs at the Stevens Street house, watching our little black and white TV in the corner.
She used to walk me around the block and show me the crocuses in the spring. She used to sing to me “I Often Go Walking”, which is still my favorite Primary song, and one I can’t sing without thinking of her. She would fight with the school administration about their silly bus-riding policies. She would try to get me to do my math, often in vain. I remember that most distinctly at the house in Seattle, at the little table there in the kitchen by the back door, the one that led outside to the blueberry bush.
She let me sleep in her big, wide bed when I was sick and had a fever. She comforted me, took me to the library, loved me and fed me and told me I was someone important. I knew I was important to her, and she was important to me. Dad was the huge, festive murals on the wall. Mom was the 2×6 beams that held up the house. And, in turn, Dad was also the foundation that held up the walls. Good marriages – and as quirky as this one is, it is one – get built by both participants.
Dad did a great – but often uncertain – job of providing for the family. He dared things, and some of those things were not altogether successful, financially (though you could only know this reading between the lines, because certainly, none of us children ever wanted for anything). I never once heard my mother berate him, criticize him, fail to support him if he thought he was doing the right thing. He was her man and Heaven help the child that failed to see that. Mom pitched in, did what she had to do, economized, saved, whatever she could. She respects and adores my father. Her support of him supported us all.
She had – and has – many, many friends: Meg Munk and Roxanne Clark, who have gone on to get a picnic ready for the rest of us, Carolyn Ingersoll, Anne Rees, Gloria Oaks, and so many others that I don’t remember as well, but who were part of the life that made my mother the best and wisest of women.
Mom was always home. That was the biggest thing. She was there when we needed help, no matter what it was. She drove us all where we needed to go, never complained about it. She bore seven children, every one of whom will stand before God at the Judgment and testify that Susan Jones should be admitted into His rest. I strongly suspect we will not need to do this, as surely He knows her better even than we do, but we will do it and it will be our sacred privilege.
Her seven children have added eight more spouses and dozens of grandchildren that will all do the same. I’m sure, because there are people of all kinds out there, that Mom has enemies, or at least people that do not like her. Those people are missing out on one of the sweetest and most wonderful people that has ever been on this earth. She is a model for mothers. She is a model for women. Generations yet unborn will rise up and call her blessed.
And if anything, I’m understating the case.
God bless you, my sweet and wonderful mother. Happy Birthday. May you have oh, so many more.