Another birthday has come and gone. For the last six years I’ve been a bit sad on the morning of my birthday because Mother always called early to wish me a happy birthday. She was not great about getting a card in the mail in time, but the call always came early. When I was still teaching, she would call before I left for school. Lovely way to start my day!
And she always sang to me. Every birthday of my life until March 2009. She and Daddy sang to me at home; once I’d moved away, they would either call or visit. But they always sang.
The saddest one I remember was March 1985. Daddy had passed away the previous March, but after my birthday. I remember his call saying how sorry he was that he didn’t feel like coming to our house—that he just couldn’t make the drive.
So when Mother called on my next birthday, I expected only a teary, whispered, “Happy birthday, dearest.” But no. She sang every word of the traditional birthday song, voice breaking here and there, but determined to finish it. She didn’t want to deprive me because her life was devastated.
[Funny story about “devastated:” Her reading vocabulary was much broader than her spoken vocabulary, so words she’d seen but not heard were often mispronounced, which happens to all of us. So she always said “deVAStated.” She would welcome my correction but forget by the next time she used the word.]
This morning I got a “How Long Will You Live?” quiz from a friend whose mother lived into her eighties but had Alzheimer’s for years. He said, “It tells me I’ll live to be 92—but unfortunately it doesn’t tell me if I’ll still know who I am when I’m 92!” A sense of humor always helps.
And I had lunch today with a friend whose mother sometimes doesn’t recognize her own daughter. That would hurt far more, I know, than thinking over my precious memories of a remarkable mother.
Another friend just emailed Proverbs 19:8. “The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.” I am so grateful that I had a mother who got wisdom and prospered spiritually.
One of my favorite verses is from 3 John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” As I look at my four dear children and three wonderful grandchildren who love and follow Jesus, I know how truly blessed I am as I begin another year of life.