Today is my mother's 63rd birthday. It still boggles my mind that she's in her 60's. I think that in my mind, my mother will be forever in her 40's.
I remember watching the gentle, quiet grace with which she accomplished every task. I remember her quiet voice in the mornings, her cheerful greeting in the afternoons once school was complete. Her joyful laughter running for home base while playing Dubach Family Hide & Seek late at night.
I remember her face glowing with sweat as she made three meals a day for over 200 people at Camp Manatawny before the kitchen had air conditioning. I remember walking past bulletin boards at the church building and recognizing my mother's handwriting. I remember the mountain of food she prepared and the piles of china she washed the Thanksgiving we learned the enlisted men on duty wouldn't have a Thanksgiving Dinner and my mother said, "That just won't do."
I remember camping in the woods, on the beach, and at lakes in the most 1970s camper imaginable. I remember Hamburger Helper cooking on the road, mom swaying to the rhythm of the camper's driving in order to make certain that when we pulled up to the gulf, we could hit the beach immediately. I remember long walks scouring the beach for shells by day and ghost crabs by night. And Thanksgiving around a card table at the back of camper while piping Christmas Carols out the PA system for the other campers.
I remember her patiently waiting in the car when band practice went late. Getting up early the next morning to make us breakfast and pack us lunch. I remember her driving us to the school by 8 am for football games Saturday morning. Then cheering us from the stands for competitions while huddled in blankets from the Pennsylvania wind. I remember the smiles and warm hugs at midnight that same Saturday when it was finally time to go home.
I remember games and laughter and stories and books and movies and getting sucked into yet another of mom's documentaries. Change for snacks at the pool, a refrigerator full of snacks in the basement, and making pies and pizzas in the cast-iron molds in the fireplace.
I remember watching mom spend time with her sisters and seeing her giggle, acheive cartwheels, and love on nieces and nephews with abandon.
Mom, I know it's your birthday. But thanks for the amazing gift of you.