Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Celebrating Mom

There are two times that families come together-celebrations and funerals. The last time my siblings and I were all together, it as 2005, when my dad passed away. Having spent Saturday with my family, celebrating Mom's 80th birthday, I have to say I much prefer parties to funerals! The celebration could not have gone better.

Now, when you turn 80 and have nine kids, you can expect a LOT of photos to be taken. I took more than 189, and 94 of them were keepers, that'll tell you how much time Mom spent in this swing Saturday. But she doesn't look like she's complaining, does she?And here she is with 12 of her 20 grandkids (there are also at least that many step-grandkids, and several great grandkids who live elsewhere and couldn't make it.) I can honestly say I have never seen Mom happier than I saw her on Saturday; she was the belle of the ball all day and loved every minute of it, as you can see in these pics (and those that will follow in the coming weeks :)

She loved her album very, very much, of course. She was moved, too, by the photo montage Judy made for her and set to music... I think the hit of her day, though, was when her daughters performed for her (for a change.) First, my sisters, Mary and Geri, (both in red) took the words to In My Mother's House and changed them to be uniquely about my mom, and after some arm-twisting encouragement on their parts, Judy, Michelle, and I joined them in performing the song for Mom. The result was absolutely beautiful. (Watch the video, if you like. Again; no hurt feelings if you don't watch it. I just know that some would love to.) If you do watch it, it will help to know these things:

*My mom's name is Elsie and she collects cows; there are more cows in her house and yard than at a corporate dairy farm.
*Mom lives in a tiny house that is filled to the brim with knick-nacks. At Christmas, she puts up an angel display and has a particular place for each and every one.
*That's Mom's voice (laughing, talking, and singing) you hear in the background now and then.
*This was literally the first time my sisters and I have ever sung together. Judy, Michelle, and I sang during the chorus, mainly, as we had not sung this song before. All things considered, it turned out great.

My sister Mary also wrote an incredibly beautiful, original song that had us all (including Mary) in tears and will be a treasure for a lifetime. It's called "Jimmy Strikes Gold" and is about Mom and Dad; how they met and fell in love, and their life together. It ends with these lines:

For 56 years
He was her partner in life
Now he smiles from above,
with 80 winks for his wife!

How sweet is that?!

The party was an excellent team effort. Everyone pitched in and made it a day to remember for Mom, as well as the rest of us. I'm grateful to Mom for giving us a reason to celebrate her every day, and I'm so glad we all got together in her honor. And like Mary's song reminded us, I know that Dad was with us, too--This time, with the spotlight on his "Brown-Eyed Beauty."

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