Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

By Maggie
May 10th is my mother's 90th birthday. Ninety years. That's a heckuva long time. Just to live that long is quite an accomplishment. On top of that, she's in pretty good health, considering her age.

I always take my mom out to dinner on or near her birthday. So, I made sure I had returned from my trip to Malice, research, and family & friends visits so we could celebrate her 90th at her favorite restaurant last Saturday night. I chose to take her Saturday night, May 8th, because her real birthday fell on a Monday---and there's no jazz on Monday night at Jay's Bistro here in Fort Collins. That's the same great cafe and jazz spot I refer to in the Kelly Flynn mysteries as the "Jazz Bistro."

My mom's tastes are simple, actually. She likes fine food, great jazz, and a really good martini. Jay's Bistro qualifies on all counts. The husband and wife owners, Jay and Jackie, love my mom and always make a fuss when she comes. Maybe that's one of the perks of old age. Everyone loves you. :) I guess we Baby Boomers will have to wait and find out if that's true for us.

The marvelous jazz pianist, Mark Sloniker, even managed to work in a few bars of Happy Birthday in the midst of the music. My mom likes to sit in the cocktail lounge in the big curved booth right next to the window. I try to make sure she gets everything she likes. She deserves it. My mom was one of those brave young women who dared to strike out on her own for a better life years ago. As a divorced working mom, that was a hard road in an Ozzie and Harriet world. And that's what took her (as well as the mother of my dear friends Nancy & Diane who lived across the street when we grew up) to Northern Virginia. Hardworking, courageous young women with families to support on their own took their secretarial skills and left smaller cities and towns around the country during that time and came to find good jobs with the Federal Government as Civil Servants. They worked hard for not-very-high pay. But, they also had health insurance which was important when you had children to take care of. And, an elderly grandmother in the home, in my case. My mom did a magnificent job.


So, I figure Mom has earned wonderful dinners with jazz and martinis, as well as the great Mother's Day Brunch I took her to on Sunday. She's earned all that and more. Especially our love. She's been a loving, supportive mother for me and for my four daughters as well as the six additional grandchildren she inherited when she re-married later in life. And next weekend, all four of my daughters will fly in for a short weekend to celebrate some special time with my mom. I'll get a yummy chocolate birthday cake, and we'll just sit and enjoy being with her. At this age, we never know how long our aged parents will last. I'm hoping Mom passes her older sister's time of 93 years.


Meanwhile, I figured 90 years was worth making that extra effort. If I remember correctly, it was playwright Arthur Miller's wonderful character Willy Loman who said: "Attention must be paid!" I agree, Willy. Attention must be paid.

I hope all of you celebrated Mother's Day in your own special way.