October 19, 2010

no wonder that it's mary that we love

It is my sweet mother's birthday today. My mom was around 40 years old when she brought me into this world and even though I knew that I had a mother who was older than my friend's moms, it never bothered me. That is, until I hit around 11 years old and my little brother and I couldn't figure out how old our mom was. We thought and thought and tried our best to work out the math (are you getting a clear picture of my math grades at this age?). I remember we went to my mom and asked her age. She just smiled and gave us the same old answer of "Oh, I'm 29." We hollered, "Mom! We know you're older than that! Tell us your REAL age!" And she'd smile again and say, "I can't say it outloud. It will make me old if I do." After pleading and pleading with her to disclose this very important fact to no avail, I remember feeling really upset. I didn't know how old my own mother was. It was very disturbing to me. Finally, after a suitable tantrum from an emotional tween and a 4th grader my mother decided to take us each into her bedroom, one at a time, and tell us the truth. I'm not sure why she decided to tell us separately but I remember feeling relieved that she had told me. The funny thing is I don't even remember what she said to me and I still don't really know how old she is (it appears my math skills haven't improved much). She must be 29 (again), I guess.
my mom (41) and me (4 months).
My mom:
- will often gaze at me for a few minutes (usually when I've just woken up for the day, gnarly hair and all) and then gently lean over and whisper, "you are SO beautiful" so genuinely that I almost believe her.
- loves cinnamon bears, Rolos, peppermint patties and toffee but she has so much self-control that I doubt she's had more than one bite of each in the last ten years (if that).
- wears $300 designer boots at the ranch because she bought them at Last Chance for $15. It is so awesome. When she's at the ranch she looks like Mary Steenburgen in Did You Hear About the Morgans (and yes, I watched that movie. And no, I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would.)
- makes up the most amazing stories for children. In fact, sometimes I hear her telling one of her grandchildren a story and I find myself captivated, gaping-mouthed and glassy-eyed. She once made up a story when I was about 8 years old about some dolls who came to life and became real babies. It was so vivid and sounded so wonderful that I remember many nights, for many years, falling asleep to dreams about those baby dolls.
- can get really silly when she's in the right mood and it's my favorite thing ever. One of my best memories of this was when my parents took my brother and me to France my senior year of high school. We were all sleeping in a small hotel room in Normandy and it was late. We were very tired and were settling into our beds for the night. Not long after we turned out the lights my dad started doing his "breathing exercises". This involves eight seconds of slowly inhaling through the nose and then releasing the air through the mouth in a slow "whoosh". The first time he did it, we started to snicker quietly. The second time, it turned into bursts of laughter which made my dad lose his concentration. He told us to quit laughing which made us laugh even harder. My mom was laughing so hard that she was shaking the bed and crying. She said through her giggles and gasps, "Russell! It's just too funny!" Needless to say, it took us a while to calm down enough to get a few hours of sleep but we'll always have Normandy.
- always smiles and lights up when you enter the room and makes everyone feel like a million bucks.

Happy Birthday mother dear. You really are a remarkable woman.


  1. happy birthday Miss Mary, I opnly know of you through Nie and Lizzy but you MUST be remarkable because the words that are written for you are remarkable. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    ~Donna from Massachusetts

  2. Oh I just love your mom! She reminds me so much of my grandma Maxine, so happy and cheerful. Her smile always radiates the room! I'm so glad that I have had the chance to get to know her and you better! Happy Birthday Mary! You still look 29!!!

  3. Lizzy,
    I love this post about your Mother! She is a remarkable woman and I am so grateful for the wonderful example she has set for my own Mother! Happy Birthday Mary!
    Love, Dallas, Bonnie, Sadie, Sophie, Sariah & Ammon Gilmore

  4. Liz, I laughed out loud at this post. I wish I could express it so well! Yes, that is Mom. Of course, there are a lot of other amazing things to add as well! How can we ever live up to it?!!!!

  5. Happy Birthday, Mary!! Liz, you are one lucky girl to have such a wonderful mom, I can see that so much of her rubbed off on you!

    PS-she shares the same birthday as my oldest daughter! ;D

  6. This is such a darling tribute.

    Liz, your mother is right. You should know to listen to her. You ARE beautiful. And judging by the absolutely stunning picture, it's no secret where you get it from. I hope you really KNOW this, Liz. From what I remember, I'm not sure you knew it in high school. I hope you do now. It was true then and it is true now.

    Happy birthday Mary!

  7. Liz, you do have an amazing Mother! The first time I ever met her, she made me feel like "a million bucks"! And I am only an in-law to the distant family. I love her calmness. She can change the mood of a room with just one word! You are very blessed to have her....and at 41? She looked AMAZING! And still does.


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