Saturday, August 9, 2008

Flowers for Mum

Today is Mum's official birthday celebration. She pointed out these flowers as we were driving through a neighborhood on our way to lunch, so I stopped and took a photo for her. She has created a No Gift Policy. Last year she only wanted "consumables."
Apparently she hasn't consumed everything. My sister set her up with enough tea and soap for the rest of the decade. So today I'm giving her these flowers & my appreciation & LOVE.
And this is a repost of last year's birthday wishes:
When I was little, she used to call me Treasure and make me soft boiled eggs with "soldiers" for dipping. I watch her with my nieces and nephews now and see the love and joy and pride in her face for another generation. She is the glue that holds our family together, the Queen. No really, and with the British accent! There are so many things that I am grateful for: she taught me to sew and knit and cook for an army. We sibs cook giant pots and casseroles of food--even for two. I don't know how to make single servings. That is why there is a freezer.
More than the overt teachings, I learned by her modeling. Age is never an excuse to stop doing anything: she took up skiing at 41, karate at 46 (she's a black belt), took my brother bundgie jumping for his college graduation, and just for kicks, went to body guard school at 65. We had a lot of fun with that one. We created scenarios where she was security for Sean Connery and he's lying on the ground having been shot and she'd say, "Oh, get up. You're not hurt. Just a minor flesh wound!" While my dad adjusted us for everything ( Nooooo! Not the toggle recoil!!!), anything to do with bleeding was Mum's territory: the famous butterfly stitch. We all wore a box of bandaids at one time or other. You'll be fine. And we were.
I love her laugh and she has anchors that will set her off, like... SHEPHERDS. Oooh hoo hoo hoo! She sparked in all of us a passion for lifelong learning. She says she's not creative but she sewed our clothes when we were little, does calligraphy, refinishes furniture, and most recently built a harp from scratch. I've never particularly cared for harp music, but now that I've built one I guess I'll learn how to play it. I love how she does things JUST FOR FUN and that learning is fun.
I admire her strength and sense of adventure. She met my dad in the Yukon wilderness where she was working with Eskimos. On my 7th birthday, we left our home in California: 4 kids & another on the way, to the frozen Virginia country. We lived out of our camping trailer until the dome was built and even then, that was still like camping! I had a Marine friend in college who once said, Anyone who likes camping just hasn't done it enough. Amen. I once asked her about L.A. and the riots in the 60's and she said, "Oh, don't ask me anything about the 60's, I was busy having children." The first 4 of us were 16 months apart. Having raised only 2 children, I don't know how she did it! And that is when you really appreciate your mother: when you're faced with parenting. She gave us chores and bedtimes and limits and consequences. All those things that as a child, make a parent "mean." But really mean, the ultimate love and sacrifice. It's OK to be mad or upset or disappointed, I still love you. And you won't appreciate all this until you're a successful adult--but that's my job: to raise you to get along in this world and be able to take care of yourself. She had 6 children she calls her "Blessings" and said that "childbirth was just a bit of pressure." No big deal. As a midwife, she's delivered 2000+ babies, including most of the grandchildren at home. She went with me to my first Hypnobirthing lecture before I became certified, and the instructor said, "Childbirth is really just pressure." My mother wacked my arm and gave me the Mum-I-told-you-so Look. I am so grateful to have grown up with her as a calm alternative to the emergency pregnancy-as-a-disease mentality in our society. Babies come when they're ready, she always says. A lesson in patience, in trusting Nature, in trusting in your body's innate intelligence.
When people see us together, they say they can tell I'm her daughter because we look exactly alike. The funny thing is: we don't. I am my father's daughter: same eyes, bone structure, sense of humour. However, I have her smile and I like to think, her cheerful optimism. Once we were out to breakfast with a family friend, Melody. I said, "Don't they have any proper butter?" as I'm giving an Ick Face toward the fake stuff. Melody laughed and said, "You sound just like your mother!" And so I do. We appreciate proper things: butter, napkins, cleaning supplies, and anything of Quality. Back in the '80's, it was all the rage to wear men's paisley pajama's with bangles and crucifixes. I hope you don't tell people who you are, she said as she saw me going out into the world in that get-up. I walked out onto the front porch and yelled: "Hey everyone! I'm Anne Holliday's daughter!" THANK YOU, MUM. My heart SMILES whenever I think of you. And I can't express how much I LOVE YOU I APPRECIATE YOU and how PROUD I AM to be your daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :-) BNO

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