Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy birthday, Mom!

Today is my amazing mom's birthday. She was born in 1940, a bonus baby to her parents, Lloyd and Rita Allen. Her brother Lloyd and sister Janet were 17 and 14 years older, respectively. 
The other day my own bonus baby, Nicholas, was asking me how old I would be when he reached various ages. When he's 60, for example, I'll be 101 (and probably not still alive...who knows?). When he asked me how old I'd be when he was 90, I had to explain that I would be dead. Not a fun conversation to have at bedtime. Although being an older parent does have some advantages, these types of conversations are hard. 
I think about my mom's parents and how they must have felt knowing these same things. My maternal grandma died when I was 9 or 10, so my mom was only 34, and her dad died the following year. My aunt Janet died a few years ago.

Now she's caring for my Uncle Lloyd, who has multiple health concerns and might not live much longer. What I find most touching about their recent relationship is that we didn't see my Uncle Lloyd much when I was a child. We tended to spend more time with my dad's large side of the family, perhaps because my parents had more in common with them...or because they were more into family gatherings. Uncle Lloyd and his wife Audrey were reclusive and reserved and didn't often attend Christmas Day Allen family gatherings. 

But then his wife (and both sons) died, and in the past several years my parents have become much closer to him as they cared for him. After both times that my uncle's been in the hospital this year (in the spring and this month), my parents have moved in with him until he got back on his feet. Watching my Uncle Lloyd interact with my mom, I can see how much he loves her and appreciates all she has done for him. 

As I've written before in other posts, when I was born, my mom was 24 years old. She contracted German measles while she was pregnant so she didn't know whether I would be blind or developmentally delayed or worse. The doctor wouldn't let her hold me until she had been warned that I had a cleft lip and palate (as well as a club foot). She was just glad that my defects could be repaired. Throughout my childhood I had multiple surgeries, starting at a few weeks old. By the time I was five and she was 29, she had three children. She was a stay-at-home mom but when I was in junior high she went back to school for her graduate degree and then went back to work as a mental health therapist.
In addition to being a compassionate sister and sister-in-law (my parents also make weekly visits to see my dad's brother, who has dementia) and an amazing mom, she's also an awesome grandma. I particularly appreciate her efforts to encourage independence in my children and support them in whatever they do. She practices unconditional love and support for all her children and grandchildren, as all of us can attest. She never discouraged me from aiming for my goals or expressing myself. 
I know that I am truly lucky to have her as my mom and consider her to be one of my closest friends.

I love you, Mom--happy birthday!

1 comment:

  1. Another tearjerker! You are so kind and loving. Thank you so much. Love, Mom


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