Today would have been Mom’s 90th birthday. She’s been gone for a number of years, now, but I still think of her from time to time — and I find that I recall her, and inwardly hear her distinctive voice, even more frequently during this curious period.
Like yesterday, when I made myself lunch on a weekday — which is highly unusual, of course. My meal was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and apple slices. That’s exactly the kind of lunch that Mom made for me back when I was in elementary school. Make the sandwich with Wonder Bread instead of whole wheat, add in a Twinkie — individually wrapped, of course — and give me a small carton of cold milk bought from the school cafeteria for 2 cents, and I could easily be an 8-year-old eagerly opening up my lunchbox at Rankin Elementary School.
Or washing your hands. Who doesn’t remember their Mom lecturing them on the importance of constant, rigorous handwashing? In Mom’s case, the lecture didn’t stipulate that 20 seconds of washing was required, but the lecture always involved the words “scrub” and “use some elbow grease” and frequently was followed by a post-washing spot check to make sure that hands and face were suitably clean before you could sit down for dinner.
Or being home because of illness. Sure, I’m not staying home because of my illness — knock wood! — but when you had to stay home from school was when Mom really shined. Campbell’s Chicken noodle soup and saltines, with jello for dessert, on a TV tray served to you in bed, Archie and Richie Rich and Scrooge McDuck comics to review, freshly laundered pajamas, and the scent of Vicks Vap-o-rub in the air — why, you almost looked forward to a little sick time R and R.
And finally, Mom was the queen of looking on the bright side — and there are always things to be thankful for, even during this time. So far, all of our family members, colleagues, and friends have remained blessedly virus-free, we’ve got food in the cupboards and the fridge, our toilet paper supplies are holding out, with every day that goes by I’m saving money on dry-cleaning expenses, and Kish and I have managed to deal with the work at home process without a hitch. Mom would say “count your blessings,” so in honor of her birthday I will.
Happy birthday, Mom!