A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

75 years ago…

...in a place far far away my Mom was born. Today would have been her 75th birthday.I keep thinking each year that goes by since her death in 2004 that certain dates will become less significant this year. Why I believe this I have no idea. In the three years since her death, her birthday, Mother’s Day, and the date of her death still jump out at me on the calendar.

One significant factor has changed for sure. The dates roll by with more joy than sorrow now. In fact yesterday I was thinking about how many times we schemed to surprise Mom with some gift or party on her special occasions. We were always trying to be different and imaginative because when a woman has nine children you figure she’s entitled to some extra TLC on her special days.

On her 60th birthday my Dad set up a doctor’s appointment for himself that he claimed he needed her to go along so she could drive him home. Since the appointment was out of town and on her birthday he told her he was taking her to a special place for lunch. In the mean time, while they were gone all of us kids and our spouses descended on their house. We put tiny white lights in the trees in the backyard, put up a big white tent, set up tables and chairs, put up a DJ station and a portable dance floor.

My Mom loved swing music, so we transformed the backyard into the BLUE MOON BALL ROOM. As a final touch we all dressed up in formal attire. When my parents arrived back at the house in the late afternoon we surprised my Mom.

A little tangent here, my mother played the piano. She used to play while we would be doing the dishes in the evenings after dinner. While she played and we did dishes she would call out for us to sing. Yes, I know it’s corny, but we learned a lot of old standards by standing around the piano while my Mom played and we sang some of her favorite songs. Mom either opened with BLUE MOON or she would finish with it. I’ve known the words to that song for forever.

Back to the story...my Mother thought her birthday surprise was seeing us all dressed up because the first thing we did once she was in the house was line up together and serenade her with BLUE MOON. We are hardly the Osmond family, but my Mom liked it well enough. One of her sisters who came all the way from Montana was there and hadn’t heard us all sing together before. Auntie was surprised too and also impressed that we all knew the song. It was so much fun to surprise Mom and make her so happy. While no one would be offering us any record deals anytime soon, we made our Mother happy. Mission accomplished.

Of course thinking all the kids being home, dressed up and singing was her present, Mom almost had a melt down when we showed her the back yard. When we explained there were about 100 people coming over in an hour or so she actually did freak out a little bit. She really wasn’t that worried that people were coming over. Hell no! She was worried about what she was going to wear! No worries though. My sisters and I had it covered. We went to work and did her hair, make-up and nails. She had three newly dry cleaned formal gowns to choose from to wear. We had her all dressed up and ready to go in time for she and Dad could greet the guests.

Add some champagne, moonlight, music, lights and a friend who caters and… Voila! It’s a night we still talk about and will always remember. Fortunately we have most of the party on video. In fact right after Mom died us kids watched the video together and it was so much fun to see my Mom and Dad dancing together and having a great time.

And that’s what I’m remembering today…the good times. She was really something special. This is for you Mom. Happy Birthday!

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Blogger Mailyn said...

Happy Birdthay! We must always try and remember the good things.


6:49 PM PDT  
Blogger Giselle said...

What a great story. Your momma sounds like she was a superstar! And how great must it have been to grow up in such a big family.

7:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jenster said...

Oh my gosh, Rosie. This is one of my favorite posts ever.

I love that the years are getting more joyful for you. And I absolutely love what you kids did for her 60th birthday. That's awesome!

I don't think you all singing is corny in the least. I always knew the words to a lot of old standards for the same reason. :o)

7:11 PM PDT  
Blogger Jodi_Lee said...

Awwww...this was so sweet. True, we must always try to remember the good things. :)

7:15 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Mailyn, thanks so much.

Giselle, my mother loved being the center of attention and was very well aware that her kids adored her. It could be so exasperating sometimes, but was ALWAYS endearing too.

Jen, aren't you the sweetest thing? I should really write about my big family more often. There is ALWAYS something going on. I guess because we were military brats and didn't always have TV we know how to entertain ourselves endlessly.

Thanks Jodi.

7:24 PM PDT  
Anonymous Sarah McCarty said...

What a wonderful story!

I lost my dad a few years ago. One of my fondest memories is he and my mom dancing at my second wedding. They used to always dance together, were very good but then he had a stroke. You could have knocked me over with a feather when at my wedding, he got up and asked my mom to dance. My mom just stared in shock for a second. It was such a profound moment. He couldn't move with his previous grace but the expression on my mom's face when he asked her, the moment on the dance floor when they found a rhythm that suited them now, well, it pretty much had everyone tearing up. I look back on that photo now and I smile. My Dad was an amazing man.

5:33 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Sarah, thanks so much for sharing your story. That look you were talking about? I remember my parents looking into each other's eyes and we have it on video. I love looking at that especially when I want to knock my Dad in the head sometimes.

I also just have to say that I know writers are just regular people like the rest of us. Okay "regular" being relative here, but when people whose work I really enjoy and admire comment here I just get a bit fluttery. Twice in one day is almost too much for my poor heart. Thanks for stopping by.

10:30 AM PDT  

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