Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Birthday!

     Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 91 years old. Sadly she didn't even make it to her 53rd year.  I didn't get to find the pleasure of her becoming an old person. I know that may sound strange to most who are caring for an elderly parent, and I do hope I am not stepping on anyone's feelings here.  There are so many of you out there suffering through the living loss of a parent. But for the most part you did have 30 more years with them that I never had.  I have precious friends and a husband who are dealing with this kind of loss right now, and I offer little comfort because of my lack of experience.  It's just a different perspective.  I missed out on the frail bones and the failing memory. I didn't get to observe her hair growing whiter over the years. She couldn't be at my side when  we lost our first born son at age 23, or when I miscarried. She didn't get to experience the absolute joy of seeing her first grandchild, or watch all 6 of them grow into beautiful adults.  With Dad following only 7 years later, the image of older parents just is not part of my make-up.
     I sometimes wonder what Mom would have been like as she grew older. Her faith, her everlasting, unconditional love for her husband and children, her exquisite artistic talent. How would they have played out over the years?  And her face, the sparkling eyes and alabaster skin free of a single wrinkle. Would those have faded over the years? I really doubt it.
     How would she have acted when it came to my trials and tribulations throughout my own marriage? I've said many times that if she had lived, I probably would have been divorced.  It would have been too easy to run back into her loving arms at the slightest argument with my new husband.  Or as a grandmother, how would she have judged me as I struggled with the kids' terrible 2's that are seeming to last until 32!
     I've been able to squeeze so many memories out of the 23 years we had together. I've savored every recall of mine as well as from my siblings.  They remember  things that I don't and vice versa.  I have to make that a good thing!  What treasures others must have with having parents on earth for 60, 70 or 80 years!!
     Now that I am embarking on a new venture as a grandparent, what lessons will I be able to fall back on?  I thought she was the perfect mother. She was gone before I realized she even had imperfections.  Through my own experiences as a mom, I know now she could not have been perfect.  But the love my children show me reflects my love of her, so maybe in my short 23 years with her, something did rub off on me.
     Parents can sometimes be the best teachers --- not the ones who lecture or show you how everything is done right, but the ones who stand back and let you discover on your own; learning to accept and acknowledge your own successes and failures equally. As a parent, Mom didn't have that stand back, but for me it's the biggest lesson right now. As I watch my own children  who are learning to become adults and parents themselves, I HAVE TO stand back and let them struggle through it. I must have the faith in them that they will, too, get through this life with as much love and appreciation for their family and those around the as possible.
     Thanks, Mom, for all you have taught me. I'll try to live up to all your lessons.
And Happy Birthday, Mavis Gertrude Pendley Rutledge!


  1. Happy Birthday to your mother. This is a picture of a little girl who was obviously loved very, very much. How lucky you are! I really like your writings about your mom.

  2. I always enjoy your pieces about your mother. Now I have a face with her name. An uncommon beauty. Not knowing my own mother, I value stories about mothers and daughters. When you write and wonder how your mother might have looked onto your life and what she might have thought, likely she would have approved unconditionally and walked through it all with you, sharing and helping. It appears from your writing and your precious memories that you are very much like her. She obviously gives you strength every day. Even if you might not, from my seat, I see the similarities between you. As I said, I'm a softie for all mother/daughter things. Having the gift of a daughter, I constantly strive to give her what I never had. I always get so much more in return. It wasn't always a pleasant journey! Only recently we have healed many rough spots. When I am gone, I hope my girl will remember me as you remember your mom.

  3. What a gift you have for writing, but most of all, writing about your family. Your posts about your son and spiritual growth are inspiring and you mix them together - voila - rare talent. Over the months, when I have difficulties with my children, I take a breath and often think about your son. I realize that they are still here and I have more time to build with them - especially my son who is terminally ill. Your path of grief, and the joy of having Chris even for a short time, have touched me very much. While I believe that your son is with your mother and all you have loved, our earthly minds can really only feel in today, no matter how spiritual we are. I like to say: "We aren't spiritual robots." Also, my favorite is: "We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Blogs are certainly an interesting phenomena. Thank you for yours. The balance of humor, pondering and serious things are wonderful. I am believer now that the world is full of friends we may never meet. Bless you.

  4. It looks like you've already lived up to your mother's example. Your posts about your mom are so lovely. You are a lucky woman. No doubt, your mother would have loved being part of your life, even during the tough times.


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