Happy Birthday, Mom!

Nothing rings truer than the Outback Steakhouse jingle, “No one’s goin’ to luv ya like yer mum!” My mother’s birthday is tomorrow, so I thought since I can’t be with her, what greater tribute than to wish her a Happy Birthday online.  Everyone’s mother is special, I’m sure, but I thought I’d share a few reasons why my mother is special to me.

First, she’s tough.  Not because she does all those little impossible things that other mother’s do throughout a busy day, but ball-busting tough.  Whenever she felt I was being treated unfairly in school, she challenged the authority.  No big talk at the PTA or bus stop (she never went to the bus stop, thank you), no forming a committee or standing up at a school board meeting to whine, but going to the source of the problem and attacking whomever was causing her distress.  It didn’t stop with social toughness.  She hauled wood, lifted rocks and lumber and never complained.  When my father was injured on a housing development, she stepped in and managed all the workers involved.  She is tough, yes, and when all else fails, she can be mad-dog mean!

Next, she was a teacher, not by profession, but doing things in the home that Judge Judy would approve, like going over my homework, helping me study for tests, and critiquing my projects.  She insisted I balance my own checkbook, but first she sent me to a teller to open the account.  She taught me how to do my own taxes.  She insisted I learn to do the daily chores and activities that seem to be such a burden to people today, even with the aid of computers.  Her credo was simple when I was a child, “I’m not raising an idiot!”

Finally, she was, and always will be, a worker.  Working as hard as any man, my mother was by my father’s side throughout every construction project, business or personal.  She also served as money manager, which included a Wednesday night payroll marathon not seen in any other business . . . because my father paid his men in cash.  Each employee received a pay envelope with a week’s wages in cash, counted out to the penny by my mother.  No easy feat considering about 30 to 40 thousand dollars worth of cash was counted out and divided for each little packet.  And if two cents were left over, my mother dumped all the envelopes out and started again until the count was correct.

Oh yes, my mother cooked and cleaned, two chores she loved doing; she drove a sports car, raced go-karts, scuba-dived, and now rides a Harley!  Recently, she petitioned to keep her County senior center open when the County Commissioners threatened to cut funding.  You guessed it . . . the center is open and teeming with activity.  Shortly after her victory, in a demonstration of her sense of humor, she e-mailed my wife the following message,  “Me and Charley Sheen!  Winning!”

Happy Birthday, Mom!  Love you!

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