today is this lady’s birthday, and it seemed monumental enough to blog about after neglecting this space for over a year.
if you are lucky enough to know ma (as just about everybody calls her…even my adult friends), then none of this will surprise you. but if not, let me give you just a tiny glimpse of the woman she is.
when she got married to my grandfather, she promptly informed him that she had always wanted to marry someone named doug. his name was martin, but she immediately took to calling him doug. bless him, he happily let her change his name. doug stuck, and at christmas, ma would create three stacks of christmas cards…one was signed martin (or mart) for family; a second was mac for work friends; and the third, and largest, stack was doug.
after raising two daughters, she and pa willingly took on the responsibility of raising me when it became clear that my parents couldn’t handle it. they always treated me like a daughter, and for that i will be eternally grateful. i didn’t always act grateful, and we had the typical parent-child struggles throughout my teenage years, but they hung in there, spending what should have been their retirement years traveling to every single one of my band competitions, sitting through countless concerts and piano recitals, and volunteering at my schools. we laugh about it now, but in high school i had to walk the straight and narrow because EVERYone at my school knew ma, and had i gotten out of line, she probably would have known about it before i did.
i don’t know if i can pick a favorite memory of ma. there are so many good ones…summer vacations in hilton head, spring break trips, taking ice skating lessons together (that deserves a post all its own), singing silly songs in carpool, watching days of our lives religiously, and that time you sent me to school with a bud light instead of a 7up…there is rarely a dull moment when ma is involved, especially if you happen upon a bird of some sort, in which case she will insist on finding a man to escort her past the bird safely to her car, thus causing your teenage self to wish you were completely invisible.
so today, and every day, i am especially thankful for her 82 years, and so grateful that she’s been a part of my 34 years. she really is one of my very best friends, and i cannot imagine life without her. oh, and the fact that my girls get to know her and spend time with her is just icing on the cake.
ma, happy 82! you used to tell me, “i love you just the way you are, always and forever.” well, i have learned that those weren’t just words that you said…you backed them up (and continue to back them up) with your actions every single day. even when i was completely unlovable (and there were plenty of those times!) you loved me anyway. and now you love my girls, just the way they are, always and forever. what a blessing you are to our family. i hope you feel loved today (and every day) and that this is your best birthday yet. you deserve it, and so much more. i love you, just the way you are, always and forever.