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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom

I remember the day my Dad took this picture. Mom wasn't thrilled to be sitting in the icy river, but damn, she was beautiful, wasn't she? Today would have been her 72nd birthday. I suspect that the Beautiful Mom in these pictures would have been appalled by that. She was only 55 when she died in 1990, and I don't think she was liking the idea of aging. It's hard to watch one's own pink bikini beauty slip downstream. I'm looking in that same mirror, but I think those of us who are hitting our 50's now have an easier time of it. There isn't quite the same level of pressure to remain Hot For Life as there once was. We can say, naaahhh to the myth of youthful perfection, trading it in for more substance, less glamour. And yet... we also have better face creams that keep us smoother longer... While I like to think how I see the world is more important than how I look to it, I'm still a sucker for Hope In A Jar...

Look at her hands in the picture above. As I type this, I keep seeing an already-older version of those hands sticking out of my bathrobe sleeves. She almost looks like she's typing on the water. This cracks me up. It's like a little neener-neener message from the other side... The one thing Mom begged me for years to do was to learn to type. Being a teenager in the 70's, I resisted, rebelled, refused... I'll bet she's laughing her head off now, watching me flapping around the keyboard, slow and clumsy, loads of mistakes. I can admit it now... she was right about the typing. But maybe more important things were passed from her hands to mine. She was artistic and creative, and always making something wonderful, from food to paintings, to clothes for her three girls. I like to think that I got Mom's creative hands, and Dad's sturdy, stable, practical feet. Everything in between is mine, but the two of them gave me what I needed to keep my balance while creating a life that suits me.
This funny hat picture was probably taken that same summer. The little girl turning to look at the camera is my sister, Linda. The slender hip poking out of the right side of the photo is me. I barely remember living in that skin, but I cherish the proof that I once looked like that! We spent several summers at Royal Pines Lake Club, near Yuba City, California. It wasn't fancy. Just a bunch of moms and kids and trailers. The dads were gone all week, working, while we got to hang out at the lake and play. Doesn't seem fair now, but it was so much fun. I remember this as the Best Summer Of My Life - the summer to compare all others to. I don't know if it was that for Mom too, but I think she had a pretty good time. She had friends there, and they sat around at night, playing cards, drinking, laughing. Lots of laughing. Happy times.

Here's to Mom! Happy Birthday Tessie!
I'm catching up - we're almost the same age now, but still... she'll always be the mom, and I'll always hope she's sitting on a beach somewhere, looking beautiful, and knowing her kids are happy, and finally got a few things right.


Anonymous said...

GEEZ Kim, I think this is one of the MOST touching blog's I've EVER read. Happy Birthday Tessie and THANKS FOR SHARING!!!


Anonymous said...

oh kim, that was so poignant and well mom died at the tender age of 36 and i can soooo relate to all you said about aging......YOU were truely blessed....our lives are too short and we have to make the best of every day and NOT focus on numbers; as i did, and still do being in MY 50's......your mom was a KNOCK OUT!!!!!! STUNNING!! you have cherished memories and i thank you for bringing to ME the true meaning of aging!!!! beadist addict, joyce c

Anonymous said...

Well, I seem to have posted my comments on the wrong day. Anyway, want you to know that I think you're really great for what you've said about your mom. I'm glad you're one of the rare breed that loves their mom. You've done a great job eulogizing her. She's beautiful--forever beautiful in your memories. I love it!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Kim!

I enjoy seeing your photos and reading your thoughts. Your mother watches you with pride!
For me, being in my 50's is better than most of my years. I don't worry quite as much about other people as I used too.

Thanks for sharing
Happy Birthday Tessie
Beadily yours
Susan Feldkamp
aka Night Beader

nancyr said...

Kim, I just read your blog about your Mom (and yes I do read them all the time, you're not alone in Blogville). That was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. It really brought tears to my eyes and made me think about my Mom and all the fun times with her and my siblings. Heres to our Moms!!
Love, your Beadist Daughters

Fran├žoise B. said...

Oh Kim,
What a beautiful letter to your Mom... I was moved to tears, really. I'm lucky enough to still have my Mom. On the inside she is still the same caring, strong, funny, smart, and beautiful woman (she looked exactly like Grace Kelly when they both were young), but her strength and health are fading away. She is 82 and fighting cancer (and, not that surprisingly, it seems she's winning the fight for now!). It is tough watching her get older and frailer, but I feel blessed having her still, and having such a beautiful relationship with her. I live several thousand miles away from her but we talk several times a week, I fax her a "report" of our family life each week so she know what her grand-daughters are up to, and I go spend a week or two with her as often as I can. I'll always be her little girl even though I'll hit 50 next July. ;+)
Fran├žoise, the Northern Beadist

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim,

I read this post yesterday, and it made me think of my father, who also died very young (56). I, too, think about him, and it's weird and kind of wonderful that he will never grow old. Thank you for sharing your mother with us - she seems to have been quite the gal!


Anonymous said...

Hello Kim,

Your tribute to your mother really touched me. You know I asked my mom once about how aging must stink and she said, you know, I don't think any differently than I did when I was your age, my mind doesn't feel any older but my body... Now as I myself age I so understand what she was saying. Thanks for bringing back an bittersweet memory of my departed mom.