Today is my moms birthday, though I won't mention any numbers for fear of having my lungs ripped out through my nose.
I may be 52, but I still have a healthy fear of my mother.
My mom was a single parent of 5 (2 girls, 3 boys) and we were poor (though I didn't know it when I was younger). We lived in the projects in Boston area and my mom would try to make ends meet with some pretty crappy jobs, cleaning other peoples homes and taking in their laundry.
Two things I remember, being happy and always having a wonderful Christmas. No matter what the year had held for us, when Christmas came it was magical. It seemed no matter what we had asked for from Santa, we would find it under the tree on Christmas morning.
I knew there had to be a Santa because there was no way my mom could afford to buy us these things.
When I got a little older, and knew the big man was more myth than man I couldn't figure out how my mom did it. Because by then, I knew we were poor.
Then one day stumbled upon five envelopes that were rubber banned together. One had my name on it and the others had the names of my brothers and sisters. Each envelope had the same about of money in it, all in ones and change.
Then it hit me, after a long day of cleaning houses my mom would take some of that money and split it evenly between the 5 envelopes. And she would do this after every basket of laundry, after every dirty house, all year long. So by the time Christmas came, mom could make the magic happen.
Though at the time I understood the process, I could not appreciate all her hard work, all her sacrifices until I was older. As I write this it still amazes me.
And I know why we were happy, because we were loved.
Well, it's time to head to mom's. My daughters love this for several reasons, not the least of which is that when I walk through her door I am no longer their dad, I am my mothers son. They get a kick seeing me in that role.
The picture below is from a couple years back, Cathy and the girls made my mom a birthday cake that looked like a platter of spaghetti and meatballs (cream cheese "spaghetti" frosting, strawberry "sauce" topping).
Happy birthday mom, I love you!