Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom’s birthday. She was born June 4, 1923, and passed away October of 2005. She was a pip. She loved adventure, road trips, and going down the water slides at the water park, with her grandchildren, when she was well into her seventies. She loved to read books and write letters. And though she’d get angry and worried when one of her kids or grandkids made goofy choices, she never gave up on any of us.

All these memories of her are bumping around in my brain and heart today, and they fill my soul with gratitude. I suppose I’m especially grateful because Mom was always supportive of my oddness. Oh yes, I was a bit odd growing up, as my two older sisters will attest. At five or six I began organizing “shows” with the neighborhood kids, which we then presented to the mom’s, dad’s, and older siblings. And if none of the kids wanted to participate, I’d put on a solo extravaganza. I liked to speak in weird made-up languages and talk in dialects. I’d sequester myself away in the back shed and write stories until Mom came out to drag me to dinner. She’d pat me on the back and tell me she couldn’t wait to hear what I’d written.

Fifty years later, it’s this memory that makes me weepy. Mom always encouraged my little stories, and would listen attentively as I read them to her. She’d clap at the story’s ending and tell me it was the best thing she’d ever heard.

It was this voice in the back of my head that made me consider, as an adult, to offer my poems and stories to the intimidating world of publishing. It’s worked out well. My first novel was typed into the computer by my mom. My second novel was still in manuscript form when I read it to her. It was two weeks prior to her passing away from cancer. She clapped at the story’s end, and told me it was the best thing she’d ever heard. I marvel at the power of a mother’s love and encouragement.

So, today I want to thank her. If they have access to computers in those heavenly realms, I’m sure she reads my novels and blogs, and cheers me on. Thanks Mom and Happy Birthday!


Jennie said...

My mother died a couple of months before my first book was published and my mother-in-law's funeral was the day that book was released. The one thing that marred my excitement over having a book published was knowing that my two biggest fans and promoters weren't there to actually see my name on a book cover. Your blog reminded me of that time and of how much I miss their support.

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Oh Gale, I'm sure she reads every word your write and sets heaven aglow with her joy in having such a wonderful daughter. This is so tender and sweet. Thank you!