21. Happy 103rd Birthday



When (now we say if) my mother wakes up this morning she will be 103 years old. She will get up at 7am and carefully put her light, soft cotton robe on top of her light, soft cotton nightgown. She will wash up, put her teeth in place and wheel her walker down the short hall. She will sit herself down at the breakfast table and wait for her aide to walk in the door with her newspaper at exactly 7:30am. The lovely woman will say good morning with a lilt in her voice, and very quickly proceed to make my mother a happy, timely, Cream of Wheat breakfast. While the aide is cleaning up, my mother will wheel to her side of the couch where she will slowly place her tiny self upon a pile of two flat pillows. Pillows that must be kept in that one perfect position at all times for maximum comfort. She will pick up the newspaper and browse with her magnifying glass, (after all, she does have a little sight in one eye) get quietly disgusted by some violent news or conservative politics, check out the bridge hand and fold it back up, neat as a pin. She will flex her toes and wonder when she should open her birthday cards and gifts. Then without much hesitation she will pick them up slowly, read each card and open each gift with the  anticipation of a five year old birthday girl.

I, on the other hand, wake up this morning to a cacophony of emotional responses to GOD knows what. I breathe, drink my green smoothie, stretch and wonder what the heck to do with the one free hour (that was supposed to be two but I couldn’t wake up) prior to leaving for my dentist appointment. I sit at the computer to check my email, remember that I can’t find the lease for the vacation house rental coming up in August, find the owner’s email, and write a note to ask for the address and amount due; all the while feeling slightly anxious and wondering why I would think it was reasonable to not keep a copy, or maybe I did keep a copy but in an unreasonable location. I pull myself through that episode and land on this page, take another deep breath and remember that today is the birthday of my tiny mother.

I just returned from the dentist to make the birthday call. She thanked me for the “beautiful card” and told me that the blouse I sent is too long and she NEVER wears flowers anyway. I want to kill her but instead I breathe and say, “Oh well, I will take it back when I come to visit.”

Everyone continues to ask her, what is your secret? I’ll tell you her secret. She has a fierce determination to control her environment, a sharp, organized mind and a heaping amount of awe-inspiring self-love.

I didn’t inherit any of that.

So there you have it. A snapshot of Tiny Belle on her 103rd birthday. I think I’ll throw on a flowered shirt and celebrate.

Love to you all, Jane



3 thoughts on “21. Happy 103rd Birthday

  1. Unbelievable–103!! Oldest person that I have had any connection with, albeit indirectly. Wouldn’t it be nice to still be doing things in the way that you like to at that age. Sitting in beautiful light, eating a healthy breakfast, reading something inspirational and then painting a little.     You write so clearly about her–I can picture the whole situation. Makes me chuckle. Glad at least that you are enjoying wearing some flowers. And I hope that the lease situation gets cleared up. love, Kath


  2. Jane, your post made me 1) smile, 2) remember a story from my childhood called “The Teeny, Tiny Woman”,
    3) admire your mother, 4) love you. Lainie


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