Mom put the fun in 90

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2014

There was laughter coming from the end of the hall. I turned to see my mother sitting in the rolling chair she uses at her computer desk. She had a blanket wrapped around her head and shoulders, and my sister, Peg, stood behind the chair pushing it toward the dining room.

As they moved forward, the blanket caught under the chair’s wheel and then hung up on the area rug. Mother and Peg dissolved into giggles.

From where I stood, it looked like my sister was trying to dump Mother out headfirst. I started laughing as I hit the record button on my phone. None of the others gathered around Mother’s birthday cake knew why those of us who could see down the hall were laughing so hard.

Finally, Mother rounded the corner and through her laughter we heard her say in a fake shaky voice.

“I’m too old for this.”

Now everyone was laughing as Mother threw off the blanket and walked over to look at her cake.

“Y’all are always getting me,” she said. “I decided I’d pull one on you this time.”

We sang Happy Birthday as she leaned over to blow out the one big candle with “90” written on it and the smaller one that represented “one” to grow on.” The little candle kept relighting, taking 10 tries to extinguish it.

We were all laughing again as my youngest sister, Mandy, pointed to the birthday gift, a money tree that sat in the center of the table.

“You always told us it didn’t grow on trees,” she said, “but look, you were wrong.”

Mother smiled and had a great come back as she checked out the tree blooming with bills.

“Well, y’all know I have another birthday next week,” she said, reminding us her actual birthday happens on the 18th.

There was more laughter. In fact, that was the theme of the afternoon, laughter and joy at being together to celebrate the life of this amazing woman.

Well, to say my mother is amazing is an understatement. At the age of 90, she defies description. She has good health, a sharp mind and a sense of humor.

The day before our celebration, I spent some time with her doing a little yard work. I volunteered to pilot the lawn mower while she made banana pudding for the upcoming gathering.

When I got to the front yard, Mother flew out her door and motioned me to stop.

“You can’t cut over there,” she said, pointing to the strip of grass across the sidewalk. “It’s too dangerous. I’ll do it.”

With that, she slid into the seat and proceeded to do the “dangerous” cutting. (I have to say it did look dangerous and I wasn’t sure I could’ve maneuvered the lawn mower near the edge of the curb like she did).

As I watched her inching along steering the mower at exactly the right angle, I realized how blessed I am to be the daughter of this woman. She engages life in a way many people who are much younger than her don’t.

A month or so ago, my husband and I gave her a hand with some grass cutting. She had a laser procedure on her eyes that required her to ease up on the mowing for a bit.

While my husband cut, Mother and I pulled weeds out of the monkey grass along the driveway. As we worked, she kept thanking me.

“Mother, we don’t mind,” I said.

“I know,” she said. “I just hate to put y’all out.”

“You are not putting us out,” I said. “You know it is OK to let us help you sometime.”

Her next words are the secret to her seemingly ageless spirit.

“Well,” she said laughing. “I guess I hate to admit I’m getting old.”

From where I stood Saturday, the woman laughing her way up the hall in that rolling chair is never going to get “old.”