My mother turned 70 the day after my birthday a few weeks ago. Part of her milestone birthday is to totally repaint the interior of her home and to purge as many unnecessary items as possible along the way. Mind you, her home is the same home in which I was raised from age one and in all those years it has never, ever been painted or re-decorated. After my Dad died suddenly when I was two and a half, she turned her attention to working and keeping our family together. How many people could say that over nearly 40 years their mother spent not one dime to fancy up their perpetually 1970s home and instead self-lessly spent every available cent on her daughters' educations and futures? Not that our home was unattractive. Quite the contrary. My mom has the knack for making everything feel clean, tidy, lovely and cozy. In all my years I was never ashamed to bring friends over to hang out in our home and Mom never mentioned her desire for upgrades or new decor.
Well, at long last things are being re-newed at my mom's and I am so very happy for her. My sister has made a few visits to help Mom in this huge undertaking here and there but overall, my Mom is doing this project on her own (minus the actual painting). Along the way my sister uncovered some long lost photographs. This was one of them she e-mailed to me. I fell in love with the aged photo of my 18 year old mother posing as the Homecoming Queen of her small town high school in 1960. Can you imagine snuggling up in that gorgeous fur stole and wearing those up-to-your-elbows satin gloves? (They sure did things right in those days!) I am sure that my Grandmother sat up into the wee hours of many nights sewing my mom's tulle ball gown; Gigi made all my mom's clothes and was a little bit of Vogue in a small North Dakota town.
One of the beautiful aspects of growing older is being able to see your own mother as an individual, one who had her own life and dreams and successes before you were ever born. This photo does that for me. It makes me proud of my mom for the woman she has always been, so genuine, kind and beautiful yet people are always drawn to her humble nature because that's who she really is. Even while she was visiting here with me she was stopped several times and told how gorgeous she is. One woman insisted Mom had to be someone famous! Nowadays Mom's hair is snowy white and as wavy as ever. She does not use Botox or dye her graying hair. She is an example of being beautiful outside but even more so in her soul and that is what shines out through her light blue eyes, gives a shimmer to her smile and an aura of goodness to her presence. I am blessed to have such a loving and lovely role model.
Mom, I adore you and I miss you every single day. Enjoy the much-deserved house refresher. Take your time and do it the way you really want it. Your two daughters wish only the best for you and we are so proud of the golden woman you are.