For My Mother on Her Birthday

Over the past (almost) 5 months cancer has taken over our lives.  My mom is so much more than her cancer, it does not define her.  And I feel like too often our loved ones leave us before knowing how we feel about them.  So as we celebrate another year, mom this one is for you:

56 years ago today my mother was born and my grandma’s tailbone injured her lung and she was put in the NICU. So ya she came out a fighter.

While we were growing up in the cul-de-sac she was a stay at home mom which meant she looked out for all the kids in the neighborhood and wasn’t afraid to chase after a car going too fast with a newspaper. She’s a protector. You could find her sitting outside in a lawn chair on a nice day, even during winter she just wraps up in a warm blanket.

She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty pulling weeds or cutting the grass. There was once a railing that separated the kitchen from the family room in my parent’s house. That railing no longer exists because one day while my dad was at work my mom removed it. Speaking of the house she has a real eye for detail and every room looks like something out of a catalog. And she’s on a first name basis with the woman that works at Home Goods.

She should’ve been an event decorator.  She would get big tents for our graduation parties and rent linens and have fresh flowers.  She did all the centerpieces for mine and my sister’s showers.  And she did the bouquets, table arrangements and all the decorations for both of our weddings.  And they were beautiful.

The holidays are magical. She does 6 weeks of Halloween, decorations inside and out.  Christmas music starts in November and the Christmas decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving like clockwork.  She now has the 3 trees.  In the sunroom is the “kids” tree which we will decorate this year and she will probably ask us to move ornaments around.

She is spontaneous.  There have many trips that have been planned at the last minute.  November 2001 we were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at my grandma’s house and the next day we were walking the streets of New York City.

She changes the radio station a lot and it takes her a while to find a song she likes.

She’s always the last to get in the car.  I never understood this before I was a mother.  The four of us would be sitting in the car waiting for her ready to go somewhere.  I get it now though. When you’re the mom you have to make sure the house is in order before you lock it up and leave.

She’s always there to push us even when we don’t want to necessarily hear it. And now that I think of it I don’t remember her telling us “I told you so” when she was right and we fought her on it. She’s the reason I went away to college. She knew I needed to get away and grow as a person. And she was there everyday on the phone when I would cry about how hard my classes were.

Family is everything to her.  She has always wanted the three of us to be close and I think she succeeded with that.  She wants to make sure that we will always be there to look out for one another. Be nice to your sister was something I was often told.  She has always encouraged us to go to everything.  If a family member is having any sort of celebration we went because that’s what family does.  They show up for one another and she taught us that.

And lastly she is the toughest person I know.  There have been days where I absolutely have no idea how she does it.  But she just keeps fighting and her strength gives us strength.

I love you mom and thank you for shaping my life in the way you have.

4 thoughts on “For My Mother on Her Birthday

  1. Michelle Stufflebeam says:

    Great tribute to your Mom! She (and your Dad – guess we have to give him some credit -LOL) has raised 3 very fine children -thoughtful, kind, strong -with good morals and ethics – and so much more – Love you all and miss you !! – Aunt Shell


  2. Tony Coneglio says:

    Ashley, wow that’s all I could say I read your entire blog and it took my breath away.. My prayers are with you and the family.. Disney World here the Kendig s come..


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