Celebrating my mom’s 88th birthday–from afar

Walking in the nature preserve on Fort Myers Beach. Maybe around 2012?

Today is my mom’s 88th birthday! She shares her special day with Veterans celebrating around our United States of America.

It would be lovely to spend the day with her, perhaps munching on a cupcake at her assisted living, maybe driving back to her house (my childhood home), maybe going out to a restaurant.

Not this year, alas, thanks to covid. No one can visit her assisted living home, and she doesn’t want me coming until we can hang out inside and enjoy ourselves.

Young Joanne

Some of you may have heard this story before, but heck, you can settle in to hear it again. Last fall Barry and I bought a new wood stove. Attempted to buy a new wood stove. All sorts of craziness ensued with the company after we removed our old wood stove and waited for delivery. The backup propane furnace kept us relatively warm until the propane company insisted we buy a larger tank. Barry said no–we didn’t want a larger tank. He set the thermostat in the 50’s and this warmth-lovin’ wife said “Goodbye! Going downstate to visit my mom, thank you very much!”

I left the Upper Peninsula in mid-October. What a blast to hang out with Mom! We relaxed together in assisted living. I learned the residents by name while eating lunch at a round table in the dining room every day. We played “volleyball” with swimming pool noodles, excitedly hitting the ball back and forth over a net. Mom and I napped every afternoon. In the evenings at home I sorted endlessly through old childhood photos, dividing them into boxes for all the siblings.

Granddaughter and Grandma playing Bingo last fall

My daughter flew in from Oregon to visit her grandma and mama. We enjoyed four or five days goofing around together. We drove her back to the Flint airport, and I met a childhood friend for a three hour breakfast. One afternoon motored down to a nearby city and viewed the movie “Harriet”, the story of Harriet Tubman’s life.

In the meantime, back in the woods, husband Barry shivered colder and colder.

“If you want me to come home, I need the thermostat at 68,” bargained warm wife.

“You better stay down there,” countered cold husband.

“Any sign of the wood stove?”

“Not yet,” he grumbled.

Daily calls ensued with the wood stove and propane companies.

Mom learns to paint at assisted living

Mom’s birthday arrived, as scheduled, on the 11th of November. Unfortunately it snowed in the Thumb of Michigan and the roads appeared slick, icy and snowy.

“Stay at home,” Mom advised. “We can celebrate my birthday tomorrow.”

And celebrate we did! It actually felt like a month-long birthday celebration spending so much time enjoying each other. It was a joy to see Mom enjoying herself in assisted living.

However, I did want to go home. After about three weeks started feeling impatience and prayed: “C’mon, God, isn’t it time to go home now?” Low-grade nervousness settled in.

As I lay in Mom’s bed wrangling with the Holy, an inner voice spoke up. It said something like this, “Kathy, just settle down. Relax. Enjoy yourself here. You have no idea what is going to happen–this visit is a gift for both of you. Don’t try to go home too soon. THIS is where you’re supposed to be.”

I listened skeptically, but paid attention to the intuition.

Mom and me on boat in Florida

After about four week’s time, we received notice the wood stove was ready to be delivered. (It turned out not to be exactly true, but that’s another story.) Mom and I hugged and kissed goodbye. What an amazing month!

Four months later covid struck. Her assisted living closed to the public…and the rest is history.

I look back at that month with awe and amazement. That month together shines precious beyond precious.

Mom and I talk every afternoon sometime between 3:00 and 5:00. It actually feels like we’re together every day, although we both would love to actually be together in person. Looking forward to a long hug and more fun times–hopefully next spring?!!

In the meantime–Mom, if you’re reading this–Happy Birthday! Love you so very very much. ❤

Four generations back in the day

Day 25 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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31 Responses to Celebrating my mom’s 88th birthday–from afar

  1. Stacy says:

    Happy birthday, Joanne!

    Kathy, you are so fortunate to have her still, healthy and in touch every day. (I know you know this.) XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, Stacy! I will tell my mom she might want to look at these comments. Calling her in fifteen minutes. And, yes, so fortunate that she’s doing so well and we’re still in close contact every day. ❤

  2. Susan D. Durham says:

    I could hear that amazing, Holy story over and over again. Happiest of Birthdays to Joanne, and blessings to her daughter, who is so precious. 💗

    • Kathy says:

      You’ve probably heard this story the most often, Susan. I am glad you don’t get bored! Hopefully Mom will come and look at the well-wishes here and on Facebook too. Thanks, my friend.

  3. dawnkinster says:

    Somehow I don’t remember this story. It was beautiful to read, though the further I got the harder it was to read through leaking eyes. Such a gift to have a month with your mom, and certainly even more a gift given where we are today. I’m so glad your mom is doing well and enjoying herself. I loved her painting, that reminded me a little bit of my mom who loved to do that kind of thing. I sure hope you can see her in person soon.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn…awww, leaky eyes. You know, I may not have published this on the blog. It seems like I randomly told the story in bits & pieces in several different places since last year. Glad to be able to share it today. And I will tell her you liked the painting!

  4. Amanda-Lyn says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mama ♥ such precious memories you have and you will treasure you whole life through. God bless and I can’t wait to read what comes next 😀

  5. Debbie says:

    What a lovely story, Kathy — thank you for sharing it here! Happy Birthday to your mama — she looks like a lady with spirit, one who’d make everyday things FUN! You’re blessed to have had a whole month to spend with her, soaking up memories for the time when you’d have to be apart. I do hope this thing ends soon, so we can all get back together again! I got a kick out of your wood stove story — guess you finally agreed on the heating-thing, right?!!

    • Kathy says:

      I am laughing, Debbie–yes, we finally figured out the whole heating scenario and now we’re living the “life of heating luxury” a year later! It was really a crazy fluke how nothing seemed to work out last year. That’s when I became suspicious this was a God-thing. Will be sure to have my mom come over and read the comments so she can feel the love.

  6. So happy you paid attention to your intuition and now you have a month of happy memories to buoy your spirits through these dark times. I love how your mom looks after you, advising you to stay home when those roads were slick, icy and snowy and being willing to celebrate her birthday the next day instead. You’re lucky to have her and so blessed that you can talk to her every day. 💙

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, it was sweet how my mom was looking after me. It is such a gift that she’s still with us and doing well and enjoying her time at assisted living. It was one of those times in my life when the intuition/communication just seemed so strong. And I have appreciated it every day since we parted last November.

  7. Robin says:

    Happy birthday, Kathy’s Mom!
    This is a wonderful story, Kathy. I’m so glad your intuition kept you there a little longer so that you’d have that time together, and the memory of it in your heart that you can touch when needed. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I will urge my mom to come over here and feel the birthday love. Glad you liked the story! I will remember this the rest of my life. It was such a gift to be able to spend that month hanging out with Mom. xoxo

  8. Barb says:

    Your mom takes such a great photo – I love seeing her smiling face! (And yours too, Kathy!) Spending a month with Mom making happy memories was a gift to both of you. How can she be 88? She looks at least 10 years younger. Happy Birthday Joanne! Stay well and keep smiling.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, thank you. How funny–my mom doesn’t think she is very photogenic at all these days! I told her what you said about looking ten years younger and I swear she was smiling through the phone. Another birthday gift for her yesterday!

  9. rehill56 says:

    Yes, I remember this story and am so glad you followed your intuition/spirit’s guidance .😊Precious time! A good lesson to remind us not to listen to impatience and hurry but to treasure the moments in front of us.😊 Happiest Birthday Joanne! Hope you get to see Kathy soon once again!

    • Kathy says:

      Ruth, it was such a clear message. I didn’t understand at all last year, but now it’s become more clear. A good lesson indeed. Thank you my friend. Can’t wait until it’s safe to travel down to see her!

  10. aFrankAngle says:

    Cheers to your intuition … but …. Happy Birthday to Mom from Cincinnati.

  11. Joanne says:

    Happy Birthday Joanne! 💕
    Talking to your mother every day is such a blessing, Kathy. A small consultation in place of hugs, but I’m sure your hearts hug every day. ❤️

  12. Happy birthday to your Mom! And you were really lucky to spend time with her before this craziness ensued. More happy years for your Mama, Kathy. Stay warm!

    • Kathy says:

      My mom is loving all the birthday wishes, Markus and Micah. It was an amazing month, indeed! (It’s cold again here, but we’ll be expecting that for the next many months now.)

  13. Reggie says:

    Happy Birthday to Kathy’s Mama! What a wonderful story, Kathy, I have tears in my eyes… So glad you got to spend so much time with her last year. What a gift from Spirit!

  14. Karen says:

    Happy birthday to your Mom, Kathy! You will treasure that time together all of your days!

    My mom’s 86th birthday came in June. She still lives on her own and drives, bowls on a seniors’ league every Wednesday morning (with 137 average), and goes to have her hair done every Tuesday.

    During our birthday visit the cities nearby were burning, and Mom told me she was no longer watching the news but was, instead, watching the builders on HGTV.

    When I asked why she replied, “Because that’s what dad and I did.” she said. “We were builders!”
    Wise woman, my Mom!

    • Kathy says:

      What a lovely story, Karen! To focus on the building instead of the burning. It sounds gentle instead of condemning. Aren’t we lucky to still have our mamas in our lives? Thank you for sharing about your own mom and her active lifestyle. xoxo

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