Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom! A July 4th Baby all the way. And to celebrate your birthday, I’ve made a list. Enjoy – this is for you!



10) Style. At the present time, Mom helps me with fashionable clothes and great clutches and purses. I have learned a lot! But 15 years ago, no one could pull off black tennis shoes with white socks quite the way she could. While life guarding one summer Como Pool, I could spot her and Dad walking from all the way across the boulevard, simply by the shoe and sock color.

9) Mental Health Days. Each school semester, my sister and I would be given a special “mental health day” OFF from school. It was an opportunity to spend time with Mom, do some girl-shopping, and go out for lunch. I still remember the overly zealous waitress at Red Lobster. Thank goodness she wasn’t OUR waitress, as both Mom and I have a problem with containing our laughter at inappropriate times (see #3). Fried shrimp always brings back memories of this particular day.

8) Running, romping, and reading on the rocks at Lake Superior. Every summer our family would head up North and enjoy the Great Lake (Superior) and all Her splendor. Between picking out our cereal, to roasting marshmallows, staying at Sol Baaken, to skipping rocks in the Grand Marais harbor, hiking around Mt Oberg and Mt “Laverne”, and riding the Alpine Slide – Mom always had her camera ready to capture the moment. Summer vacations were (for the most part) wonderful. Even though we posed for a million pictures.

7) Santa. Every year right after Thanksgiving, there is an invasion of Santas. Not just one or two, or perhaps ten Santas. That would be easy. No, throughout the years, Mom has collected well over a thousand Santa Claus figures; and they take over the downstairs. It starts off innocently enough, but after a few days, you get the “heebie jeebies” late at night. The little Santas, with their beady eyes – watch you as you move from one room to the next. As a little kid afraid of things that go bump in the night, it was a great deterrent for late-night snacking. Unfortunately, it still is. But now, whenever I see Santa, I think of Mom.

6) Suzuki Camp. Every year, Mom, Karyna and I would spend a week at Stevens Point, WI for Suzuki Violin Camp. An entire week devoted to violin, friendship, practice, jumping on beds, concerts, late night ice cream at the McDonald’s, talent shows, roller skating, and having a good time. Mom was great because she wasn’t the “typical” stage Mom. She didn’t urge us to do anything that we didn’t want to do, didn’t push us beyond what we wanted to do. For a week she was simply one of us: going to practice, having fun, and eating ice cream. And even though I nearly maimed Karyna while bounding across the three beds in our dorm, she was cool with it. I barely remember the scolding.

5) Cooking. I used to hate cooking while growing up; it was always Karyna who excelled in the kitchen. However, after I left for college, I realized that a life filled with Ramen, Mac & Cheese, and microwaveable meals wasn’t all that appealing. So instead, during every break and every long-weekend at home, I spent as much time as I could with Mom in the kitchen, learning how to cook, being instructed on how to prepare traditional Czech meals. And you know what? I learned a heckuva lot more than just cooking. I’m still a disaster (on occasion) in the kitchen, but I feel a lot closer to my Mom because of the times we shared. (And now that she has the kitchen of her dreams after their remodel, I especially LOVE the atmosphere. No more yucky red carpet!)

4) Computer. Mom loves it. Spider solitaire is her friend. “The Google” is even better. And EBay? A delightful wonder filled with everything imaginable for cheap. Combine Mom’s ability to strike a bargain with her enthusiasm for Port Merrian, Fiesta, and other types of glassware (and yes – Santa too!), there was a time when “all these little boxes” kept arriving unannounced. Dad was befuddled, and Mom’s collections continued to grow. And I swear, the Santas that she acquired that year could switch places with each other. They were always watching. And they moved!

3) The Contagious Laughter. I inherited my laugh from Mom. Once we get going, we can’t stop. Especially worrisome during concerts, dinners, funerals, or other times where loud laughter is considered a faux pas. Nathaniel and Dad call it a self-perpetuating cycle. I laugh because of her, and she laughs because of me. I tell you, harnessed the right way, and we could power the house off our giggles.

2) Style, part II. While growing up, Mom loved to sew, embroider, knit, and just about anything involving needles, thread, yarn, patterns, designs, cloth, etc etc etc. She made the most amazing princess costume, with a beautiful silver skirt that puffed out. Additionally, as a younger gal – a mere “whippersnapper” if you may – I had beautiful smock bibs. In high school, I didn’t really appreciate the value of her work, but last year I confessed that I loved how a beautiful wrap would look with my gold USMC Birthday Ball Gown. Two days before the ball, I received the most incredible hand-made, silk wrap from Mom. And I will forever treasure it.

1) The Garden. Mom is the most amazing gardener: she knows how to make things grow. She loves creating, loves the process of nurturing her plants, talking to her flowers, and seeing how her gardens change with the seasons. It didn’t matter where we lived – Mom always planted flowers and did her gardening work. She has formed friendships over hauling manure, researched Japanese Rock Garden formation, and I now associate the smell of orchids with my parent’s house. And that's reason enough to smile.

Happy Birthday Mom! I wish more than anything I was there to celebrate. I hope that you feel better soon – fight off that cold! Nate and I saw the fireworks downtown and thought of you. I remember watching the fireworks at the Dyrud’s, eating brats, and celebrating your special day with cake and champagne. We love you!

Love, Marit & Nathaniel, Tabbitha & Anabelle (House Monster and Mini Monster. Or – Nathaniel’s new nicknames for them – Bozo and Dodo).

'Tisk! Boys!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful surprise I had today as I read your blog! and, what a great birthday gift - reading about the memories we share, and especially about the laughter we treasure and enjoy. Thank you so much for this blog, Maritka.
I love you - Mom

BreeWee said...

Happy Birthday to your mom! This post made me miss my mom, I think i'll call her, thanks for making me appreciate my mom!