My Mother’s 87th Birthday

Mom at 86 and going strongI am a lucky fool. I have a mother who has thrived for 86 years and now begins her 87th. She is healthy and makes no demands at all on me. She never has.

I am lucky to have been able to take my time appreciating her. Many people lose one or both of their parents at a much younger age than I. My mother’s health has given me time to grow up and know her as a woman and a friend in addition to being my mother. She offers valuable perspective on any issue I have in life. Her motherly love waits for my need, but she treats me with respect and dignity as well. A nice balance.

Some friends of mine have parents who are demanding or needy, making it hard to see them as people rather than parents. I am lucky both my parents are independent and continue to grow in wisdom and love.

I am foolish to allow myself even the smallest complacency in appreciating my mother. I feel an urgency about getting to know her as well as I can. There are times when we have clicked like old buddies, cackling at childish jokes, but I fumble at such closeness. It feels too new and unusual coming from the woman who has always been the “parent”.

A gay man and his mother have a particular bond. There is a unique closeness possible because another woman doesn’t enter into his life as a wife might, so his mother can remain and become a very close female friend, one who knows him inside and out. I have seen that friendship blossom timidly between us, but formality still reigns and I keep the distance necessary to maintain that. She is available but I am not. And she is OK with that. Our closeness only goes as far as I can handle. I wish I could let it go further, but that’s OK, too.

I am a lucky fool.

Happy Birthday Mom. Do you have any good dirty jokes to tell?

6 thoughts on “My Mother’s 87th Birthday

  1. Many happy returns of the day to your mother! What a beautiful testimonial to her — and your loving honesty about your relationship is very moving.

  2. I love this post of appreciation for your mother. I bristle silently when I hear my friends complain about parents, and you’ve never done that. Maybe you wish for more closeness, but it’s a big deal that you have well-established respect in your relationship.

    Am I seeing things, or has she added a Boston terrier to her mix?


  3. HI Betty- The Boston Terrier is a friend’s. It’s true I have it pretty good with both my parents. Sometimes I feel the pressure of time, and then feel guilty for not trying harder. But they understand.

  4. What a great tribute to a truely great mom! Of all the many things in my life to remember, I will always remember my mother’s great support when I came out to my parents. She was there from day 1, and still is today. Where would we be without such supportive, loving parents!

    Fr. John

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