Yesterday my Mom turned seventy! “And no one would know because she looks so fierce!” (I proudly declared this in my latest Facebook status). But honestly, my Mother looks amazing. She has the energy of a forty-year-old soccer mom with a van-full of adolescents. And since my father passed away three years ago, she seems to have grown exponentially younger. So much so, that I will probably have to keep reminding myself for a while that she is now, officially, a septuagenarian.
She was born on December 17th, 1942, in the middle of World War II, in Kassel, Germany. Her father was an ex-Nazi, her mother was an artist, and when she was just fifteen years old, she met a black man for the very first time (an American soldier), and fell in love with him. She married him (before it was legal in some places in the US for interracial couples to wed), and stayed married to him, through thick and thin for fifty years until his death in October of 2009. At seventy, she has been a faithful wife; and she is still very much a world class mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Why do I share this? Because we live in a day and age where time is seen as some cruel being that tethers our own ideas of success to itself; like a big juicy steak on-a-string before a hungry dog. And we chase after “that thing” to the point of exhaustion. If we catch it, we consume it… then we are still hungry. So we go after more bait. If we never catch it, we grow weary, and we begin to give up on the dreams in our hearts, that never actually had anything to do with meat.
But the secret to success is hidden in a life well lived (not in steak!). When I look at my mother, someone who was born into a conflict zone; took racial stigma in stride for the sake of love; and has not wrestled, but danced with life like a willing partner on a ballroom floor; I can boldly declare… Time is a gift! And regardless of circumstances that we must face, the choices that we make determine the legacy that we leave.
HAPPY 7OTH BIRTHDAY MOM!
Wow! Seventy whole years, and you still look amazing! I know many say that ‘Time goes by fast.’ But I wouldn’t say that is true for you, Mom. I would say that, for you, time goes by sweetly. With everything that this family has been through, I believe that each year you have become sweeter, and more beautiful. So far, I have had twenty-eight incredible years to be raised by you, and to learn who you are. And I mean it when I say that each year gets better. I wouldn’t trade in the Mom you are today for the Mom you were yesterday. And I am so excited for the Mom you are becoming. Because life is about a journey. And it is only time, patience, and perseverance that perfect us. I have learned that from watching you live your life so bravely and so selflessly.
So don’t listen to all of those old fogies! Time is not your enemy. He is your friend. Because you are simply stunning!
Love (Your Son),