Happy 77th birthday to my tirelessly, modestly awesome mom who -- not to make this about me after only ten words -- has made it her personal mission to coordinate doctors, dole out ever-changing (seriously -- they change pretty much every week) prescriptions, endure hours of medically related on-hold music, battle insurance companies, dig deep into online drug-interaction research, and sometimes just pour orange juice and fold laundry for her eternally grateful -- though sometimes exhaustedly unable to show it -- big ol' bipolar son, who undeniably couldn't survive this train ride without her.
When she's not enjoying that little hobby, she's a devoted grandmother to the -- and I swear I'm being empirically objective here -- smartest, awesomeist, above-averageist, talentedist children ever to exchange inappropriate texts with their compulsively corrupting uncle who once again managed to make this tribute about himself. She and my dad are also emotional and moral and eternally inspiring community pillars who waste no time securing donated coats or shoes or furniture or shelter or food or transportation for sometimes complete strangers who desperately need it. In that vein, she also sometimes brings unnecessary butter to my sister's house; buys my dad an ever-expanding library of V-neck sweaters in a gradient palette of dark dad colors; dotingly acquiesces to our relentlessly bellicose cat's increasingly finicky tastes in wet food, blankets and inconvenient places to vomit; and occasionally indulges herself in post-season vests from the Talbots clearance rack. She loves her family unconditionally and we love her unconditionally back, even though she dances with her wrists out and puts onion salt in everything she cooks.
Last summer she weathered major shoulder surgery and months of recovery in a borrowed recliner in the living room with tenacity and courage and grace and humor and mountains of food and organized rides from a lifetime of dear, devoted friends. This year she's a 40-year cancer survivor, and I'm posting this picture from her everyone-had-to-wear-pink 30-year survivor celebration not because we all look young and attractive in it -- but now that you mention it, I guess we do -- but because it radiates the profound joy she brings to her family, her community and everyone she comes in contact with. Except the cat, who demands that her tuna be prepared only with the white sauce from the pink can, which is laboriously difficult to find.