Being a child of God and having a mother named Mary has graced my life with divine relevance. My grade school, St. Mary’s, proclaimed the sanctity of this name. Each May the prettiest girl in school crowned the statue of the Blessed Mother. Seemingly, a voice from heaven had said to me, this is My beloved Mary with whom I am well-pleased (Mathew 3:17). Eighty-eight years and counting, I am well-pleased to crown Mom’s birth and her life. The double number 88 presents the dual challenge and opportunity for the birthday girl to reign in splendor with self-mastery of her hopes and dreams.
My mother of perpetual help laid the foundation for me to be self-sufficient and morally responsible. In wishing to emulate Mom, I fulfilled her aspirations of becoming a caring physician. In her self-proclaimed purpose to do for others, she became the ultimate caregiver/worrier. By repeatedly saying, “Everything has a place and there’s a place for everything,” she ensured that orderliness is next to godliness? With a resume that noted her being supervisor at every job she had while raising seven children, she has earned a seat next to God. In addition, the luck of the Irish promises her a pot of gold in heaven; one overflowing from her generosity and sacrifices made while on earth.
Her middle name, Anastasia, was the stone that her “builder” rejected. This represented the life she was given but never wanted. At age eighty-eight will self-mastery allow the enchanting name of Anastasia to become the cornerstone that fortifies and supports her life as awesome? Anastasia means resurrection. Each birthday presents an opportunity to be born again from a new vantage point. With age, birthdays are less about excitement and more about thankfulness. Excitedly, I use this occasion to pay homage and thanksgiving to her adorable presence in my life.
Toiling with the stick in the laundry ringer, scrubbing and waxing the kitchen floor, dangling a ball over my lazy eye, splashing water in my face after I wet the bed and sprinkling countless heart-shaped RED HOTS on my birthday cakes were all beatitudes of kindness not forgotten. While appreciating that my Mom gave me the gift of life and enjoying a life I would re-gift, I struggled in finding the perfect gift for her ultimate sentimental journey to heaven.
Remembering that the greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return; the gift needed to be heartfelt with a note bearing my mother’s formal closing of all my love. Many years ago she stitched a pair of pillowcases and quilted a blanket to provide comfort to me throughout life. Poignantly, I return one of these pillowcases for her head to rest upon when she transitions from this life. She and I will share an abiding union that bids sweet dreams and memories for eternity.
As a young child I remember kneeling with my siblings for bedtime prayers and the litany of people to bless always began with God bless Mommy. This hopefully places her at the top of St. Peter’s list. Little did I realize at that time – God had blessed me with a blessed mother who continues to intercede on my behalf and less on my behind. I remain forever grateful to my mother; taking comfort in her resurrection as Mary Anastasia. Happy Birthday, Mom!