Today is my mom Suzanne’s birthday, well actually it is the 29th, Leap Year. She always insisted it was the last day of February, not the first of March if we didn’t have a Leap Year, so I will celebrate her today with a Manhattan, her favorite cocktail.
It has been three years since we lost my sweet mom and though the pain is a little less, I seem to miss her more each passing year. There are so many things I wish we could chat about…so many things she is missing, especially with my boys she loved so much and her other grandkids. On this day and many others I can only cope by being grateful for all she has given me and passed on to me. Some I didn’t even realize were her doing until lately.
So many things my mom instilled in us and also made us passionate for. She was lovely, kind to everyone and yet sadly a terrible worrier. I got that too. She was always taking the side of the underdog and injustice- whether it was a kid at school or prejudice at the supermarket, my mom called it out, sometimes embarrassingly so for us at the time. Now I think back with pride at my mom’s bravery.
My mom was a mini philanthropist in her own way. She gave to little charities, especially animal ones regularly. Later when she had more money, always had a little wad of bills in her hand for the busboy, the waiters and waitresses, the man on the street and so many others. My mom would go out of her way to find the girl with the kind smile and make sure she got the money, sometimes to our exasperation. Now I see it was her way of spreading love and being grateful for what she had.
My mom was the first person to speak out about women’s rights that I knew of. I remember her passion during the Billie Jean King- Bobbie Riggs tennis match which we watched in earnest and cheered when a WOMAN beat a man! My mom said we were Woman Libbers and woman deserved equality and the same rights was any man, and I believed it. I was eight at the time. My mom would have loved that Battle of the Sexes film and would be thrilled about the Women’s Marches that have taken place in the past two years.
Last week watching the Olympics, I missed her more than ever. My mom was a huge Olympic fan and thanks to her, I have watched every one since 1972 when Olga Korbet of the U.S.S.R. was a little gymnastic darling and wowed us. My mom’s biggest sport love was ice skating, much to my dad’s dismay as she watched every ice competition ever. Mom grew up in Wisconsin and loved ice skating on ponds and would bike long ways just to skate with her friends. We scrutinized many a ice performance together and she loved the really artistic skaters, as do I now too. She would have loved Adam Rippon and the commentary by Johnny and Tara of this Olympics. After I saw the film I Tonya, all I could think of was what my mom would have thought and how fun it would have been to dish about that whole Tonya Harding thing again…
Thanks to my mom I love Wimbledon and playing tennis. She got me started at an early age as she loved it herself and we had a tiny club, Dunnets around the corner from our house. Mom liked that I could ride my bike there and she bought me one of the first Prince aluminum racquets in high school when everyone else still had wooden ones. We watched many a Wimbledon together and always loved Chris Evert’s feminine style best of all the players. She has missed many a good match and would be thrilled Serena just had her first baby.
Thanks to my mom I love cats, buttered noodles, Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffanys, little children, old folks, Hollywood gossip, Doris Day, Carly Simon, beautiful clothes, people dressed neat as a pin ( her words), being at home, sitting in the sun, and yellow roses and flowers.
I plan to bring my mom some today.
With my parents in 2014. One of the last and best photo we have of us.
My mom’s original Breakfast at Tiffany’s album which I still play and love.