She won’t see this because despite the many times I’ve shown her how to use her new laptop, once I leave, she puts the laptop away and doesn’t crack it open again ’til my next visit. Which, of course, means she forgets everything I reviewed with her and we have to start all over. I suspect she does it to either get me to visit more often, or because she thinks it’s funny. Still, I want to tell you about my “Mom.”

I married her son, so as she tells it, I wasn’t born into the family; I came late. But I’m not her daughter-in-law, I’m her second daughter. And yes, she goes out of her way to find greeting cards addressed to son and “daughter” (the quotes are extremely important to her.) In fact, for our 25th wedding anniversary last month, Mom bought two cards: one that signified 25 years, and one with the son and “daughter” headline. (She addressed one to Phil and Gina, the other to Gina and Phil. She’s a stickler for those pesky details.)

Mom’s one of those ladies that everyone talks to. I remember an incident when she had to be transferred from one hospital to another via ambulance. By the time the medical techs brought her into the second hospital, she knew their names, their marital statuses, and I swear they’re still on her Christmas card list. During winter snow storms, her neighbors argue over who’ll be the one to shovel out her driveway. Everyone who knows her will tell you about her generosity, her laugh, her great capacity for love.

Her grandkids think she’s cool because she’ll play Flip Cup with them. On Easter Sunday. (That’s Grandma, draining the red cup of beer)

I often tell her if I ever divorce her son, I get to keep her in the custody arrangement.

This year is a milestone for Mom (her 80th!) and she’ll have to celebrate without the man who’d been beside her since their high school days. But she has tons of friends. And her family, a family who thinks the world of her. And a “daughter” who is so lucky to have her in my life.

Happy birthday, Mom! I luv ya!

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