Today my best friend – my mom – turns 90 years old. How does one take a measure of nine decades of energetic and purposeful living? In heartbeats, perhaps (3.7 billion and still going strong). Or maybe in terms of historic events: one Great Depression, a World War, a Korean War, a Vietnam War, a Gulf War … A man crosses an ocean in a small plane. A man walks on the moon. Sixteen presidents come – and go.
Maybe it makes most sense to make an accounting of the personal moments of a lifetime. Mom has seen 360 changes of season. She’s been a bride, and a widow. A mother. A grandmother. A great-grandma. She has played the roles of friend, mentor, teacher, caregiver. But really, how is it possible to measure the hearts touched, the lives impacted? These are countless.
My mother is, more than anyone I know, vibrantly alive. Most are astonished to learn her age, usually judging her a decade or more younger than she is. She still drives. She uses a computer (but cusses it frequently). Recently she defeated a professional editor in Scrabble (twice). Active in her community, busy in her home, Pat Mohror sometimes seems like a force of nature. She is her family’s touchstone, the lynchpin that holds us all together.
Late last year we were reminded that our sturdy, energetic mama is human after all. Unexplained anemia prompted medical tests and that most-dreaded diagnosis: cancer. Facing invasive surgery, she nevertheless hosted the family holiday as usual. She prepared a feast for the clan and watched us devour it (she herself was on a clear liquid diet and, in the words of the old song, got nothin’ for Christmas). Three days later she was wheeled into an operating room, prayed over by three very anxious offspring.
Mom came through the surgery and has bounced back, as her surgeon declared, “like a rockstar.” We who love her rejoice in her recovery and her resolve to face whatever lies ahead. Not long ago I asked, “Mom, will you promise to live forever?” “No,” she answered, “but I’ll live as long as I can.” We’re holding you to that, mama, and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.
I made this tribute to show mom how much she means to me. The singing is terrible (OMG!), but the message is heartfelt. I love you so much, mama!