July 10th is my mother's 90th birthday. This is the girl who was ill with childhood diabetes but in a family of eleven children in the midwest, doctor visits were non-existent.
My brother and I were farmed out to families many times while our mother underwent surgeries for various problems. Back then children were not told facts so I only remember being an intruder with older couples with no children who insisted I sit still and eat whatever horrible thing was in front of me, or getting lost among the many children in a household and expected to be another hand with the early morning chores.
After the age of twelve I didn't live with my mother any longer but we were occasionally in touch by phone. She let me know when she was in the hospital with the first mastectomy and seven years later the other mastectomy. Then surgery for ovarian cancer. Then gall bladder surgery. The cataract surgeries were a couple years ago. She had a fairly major stroke about twenty years ago and mini strokes since then. And all the while she is an insulin dependent diabetic.
She started telling me when she was in her sixties that she would not live a long life. She was just too ill. In my mind ninety is a lot of years. So she has lived a long life, contrary to her predictions.
Hubby and I made a CD for her with us singing some songs she likes, and hubby playing guitar. She will get a kick out of it. One song will make her cry: You'll Never Walk Alone. It was the song I sang when I auditioned for the San Francisco Light Opera. That was during the three months I lived with her after living in foster homes several years. She has mentioned that song to me many times and told me how much it meant to her to go with me to that audition.
Of course the CD we made is just for fun. Just to make her happy. Other than hubby's singing and guitar playing there is nothing professional about it. But we had so much fun working on it together. Within an hour of finishing the CD we watched an episode of Frost on Netflix with a band and male singer doing a fun rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone. In all the years of watching shows I have never seen that song being performed. Twilight Zone moment.
My mother and I have gone through stages of getting to know each other over the sixty five years I have been here, to come to a place of contentment and acceptance. Ninety is a big number. Big enough to hold up the weight of mistakes and regrets.
Happy ninetieth birthday to my mother. From my heart. We may be making a 100th birthday CD in ten years.