She taught me how to use a can opener, make a bed, and scramble an egg perfectly.
She was the one who drove me to the library multiple times a week, all summer long, for fresh stacks of books.
She brought home packages of sliced white American cheese every week from the Shop-N-Bag, so I could devour multiple slices after school every day, while watching (of course) the ABC After-School Special.
She got up and went to work every morning at 7 a.m. because only dual-income checks could make ends meet.
She taught me that a fitly spoken compliment is the most valuable thing you can give someone.
She, although not an animal person herself, let me bring home Rusty, the fluffiest, cutest chocolate miniature poodle I ever met.
She showed me how to load wood into a cooking stove and pump water when there’s no running water in a farmhouse.
She convinced me that the 1983 Phillies were the best team ever, never mind that they were the oldest ever, and never mind that they lost the Series to the Orioles, 4 games to 1… Rose, Schmidt, Carlton, and McGraw are as good as they come. Forever in my mind.
She never complained that I played the TV way too loud when I watched the early Saturday morning cartoons and School House Rock on her and Dad’s only morning to sleep in.
She listened to my early-teen, tear-filled worries that seemed earth shattering at the time, until pouring them out to her.
She hated dyeing her hair, the smell, the gloves, the staining mess, so she taught me that gray hair is beautiful.
She treated “Billy” like a member of the family long before he truly was, recognizing a perfect future-son-in-law before I recognized that he was the perfect husband.
She taught me that Tammy Wynette was right, about where a woman needs to stand.
She put up with way too many goofy shenanigans by my girlfriends and me.
She welcomed the late-night loud movies being played in her basement–even during our short-lived, still-can’t-explain-it-to-this-day horror movie marathon–on the borrowed VCR that was lugged from home to home on any given Friday night. (Only one friend’s family had the financial means to invest in those new-fangled machines.)
She taught me that in life I could always know that I know at least three things: that God cherishes me more than I can fathom, that a fresh-from-the-garden tomato sandwich on buttered toast would always be the best sandwich choice possible, and that she loved me.
She taught me how to be a mom.
Happy 75th birthday, Mom.
Do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart…When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. Proverbs 6: 20-22