Faithful imaginary readers will have noticed by now that I'm a big fan of my moma, mostly because she's the best person I know. And I'd be the lamest lame daughter ever if I didn't do one of those dandy birthday tributes for which I'm known. (Apparently, I am the lamest lame sister because Shane got no blogging love.) Of course, by the time I get done typing this I'm sure it'll be after midnight and no longer my moma's birthday, but it's the thought that counts, isn't it? Isn't it? Moma?
So you may or may not know this, but my moma is a twin. She and my MacMac were born on my Gramps's 28th birthday. So September 1 is a spectacularly big birthday in these parts. The whole clan gets together every Labor Day weekend for the festivities. The fact that brother Shane and cousin Robyn and sister-in-law Susan also have birthdays near Labor Day is just icing on the many, many birthday cakes. Lots of years my moma's actual birthday falls during the long weekend, but some years (like this one) Labor Day weekend falls a few days after, and some of that real-day birthday magic is lost because we're apart. Of course, the favorite daughter was with her today, so my moma probably doesn't even remember me or the fact that I called and sang to her this morning.
My MacMac is pretty spectacular all by herself, so let's start with my five favorite things about her:
5. MacMac is kind of unintentionally hilarious. She's scattered and a bit disorganized and a bit prone to doing things in a way that makes for a terrific story later. It's just part of her charm, and while she would probably consider this trait far from charming, I think it's one of the most endearing things about her. And it's probably the way that I'm most like her, so maybe that's why I'm so partial to it.
4. My MacMac is the most hospitable person anywhere ever. She's always ready to throw a party or a shower or invite a huge crew of people over for a ridiculously good meal. When I was in college, she was famous amongst my friends (and Robyn's and Mac's, of course) for inviting everyone over for home cooking. She has a couple of largish cabinets to hold her collection of punchbowls and cups and plates and shower decorations. I've been on the receiving end of her hospitality more times than I can count (for the past three weekends just to prove that I'm not exaggerating). And she always acts as though large meals for large groups or fancy, elaborate showers are exactly what she wants to do. I want to be that part of her when I grow up.
3. MacMac is an amazing cook. When she's putting on those elaborate functions, they're full of delicious food. She makes lots of things that are just like my moma, which is delightful, but she also tries new recipes all the time to rave reviews and she makes chicken and dumplings. Can you believe it? She also makes the best pancakes anywhere ever.
2. My precious aunt is married to a swell uncle, and together they're responsible for creating two of my favorite cousins and dearest friends. Mac is tall and funny and so full of MacMac's most scatterbrained qualities, and he's my #1 fan. And RobBob, who definitely deserved a birthday blog all her own on Sunday, has been more than a friend and more than a cousin since time began. She knows all my stories (because she was there for most of them), and she's the best, most effortless friend. I'm going to keep her.
1. MacMac is the closest thing to my moma within a 200 mile radius. From the time that I moved to Arkansas for school back in 1997, she's been taking nothing but the very best care of me from the laundry facilities to the home-cooking to being one of my biggest cheerleaders. She loves me no matter what, and there's something to be said for having a person who's nearly as good as a moma when my own moma is sometimes too far away, and I love her just as much as she loves me. So it works out for us.
And now let me tell you my five favorite things about my moma (how do I pick only five):
5. My moma has a million talents. She can sew, knit, crochet, arrange flowers, decorate cakes, bake, and cook amazingly. She's pretty much perfect, except for her handwriting. She's passed along several of those brilliant skills to me, and she's a pretty decent teacher too. She's mucho amazing.
4. She's stinkin' funny and a great, great audience. We are a funny family, and sometimes the big name comedians among us get all the attention. Sure everyone always talks about how funny Will and Butch are, and I am commonly acknowledged as the funniest natural-born member of our family, but I learned lots and lots of that from my moma. She makes me laugh without even trying, and she appreciates great comedy. She's not a cheap laugh, like Michelle is when she gets tired, but she has a great guffawing laugh, and when you make her do that, you can really feel as though you've achieved something.
3. My moma makes holidays special. She decorates for Easter and Halloween and continues traditions that make even ordinary days seem special. Thanks to my moma, there's a right and a wrong way to have a birthday dinner, and Christmas, in our family, is the stuff of legend. Christmas-y touches are spread throughout the entire house, and there are so many gorgeously-wrapped packages that she can't fit them into the tree corner and has to create little gift annexes all around the living and dining rooms. She's "cut back" so many times in the past few years, and yet we're all still ridiculously spoiled by her generosity. She bakes everyone's favorite Christmas goody, and the cookie tins and containers have to be labeled because there are so many. It's madness, but it's the best kind of madness. And these days she loves having her little chicks together in one place so much that any weekend we manage to get together is automatically a holiday. Menus are planned and cakes are baked, and it always seems as though there's something specially made for everyone.
2. Twenty years ago, my moma made the best decision of her life when she married the Popster. I don't know of anyone in the world who has a better blended-family-happily-ever-after than we do. Few men in the world would have looked at our sweet moma and her four loud, growing, needy brats and wanted to get mixed up in that, but he did, and it's made all the difference in our lives. My moma's amazing, so it's no wonder he loved her enough to take us on, but he loves us too, and as far as I can remember, he always has. They are a great team. The best. The older I get the more I come to appreciate how many people are screwed up by their parents, and while I'm fairly dysfunctional in many ways, I know that those faults are mine because the best parts of me are all from them, my moma and the Popster.
1. My moma doesn't know the first thing about selfishness. Her financial generosity to me over the years can not be overstated, but she is also generous with her time and attention and her heart. Except in those ridiculous dreams I have where she won't talk to me, there's not a moment in my life when she's not loving me and supporting me, worrying about me, laughing at me, and taking care of me, no matter how many miles separate us. She is the most constant thing in my life. When I'm sure of nothing else, I know that calling my moma makes everything better. Seeing her, hugging her, talking with her is a balm. She is my happy place. She is home, and whether I'm 3 or 16 or 31, I'm cherished and adored and wrapped up in more love than I can explain just because I'm her baby.
Happy Birthday, Moma and MacMac! If it weren't three in the morning, I'd find an adorable picture of you both to post here. Maybe you'll thank me for not going to that trouble. Love, love, love to you both.