On A's 85th Birthday


My mother has a big birthday today.   She said it is a non-event.   There are those that want a big fuss for their birthdays - and those who want to hide. Then there are those, like my mother who live every single day like it is so special, that when you go to buy a present or make a big deal on a day like today, it seems futile.

My mother is the most alive 80 something woman I know - and can dust most 70 and 60 something’s, too.  She shakes the Pittsburgh cultural tree every single day for the ripest fruit.   The museums, the concert halls, the theaters - her movie club with the critic from the Post-Gazette - they are the turf she runs on.   If something is sold out it just becomes a game, not a deterrent.   She has yoga, lunches, lectures, classes at CMU - and a slew of friends old and new who leap frog to keep up.

You could argue it is all a manic sprint.  She often asks if she is crazy at the end of long daily emails detailing her adventures.

Many people try to sum up their lives, and collect all the history on special birthdays.   My mother is just living too fast and too hard to stop and look back.   No dusting off old pictures.   No regrets.  Just teaching us all to be so alive and rich with experience that looking in the rear view mirror is something you do when your last breath is spent.

The gift she gives us all everyday is sharing her adventure , her curiosity, her insatiable sense of wonder.   Having children is planting seeds.  I’ve gotten a whole plantation from my mother.   As for my little boys, they have their own whole pocketfuls of seeds from their Gran A.