Eighty-eight years ago today, a mother of two decided to have her third baby at home instead of in the hospital. It was in Rockford, IL in August in the heat and humidity. The hospital did not have air conditioning but her home had a master bedroom on the entire second floor with lots of windows and cross ventilation. Labor was going fine then slowed. It was lunchtime and the doctor decided to take some time for lunch.
Her husband was worried and stayed with her. He was raised on the largest cattle ranch in the state of South Dakota. He had helped birth a lot of calves and other ranch animals.
Suddenly, the baby was coming but the doctor had not returned from lunch. Her husband helped her through the labor and delivered a girl, which her mother would claim for years that she arrived smiling.
There was a lifelong connection between this little girl and her father. She adored him. He included her in his life and taught her so many things. She remembers the thrill of walking with him along Michigan Avenue in Chicago, in his jodhpurs, being greeted by almost everyone passing by. He was the head of the largest ad agency and these walks helped his creativity. They would talk about everything while they walked, she learned so much about nature and art. He taught her to play golf and she was his caddy from about 4-years old. She would complain about her knocked knees. He would reply that "those knees are going to carry you a long way." He always turned a negative into a positive in a very quiet manner.
Years later, when she was married with three children of her own, her father was visiting and quietly told her husband that he was proud of him and the home he made for his daughter. That meant so much to her husband as he never really thought he was good enough to marry her. She could have done so much better.
For her entire life, she knew that she was deeply loved by this special father. Knowing this love, she was able to have it with her husband and model it to her children.
My mom's 88th birthday is today and I am one grateful daughter for everyday we share together. I love hearing these stories and memories of her childhood. I am blessed to have her as a mom for so many reasons. Michael and I are meeting her later this morning to open presents before we have lunch at a nice place with fabulous views where she may even have a cocktail!
Happy Birthday, Mom.