On Big-Eyed Owls and Birthdays

This Saturday morning feels a little different.

I’ve just been piddling around, like many Saturdays, thinking about my son’s basketball game later and what I need to do when.

I’m doing some knitting projects for some friends and as I was putting up some yarn, I found this little guy.

It’s Josh’s (probably from the hospital- we get lots of stuffed animals from various places ) but he didn’t seem to care anything about it, so I took it.

And today, it stopped me stunned and in tears, because today is Momma’s birthday.

She collected owls (she collected so many things) so I took this little guy because she always told me to never turn down anything free and it’s an owl.

Marge would have loved her a free owl.

I was thinking of all the things she loved and how she would have loved things about all of our lives that is happening now.

I think about how she would have loved our dogs- and just the fact that I even have dogs.

As I took them out back this morning, I looked around and thought how she would probably tell me I should sit out on the patio every morning and enjoy the sounds of birds and dogs and bugs and all of what she just soaked in and was in awe of.

But my backyard is a mess right now. It’s winter and the pool is gross and the furniture is still in hurricane-mode (that means it’s still against the house and not out and arranged). The garden area is overgrown and the deck needs cleaning.

Actually, my whole house is in disarray. We are painting the interior and some other projects. I think she would be amazed that I actually paint. Like with a roller.

But then again, I’m a lot like her. She painted furniture, made all sorts of things. If she wanted to learn something, she did – ceramics, painting (on canvas), needlework, flower and seascape arrangements – more than I can remember.

I’ve always loved making things and even now I want to do all the things. She taught me to at least try. We made frequent trips to craft stores. She bought me cross-stitch canvas and thread and baking pans and latch-hook kits and paint and ensured that I always had a project going.

I am so thankful she let me make a mess and be creative.

The messes didn’t bother Marge like they do me. She used to say I had to practice making my room a mess. I cleaned the kitchen constantly (I wanted it to look like the one in the Brady Bunch. Now I know that we all just need an Alice). I shuddered over the clutter and stacks of stuff and wondered how she could just not let it bother her.

But I know now that she just enjoyed her moments. She was unapologetic about what she wanted to do and make a priority. She was “intentional” before it was a thing and took time for herself. Now it’s “self-care”.

I’ve always said she was ahead of her time.

She used to tell me I needed to be a little selfish. She knew that I was a people-pleaser and a worrier and cared way too much what others thought.

She never felt guilty taking a nap, or sitting on the couch reading a book. Unlike me.

But I found out later, that like me, she was a writer.

After she died, I found journals speckled with words and but also pages upon pages left untouched.

I found pieces of writing so beautiful that I had never read while she was here and I and long to tell her that she was so very gifted.

I just want to tell her right this minute that I think she was amazing. I’m sure I did in some way, somehow. But I want to now.

And I can’t.

Never miss this opportunity.

Because I really want to call her and wish her a Happy Birthday. I want to tell her I love her more than 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the sky.

I want to get in the van and drive to Brunswick and not worry that I have a zillion other things to do because nothing is more important than people.

I want to laugh with her about a silly stuffed owl that I couldn’t turn down because I’ve become so much like her.

And tell her how much more I want to be.

Momma in her new “modern” kitchen. The original oven and cabinets were still there when we sold the house. The cows on the window still never moved until then.