Thoughts on Mom’s 88th birthday

Thank you so much to all of you who left messages of congratulations to my mom on her 88th birthday.  I read each and every one to her, as well as the Facebook messages. She said, “How very kind people are. Tell them I really appreciate their wishes.”

On Thursday, hubby and I went to fetch her here for the weekend, and met my sister for lunch. Those of you who read about the “elusive turquoise top” which I was trying in vain to find for her birthday which is today, may be amused to know that we walked into a boutique at the centre where we went for lunch, and found the perfect one, and it wasn’t turquoise at all, but a mélange of soft greys. It waved to sister, almost as soon as we walked in the door. Crisis averted. 🙂

That evening, just as I was about to start preparing supper, the door bell rang and there was a courier with a cardboard box addressed to mom. She was beside herself with excitement, never having had a couriered parcel before in her whole long life. It was from my daughter in Johannesburg, and contained  yummy chocolate goodies. Her thoughtfulness really made mom’s day complete.


On Friday, we took mom down to the bench at the top of our beach steps, and there we sat for quite a long while, watching the waves and the ships. It was a very special time for both of us.


We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sea air.


Saturday morning was my day for playing piano again at the mall, so hubby brought mom along to listen, and then we went for a tasty lunch and a bit of shopping. Helping mom to negotiate her way through the crowds of shoppers, I couldn’t help keenly feeling the reversal of roles. I remember when I was a child, having to run to keep up with her as she strode along the street, walking the mile or so into the town because it was “quicker than waiting for the bus.” “Step it out, you’ve got long legs.” she used to say to me. Now I hold her arm protectively, as she’s not too steady on her feet, and I’m afraid she might get bumped by some passing stranger who doesn’t know how special she is. I know it comes to all of us who are fortunate enough to have elderly parents, but I can’t help feeling a twinge of heartache as I see how frail she is. I’m so glad that something which hasn’t changed over the years, is her sense of humour. When we’re together, the smiles and laughter come thick and fast. She sees the funny side of everything, and I’ve inherited this sometimes embarrassing trait. My sister is the same, but even worse, and when the three of us get together, you might be forgiven for assuming that we’ve been let out for the day from some institution for the insanely comical. I’ve also passed this gene on to my daughter, and our long-suffering husbands have  just had to learn to live with it, bless them. 🙂

On Sunday, mom’s birthday dawned bright and sunny, and as usual I took her tea in bed. There she lay, her slight form hardly making a bump under the bedclothes, and I couldn’t help joking. “Happy birthday mom. You’re two fat ladies today!” She replied with a laugh, “That’s exactly what I was thinking when I woke up and realised that I’m 88 today. She had Facebook messages from family overseas, my daughter and granddaughter phoned from Johannesburg, and my sister and her husband phoned from Lesotho where they are spending a few days in freezing cold temperatures. Hubby’s 99-year-old mom in England also spent a good half hour chatting to us all. I then made a really nice lunch, and one thing I will say is that mom has a great appetite for her size.


Just before I served our sticky toffee pudding, we had a Skype call from our son and family in New Jersey, and mom was so thrilled to see her grandson and his three gorgeous children. Little Taylor was also celebrating her 4th birthday, and Sienna kept jumping down off her dad’s lap to show us how she can do cartwheels. Two-year-old Max came to say “Hi” and then he was off on his own mission. Isn’t Skype just the best thing since sliced bread?


Now mom is back home in her little cottage, and I’m sure her neighbours were glad to see her back. They all love her to bits, and gathered together to see her off on Thursday, and wish her a very happy weekend, which I know she had. That’s another thing about my mom. She never takes anything for granted, and is always so grateful for each little thing and every act of kindness. My darling mom, may you live to enjoy many more years.

92 comments on “Thoughts on Mom’s 88th birthday

  1. Happy belated birthday to your mom, Sylvia. It looks like it was a wonderful day. It is so sad to see our parents become frail when we have known them to be robust and healthy. It’s great you’re a whole family with a sense of humor! 🙂

    • Thanks, Cathy. I only just saw this comment. Mom is doing fine for the moment. She has good days and not so good days, which I suppose is to be expected at her age. 🙂

  2. AAAhhh ,,,, so sweet. I had a smile on my face all through this post. Thank you for letting us be a part of your Mothers’ special day. She’s a treasure. You are blessed to have her to devote your energy and love to. She is a beautiful woman, Sylvia, and you are too.
    May her year be filled with all the joy and love her heart can hold.
    Blessings to her
    Happy Birthday … and many, many healthy ones.

  3. Thank you for this tender post. How blessed you are to have that great love for your mother. I am sure it’s because your Mom loved you so tenderly first. Happy birthday to her. 🙂

  4. I’ve been away … such a wonderful celebration AD .. Mums are very special and you and your family showed her so well how she is treasured . Lovely .
    She has the Sylvia twinkle in her eye too 😉

  5. Happy Birthday to your Mom , Wishing her a many more birthdays to come 🙂

  6. what a lovely post, I could feel the love through all the words…it seems as though your mother had a wonderful birthday with you! Happy Birthday to her…wishing her many more!!!

  7. what a wonderful blog and wonderful time you had. I know what you mean about your parents being frail. my mum had a stroke about 10 days ago which has left her left side not good and means she has gone from an active individual to one who needs daily assistance. You just don’t expect it from your parents.
    Let’s not end on a sad note! Your mum looks amazing for 88, and so does your lunch!

  8. Ahhhh…this made me tear up a bit…what a wonderful day you all had…and blessed with so much love between you all…please wish your Mother a happy “belated” Birthday for me…Such a beautiful woman 🙂

  9. “and I’m afraid she might get bumped by some passing stranger who doesn’t know how special she is”
    What a fabulous line! I totally understand. I am always aware of how frail my 90 year old mom is, and often look at her and remember days when she was stronger and healthier. It breaks my heart to see her sway a little at times when she walks. But she keeps on keepin’ on, as I hope your mom does for a long time. Happy Belated Birthday to the woman who can’t deny she’s your mom. Look at the two of you!!! Both beautiful. xxx

  10. I think your sense of humor that runs in you family is probably one of the best character traits to have.I have been through the role reversal and it takes humor and patience. sounds like you have it all. Happy Birthday to your mom. Each day is a gift for her.

  11. Dear Sylvia,
    This is such a sweet post! Happy birthday to your Mom! How fortunate you are to have each other, and all the more so because you realize this.

  12. Awww – this is absolutely beautiful! Your mum is five years older than mine. Even though my mum is relatively active for her age (like yours) I still worry about the frailty part… I’m so glad she enjoyed her birthday and the special surprises! 😀

  13. Isn’t she gorgeous? What a happy and sunny woman she looks. My mum never even got to 80 let alone 88, so hope yours lasts lots and lots of many happy returns more.

  14. Oh! this just gave me shivers. Happy Birthday to your lovely, mum. It seems you take after her in many ways. I treasure the sense of humor you describe above all else. Long-suffering hubbies or no. May you and yours always be blessed with it.

  15. Glad you got to spend some real quality time with mom AD 😉
    That is, after all, what kids should do for their parents 🙂

  16. How lovely… that’s a precious gift for both of you! My mom is 80… I do wish she may stay with us quite longer 😉 Happy birthday to this great lady

  17. A lovely, heartwarming post Sylvia. Wishing your beautiful mom many more wonderful birthdays quite like this 🙂

  18. She looks like such a darling AD … just like you hon. I can see she had a wonderful birthday and she is so blessed to have such a lovely family and loved ones. Great photo’s of you all and thanks for sharing with us sweetie. I loved it. 🙂 *big hugs*

  19. What a beautiful post ad…I must admit to having to blink fast when I was reading about the role reversal now…
    *sending big hugs for you and your mom*

  20. That made me cry..of course I wish your Mom a very happy 88th birthday and many more….but what came through more than anything was your deep and caring love for your Mother…I could actually feel it.
    I am 74 this year and live far from my three daughters. My greatest wish is that they would contact me more than they do…yes , we all have Skype so there is no excuse. Maybe I am getting a bit doddery in old age and they have such busy lives…but ..if they were to write something like that which you have written about your Mother ..I would be so proud and so happy

    • Thanks for your lovely comment MissW. I hope your daughters will find time to contact you more often. I believe it’s even more important to feel wanted as we grow older. Hugs to you. 🙂

  21. Happy birthday to your mother on her 88th birthday. My husband’s mother is also this age. It looks like you made her feel as special as she is. 🙂

  22. Hi AD,
    Happy birthday to you mom on her 88th Birthday! Glad you all had a wonderful weekend and I certainly wish her many more years to spend with you and all the loved ones.

    Take care and have a good week

  23. It was so nice of you to bring your mom to stay with you for the weekend for her birthday. It looks like you and your mom had very lovely time together.

  24. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! what a lovely loving time you had with her and I envy you that you still have her in your life – my Mom went far too early. But, there is always a reason WHY, right?!

  25. What a warm and moving post! I felt so touch by reading your story and pictures!
    Yes, truly! Is a blessed gift by having such a gentle and long age mom.
    Thanks for the great post! 🙂

  26. what a wonderful post… my Mom is 89 now and getting her a round town is quite comical.. she normally grabs a trolley and anyone who gets in her way merely gets bumped… we just follow apologizing to everyone…

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