Happy Birthday Mom.

March 12, 2014

in Family, Mom

mom boatToday would have been my Mom’s 74th birthday.

I normally write about things I have learned from my Mom, but I think I decided on last years post that I had kind of worn out my welcome with all the parental advice. So this year I figured I’d tell you a little bit about my Mom. If you knew her personally this post will make sense because she probably bought you something at some point in time.


My Mom had the biggest heart you could ever imagine, and she was generous to a fault. We didn’t often argue, but when we did it was about her over exuberant generosity. My Mom loved to buy people things. Any things. It gave her great joy. It took me a long time to figure that out, and one of my regrets is that I held her back from that.

And when I say “held her back” what that really means is that I told her no and she found a way to do it anyway.

Once we got our kids my Mom’s grandmotherly instincts kicked into high gear. Knowing that our kids came from so little made her want to over compensate and buy them anything they could ever want. In theory, that sounds like a really nice thing to do, but we wanted our kids to appreciate the grandparents (and extended family) for who they are, not for what they could buy.

My Mom and I went round and round about this.

On one occasion she wanted to take them to Chuck E. Cheese when we came down for a visit. I just wanted them to spend time with her and my Dad. I tried to explain that she didn’t need to buy them something new every time they came for a visit or take them any place special, all she needed to do was to spend time with them. They could play games, do puzzles, draw or read a book together.


When we showed up she had about 16 bags from Target filled with all of the above. Her argument was that she had heard me BUT she didn’t have any of that in the house so she had to go “pick up” a few things to keep them entertained.

Mom 1 – Sandi 0

Cheryl and I decided long ago that we were not going to incentivize our kids by giving them money for their report cards. We both felt that getting good grades was their responsibility. My Mom felt very strongly they should be rewarded. We caved in and let her do her thing. It started out she would pay $5 for every A or O. Then it went to $5 for every A and every O. Then they got $10 for every + (because my Mom though pluses were awesome!) They could get an O+ or an S+, it really didn’t matter as long as there was a + on the paper. We would take the money and make the kids put it in their bank accounts but once my Mom got wind of that she decided to double the money, that way they could put half the money in the bank (to keep us happy) and then the other half they could spend on whatever they wanted (that made her happy.) That was all well and good, but then things got really crazy. I can’t even begin to tell you what the report card rules ended up being. I doubt my Mom could either because she made them up as she went along. It was like Report Card Slot Machine Bingo. If you have three O’s lined up you got a bonus. If the teacher left a comment you got a bonus. If you had more pluses than minuses, you got a double bonus. If your grades where in alphabetical order you got $20. If you got all A’s in your core classes you got $200. If you got an A+ in PE you got $50…

The list went on and on.

And she would pay all of this in one dollar bills because she thought it was more exciting for the kids to get a big stack of money. For some reason she would put Andrew’s money in a wicker duck. I’m not sure how or why that tradition got started but the duck would get passed back and forth during each report card. She would give it to him filled with report card money and he would return it with a thank you card inside.

It was their little thing and a memory he will never forget.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you and miss you.


1 Laurel March 12, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Beautiful! That’s it! Oh and I will keep that funky orange and brown dress she insisted on buying me at Kohl’s, forever because it reminds me of her and the short but fun time I was able to experience with you and her! I’m sure she’s enjoying many cruises now:) Hugs!

2 Sandi March 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Lola- Yes! That was a fun day! And when you have worn out that dress you can make a pillow or something out of it to keep the memory going!

3 Sandi March 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Lola- True! I don’t need to run far, just fast and sneaky! But right now I’d settle for a brisk walk and not feeling like shit after it!

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