Is it just me or does everyone think today is a magical day?
Aileen Mary Terry was born today in 1939. 80 years ago. You might not have heard of her but she’s my mum, the person who loves me more than anyone else in the world does.
As I write, I know exactly what Mama is doing. She has stripped the beds, done breakfast dishes and made toast and vegemite for the dogs.
Pat from Vinnies has probably rung to ask her to fill in on Monday, or Olga has rung about a welcome dinner for new parishioners, maybe she has gone to drop off a key someone needs or pulled in the neighbour’s bins.
Before lunch Mum will have spoken to all her kids, got out the ironing board and thought about having a run through Target.
That’s my mum. She reads a book a week, volunteers at least three days and never leaves the house without lipstick.
When I was a kid she was the mum every other kid wanted. She laughed easily, never got cross and always seemed to love it when we brought extras home for dinner. Because I am a mum, I now know that is not true but she faked it really well.
My siblings and I often talk about Mum’s service. Aileen loves a crisis and you only have to mention something to have it appear on your pillow before bedtime. Undies removed for a morning shower are washed, folded and back in their drawer before you get home from work.
She has always been the same. An exhausting schedule for mere mortals but just the way my mum likes it.
If you can believe it, my dad was exactly the same. They were famous for their work ethic in our small town and some of her busy-ness keeps the dream of them alive, I have no doubt.
Tonight, her three surviving siblings, kids and grandkids will gather from the length and breadth of Australia. We will drink too much and the neighbours will wonder what all the laughing is about.
It won’t be her first birthday cake, because almost every day this week she has been treated to one of those from each of the places she volunteers.
Tomorrow there’ll be a proper party. She’ll jive with her brother Alec in a new outfit bought for her by friends who wanted her to have something nice for the shindig.
I don’t think my mum ever checks the ledger, but her life of kindness, care and determination to ease the path of others has not been in vain.
Happy birthday Aileen Mary you are loved and admired by all who know you. I have always been so proud that you are my mum, but never more than this weekend. Better get that champagne in the fridge.