The day after April Fool’s Day is an important one in my family – it is the one day that not a one of us should forget or ever forgets.
And with good reason – it is Donna Geraldine Madison Holland’s birthday. That is Momma to me, Donna, Glen and Tracey, Nana to Charles, James, Carole, Joel, Jessica and Bailey, Aunt Gerry to Erin, Pat, Kevin and John and sister to Lynn and Anna Lee.
Oh, and of course, she is sweetheart to Daddy.
Born on April 2, 1935, which will make her (whispering) 81 years of age this year, Gerry Holland could be described in one word – indescribable. There are not one word alone that could pinpoint the dynamic, bold, personable, loving, analytical, overthinking, imaginative, creative, nurturing, etc. etc., yadda, yadda person that my momma is.
Ask anyone that knows her.
Being the baby, I have spent more time with my parents over the last several years than my other siblings. I have seen the ins and outs and the behind the scenes escapades and adventures and inner-workings that make my mother and father tick. Even now, with my mom and dad being in Georgia and me in east Texas I can pretty much tell you what they are doing. Though at times, things that they do are a bit surprising, the folks do tend to stick to a routine.
That very routine of their lives has been rock solid even during the chaos we have endured. I call it the foundation which keeps us – their off spring steady.
I credit both my parents for the Christian upbringing that I received. My siblings and I were blessed to have parents who made us work, who taught us right from wrong, who disciplined us, who gave us opportunities to be independent and become the strong people we are.
My mom and I are friends. I think our friendship grew in the last several years – especially when I was battling the first initial cancer diagnosis, the thyroid disease and when she got hurt. We laugh. We analyze. We solve the world’s problems. We cry. We fuss.
But she never gives up on me.
Which is pretty cool because there have been times that I have given up on myself – even recently. Mom said something to me the other day that made me smile. She said she was proud of me for something, but then she said, “But it doesn’t matter if I am or not – because it is your life and decisions, and I am just here to support whatever you do, no matter how I feel about it. You are my daughter and I love you.”
She is not going to remember that conversation as much as I will, because it was at a pivotal point of somethings I was doing, and those words were what pushed my self-confidence level up a little higher and guided me into making the decisions I did.
Mom may not always realize it, or know what is going on with us. That is normal with adult children and their parents, right? But somehow, she always says the right thing.
We were talking the other day about my dog. Mom loves my dog almost as much as I do. She will start talking to him on the phone and sometimes, he will bark back at her. That is our thing. I don’t talk much to anyone else about Toby like I do my mom. Why? Because she gets it – she gets why Toby is so important to me. It was funny, I said, “I know that sounds stupid.” Mom said, “No it doesn’t. I understand.”
Yeah, my mom is cool like that.
What a lot of you don’t know is that in 1999, I almost lost my mom. A criminal hit my mom over the head with a brick eight times – doing some major damage to her brain and skull. The first 72 hours after the incident, none of us knew what was going to happen or how she would be. We are blessed. It took a little while of rehabbing but she came home. She had to relearn a few things, but Mom was with us.
I remember the first time I saw her drive after the incident. I was at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. They had come to see me for parents’ weekend. I stood outside my apartment with my mouth gaping wide, and tears coming down my face as she got in the driver’s side, flipped down her sunglasses, waved and told Daddy to buckle his seatbelt.
Yeah, my mom is indescribable.
And today, April 2, is her birthday.
Happy birthday to you, Momma, Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear Momma, Happy Birthday to you!
(And here’s a woof and lick from the Tobster.)
(Becky Holland/2016/TCM INK)