Sunday Gratitude: Mom Here and Now–and Then, too.

Nana Owl, Cumuruxatiba, Brazil, 2011. Yes, one owlet DOES have seaweed on his head.

There are many things that the pandemic has taught me, that I either didn’t know or had forgotten. The first is that I really like where I live and appreciate the woods and trees more than even two years ago, second, that it is now inpossible to live without Netflix and Jeff Bezos, and most importantly by far, I love my family and being with them. Even my brother who makes me more than a little crazy. Yes, you can forward this to him, mom.

Yesterday my mom and dad arrived from Illinois–they drove 15 hours to get here. I won’t say too much about them as they are the world’s most intensely private people. Tomorrow is my mom’s 80th birthday. 80 years. She was born the year that FDR started his third term, and the US entered World War II, to a Dutch Calvinist farming family in South Holland, Illinois. She is the eldest of four siblings–when her own dad died when she was 13, she became the second mom to her brothers and sister. So she had plenty of practice by the time my brother and I arrived. She was the very best mom growing up. Do not bother trying to compete; I win. My childhood was, in a word, delicious.

Mom is the smartest person I know, and the reason I write well (if I do say so myself). She did not succeed in making my grammar perfect, but one can only be so large a chip off the old block. She encouraged my adventures, both through books and through travel, from the earliest age. She also has saved me many a time–I don’t know what I would have done without her when one of the Owlets spent ten weeks in the NICU, with his twin brother at home.

My luck in having her as my mom, and having her still with me does not escape me. Not everyone is so fortunate. My gratitude today: my Mom. Happy early birthday, Nana Owl.

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