On celebrating the big milestones and other things

Mom with her twin brother Jimmy, age 6

June 8, 2012 – My mother celebrated her 80th birthday this week.

That’s quite a remarkable accomplishment considering she’s the first in her family to reach that milestone, and she’s been in and out of the hospital over the past year with one thing after another. Damn cigarettes. Smoking was the biggest cause of her problems, for sure.

Thanks to the help of some wonderful doctors, nurses and rehab specialists, she’s back to her normal self, she’s quit smoking and people often call her a miracle. We’ll celebrate the miracle and all of her accomplishments on Sunday with family and friends at what promises to be the gala event of the season.

Life’s milestones provide an opportunity for us to pause and look back on the defining moments of our lives. They also give us cause to celebrate. Here’s a brief interview with my mother to commemorate this grand occasion.

Jane: Do you think it’s ever okay to lie?
Mom: It’s always better to tell the truth, but I think it’s okay to lie a little to spare someone’s feelings.

Jane: How important do you think it is to look good?
Mom: Very.

Jane: Is there any experience that you have not had that you regret not having?
Mom: As a kid I always wanted to try ice skating, but we didn’t have the money.

Jane: What is your all-time favorite song?
Mom: How Important Can it Be by Joni James

Jane: What is your all-time favorite movie?
 Mom: I suppose it would be Gone With the Wind

Jane: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Mom: Share it with my family. I know you expect me to say something about casinos, but I honestly don’t think I would be that much fun to gamble anymore if I had a lot of money.

Jane: As a kid, what was your prized possession?
Mom: I had a pickle pin I wore every day. I loved it.

Jane: And as an adult?
Mom: My claddagh ring. It came from Ireland. Of course, I don’t have it anymore. I gave it to Carly (granddaughter) because she used to love wearing it when she was a little girl.

Jane: What did you get in trouble for when you were a kid?
Mom: I was a good kid who did what I was told to do. But I do remember one time I got in trouble for drinking the last bit of milk that my sister Mary was saving for her strawberries.

Jane: What was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Mom: I remember my English teacher reading my book report out loud, and saying that it really wasn’t well written, it just offered a different slant on the story. That embarrassed me.

Jane: What is the thing you wanted most that you haven’t gotten?
Mom: I have everything I want. When I was a kid, though, I always wanted new clothes. We were poor and as the youngest, I only wore hand me downs. My sister Elizabeth bought me a sweater with a reindeer on it once and I was so happy that it was new. Unfortunately, it made me breakout and I couldn’t wear it.

Jane: What advice do you have to offer to the younger generation?
Mom: Don’t smoke!

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