My mother’s birthday is fast approaching.  I think of her often and wonder how she did it all, when my brother and I were small as an military wife in foreign countries without any outside  help. No family to call to babysit when she needed a break. My mom never took a spa day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But she just did it.  Day in, day out. And now, at almost 69 years old with cognitive deficits, she takes care of my immobile father, without complaining. I help them out as much as I can, but she takes the brunt of the caregiving.

I think some people are more natural caregivers than others. Mom definitely seems to be one of those chosen ones. She took care of her dying mother as a teenager then took care of her brothers and father after her mom died because “that’s just the way things were back then”.  As a teenager, when she told me that I thought that was absurd.  Shouldn’t the father be the one to take care of the household when the mother dies, I questioned her?  She’d tell me, “things were different back then”.

As I sit here in my mid-forties, I don’t know whether to feel extremely grateful or completely incapable and inept because I struggle some days to take care of my own little household! Of course, our circumstances are different and times have changed.

Point is, this month when mom blows out the candles on her birthday cake, I will not only be celebrating her time here on Earth, but also what a wonderful, selfless human being she has been to so many people in her life.  And that is, what I call an angel on Earth.

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