Sylvia was born on this day in 1929. I won’t make you do the math. She turns 92 today. Go, Mom!
My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
– Proverbs 1:8-9
Sylvia is a daughter, mother, wife, sister, friend, caregiver, and so much more, and I have learned much about life from her.
My mom and dad, Roger, ministered to the poor for years. You see, Mom volunteered, but Dad did the driving. Through her work with the St. Vincent DePaul, they both ensured household upon household received food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. During my dad’s illness, they drew in my husband, brother, and friends to help with deliveries. No one asked them to help. It was my parent’s diligence under duress that made others want to help. Mom also served as a Lay Eucharistic Minister, delivering Communion to shut-ins. Lord, thank you for using them to demonstrate the gift of service.
Mom eventually expanded her role at St. Vincent DePaul. She was able to help people year-round, find them furniture, rent payments, and direct them to much-needed resources. She served as the Women’s Club Treasurer for many years. On top of that, Mom took it upon herself to work off our tuition by running hot dog sales (another fundraiser) in our school lunchroom. Lord, thank you for using mom to demonstrate servant leadership.
My parents and their friends worked countless hours at church rummage sales and other fundraisers serving our church and school. At 92, many of her friends have passed away, but there are three dear ones still in contact today. They served alongside my parents in those fundraisers and remain friends today, fifty years later and counting. Lord, thank you for giving her the gift of friendship.
I have a sister, Michell, who has Down Syndrome. Michelle started going to school at three years old, and I saw my mom cry many times as the school bus pulled away. How difficult it must have been to put this tiny child on that big yellow bus alone. So, mom began riding that bus, visiting the school often. She had all of us decorating cupcakes, making paper hearts, or stuffing valentines into envelopes for Michelle’s classmates.
There were countless hours of Uno, matching, counting, and alphabet games. Michelle participated in the Special Olympics for several years, and Mom and Dad were there. When she graduated, Mom made sure Michelle had something enriching to do by taking her to events for special needs adults. She was always loved and well cared for at home and. Mom continued taking care of Michelle on her own until she was 88. At 56, Michelle now lives with my family. Lord, thank you for showing us what caregiving is all about.
We had a wonderful childhood. We were outdoors a lot, played games, went camping, and Dad took us to work or fishing with him sometimes on Saturday mornings. We visited family often, slept on the porch on hot summer nights, and picked dandelions for pennies. We didn’t have a lawn maintenance company, but we did have dandelions. So, Mom paid my brother and me a penny apiece to rid the lawn of them. It made for a green lawn, kept us busy for a little while, and gave us the incentive to work. Lord, thank you for showing us what it is to be a family.
During Dad’s long illness, he spent many days in hospitals, and Mom made sure she was there to spend the days with him. Getting there was no small feat because Mom never learned to drive a car. There was no need. We never had enough money for two cars. We usually walked or took the bus wherever we had to go, but there was the occasional cab on rainy days.
With Michelle in tow, Mom took the bus or a taxi (Uber wasn’t a thing yet) to see Dad almost every day. They were together for just over 50 years and spoke French to each other in whispers at the end. Mom released Dad from the fight and into the arms of Jesus. We learned much about love from our parents. Lord, thank you for gifting us with this picture of loving devotion in marriage.
Mom continues to teach us today with lessons in humility by letting others help her, friendship by showing genuine interest and concern for others, devotion to family and friends through prayer, and loving others through her smile every day.
Lord, thank you for the gift of Sylvia.
Happy Birthday, Mom.