Happy Birthday To You

Today, my mother would have been 101 years old.  I remember her birthday every year and on her birthday I always say a short prayer thanking her for being my mom.  I still miss her and think about her all the time.  She was a great person and my best friend.  She died in 1988.  I can’t believe she has been gone for over 26 years.

I do not want this post to be sad.  Because I am not sad.  Yes, I do miss her.  She was my best friend.  I talked to her or was with her every day, especially the last 5 years of her life.  So when she died, there was a big void in my life.  But life marches on.  The hurt and pain have lessened and today I want to share some fond memories of her.

Since this is my weight loss blog, my memories  are going to evolve around food and exercise.

My mom was very small and lean.  She was 5 foot 2 and maintained her weight at 114 pounds for most of her life.   I think she was at one time 5 foot 3 but as she aged her body shrank.  She was definitely not a curvy woman.  More of a  straight up and down kind of person.  A boyish figure.

We lived in Evanston, Illinois – home to Northwestern University.  Our house was three blocks from the University and Lake Michigan.  We had a great downtown filled with stores for shopping such as Marshall Fields, Lyttons, Weiboldts, Rothschilds, Wally Reids and the 5 and Dime.  Those were great stores back in the day.  My mom and I spent many hours together, shopping for that special item at many of those stores.  My mom loved to shop.  I would always tire of it because of all the walking.  But my mom was like the Eveready Bunny.  She never slowed down.

So how did my mom stay so thin?  She never dieted.  NEVER!   Now looking back on it she never snacked, ate very little and was extremely active.  My mom loved her lawn. She cut the grass, watered the grass, raked and weeded.  She cleaned the house and did the laundry.  She was moving constantly.  Looking back on it now, there were only a few times during the day that I actually saw my mom sit.

And my mom ate very little.  For breakfast she would have one slice of bread with butter and a cup of coffee.  She would also have orange juice.  A VERY, VERY SMALL GLASS.  I am sure it was no more than 4 ounces.  On Sunday’s, she would treat herself with a very small piece of coffee cake. For lunch, it was usually a half a sandwich.  Before her dinner, my parents would snack on a very small bowl of nuts or a very small bowl of potato chips.  AND THEY NEVER REFILLED THE BOWL!  Her drink of choice was a vodka martini.   Only one.  For dinner she would have whatever my dad cooked which was always a meat, vegetable and a salad.  Sometimes a potato or a piece of French Bread were included.    My mom also loved chocolate.  She would have ONE chocolate as a treat in the evening.

So that is why my mom was thin.  She ate little and moved a lot.  Don’t we as children learn from example?  Obviously not.  I sure missed that example.  My mom very rarely splurged.  And when she did splurge, her splurge was definitely different than my splurge.  She was a great baker.  I loved her chocolate chip cookies.   My mom would splurge and eat one. I would splurge and eat several.   I remember her fudge during the holidays.  My mom would splurge and eat one.  I would splurge and eat – let’s just say – definitely more than one.  Her pies and cakes were to die for.  Again, she would  splurge on a very small slice of that pie or cake and my splurge would be a huge piece that filled and overflowed my plate.

Evanston had a great transportation system.  There was the “L” and the bus.  Both were within a block from our house.  My family had one car so we all got very familiar with public transportation.  I used the public transportation.  I did not like walking.  My mom very rarely used the car or public transportation.  She walked.  She walked downtown,  walked to work, walked to church and walked to the movies.  She walked everywhere and sometimes for miles.  The only time I remember her in the car is when she was driving me somewhere.

My mom loved to dance.  She and my dad danced beautifully together.  Again, a trait I did not pick up on.  She would dance the Charelston to make us laugh.  And laugh we did.  She played with us.  I remember our baseball games in the back yard.  She was so quick and athletic.  She was a swimmer in her youth.  But for some reason I never picked up on her athleticism.  It just was not for me.  My mom tried to encourage me to be active.  But I just was not into sports or activity.

My mom was very supportive of me throughout my life.  She never criticized me for being overweight.  She supported me with every diet I tried.  When I was dieting in high school she always provided me with wholesome food.  Fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  She always made sure I would have a Weight Watcher breakfast ready for me to eat in high school.  And she always made my lunch.  When I was in college, she was my biggest weight loss cheerleader.  Again,  she always encouraged me.   

She never saw me at my heaviest but I know she would not have said anything.  She only would have been supportive of me.  My mom always loved me for who I was.  Not who I would become.  My mom was always proud of me – fat or thin.  She did not let my weight define me.  She always let me know that I had a lot of great qualities.  I always felt loved by her.  I have wonderful memories of my mother and will forever be grateful for them.    I am thankful for all that she gave me.

Happy Birthday Mom.