For my mom on her 60th birthday:
1) You always think of others. Nothing I could plan could compare to the way you have celebrated each of us in incredibly meaningful ways. A six-foot long Subway sandwich in the courtyard of the Grace for my thirteenth birthday comes to mind.
3) You didn’t let me watch rated R movies for many years. (except for Stand by Me … ;)) You protected my childhood and didn’t let me grow up too fast.
4) You love Daddy so well. You always speak well of him, a trait I try to emulate in my own marriage.
5) You’re a great daughter. You are caring and incredibly generous, and I hope to take care of you as well as you cared for Papa John and Grandmommy. I have priceless grandparent memories because of you.
6) You let me explore my interests. You sat through an untold number of dance recitals, piano recitals, and volleyball games (cheering for my teammates when I was sitting the bench).
7) You always treated my friends so well. You were genuinely excited about their lives, and I loved bringing them home to hang out with you too!
8) You are perhaps the most selfless servant I know. You have volunteered to teach Cubbies, Sunday School, and VBS. You never seek to draw attention to yourself but rather serve quietly where there is a need.
9) You are an excellent teacher! You care about the students other teachers write off, and you have a way of making everyone feel so good about themselves. I love hearing your former students say how much you meant to them.
10) You have good taste in music. You helped shape my own tastes as I listened to your old records (James Taylor, Supremes, Beatles).
11) You love animals! You brought in a stray off the street when you were eight(?) months pregnant with me and have loved and cared for a long string of animals ever since.
12) You are passionate about reading. You modeled what it meant to read for fun.
13) When I was in first grade, you commissioned a portrait of me as a gift for Daddy. I love those paintings so much, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of sitting for them.
14) In elementary school, you rewarded me for good citizenship grades, not my academic grades.
15) You taught me to respect leaders and teachers, but you didn’t always blindly take their side. If I was in the wrong, you made me own up to it, but if something was unfair, you stood up for me. (10th grade Spanish book, remember?)
16) Speaking of being in the wrong, you made me confess to your principal after I threw soap in the fishpond at your school. I was terrified of going to the Mr. Stoval’s office (I hadn’t even started school myself), but you made me face my fear and tell him it was me. I learned so much about honesty and responsibility through that experience.
17) You are a morning person. I am absolutely not. However, for many years you modeled what it meant to have a consistent quiet time … in the morning! Talk about inspirational.
18) You chose all my teachers in elementary school but never told me you did (until I was in college, maybe?).
19) You gave me the best present after eleven lonely child years … Joseph Daniel Reed!
20) You coordinate doggy reading days at your school. Kids who struggle with reading find a nonjudgmental listening ear in those pups. How fun are you?
21) You let me volunteer with you in summer school. I learned so much about special needs students those summers and hopefully gained a bit of your compassion.
22) You love Designing Women as much as me!
23) You got us season tickets to the Philharmonic, and you took me (and often a friend) out for Sonic cherry lime slushes afterwards.
24) You made me stick with piano lessons until seventh grade. You once played a duet with me at my recital, not knowing as you walked to the front of the church to join me that your shoulder pad had become dislodged giving you a small hump on your back.
25) You and Daddy read me Bible stories, prayed with me every night, and took me to church.
26) You took me to the Paramount for the first time to see Gone with the Wind and pointed out the moving clouds on the ceiling.
27) You made “take your daughter to work day” a blast. No wonder I ended up becoming a teacher!
28) Almost every Friday night you took me to Hastings to rent movies.
29) You introduced me to the Beaches soundtrack and didn’t laugh in my face when I told you I wanted to be a singer.
30) At the end of each semester, you made my teachers cookies. I’m pretty sure you did this all the way through twelfth grade.
31) You gave me boundaries and “unfair” rules when I was younger so that by the time I was in high school, I didn’t really need them anymore.
32) You shipped me off for two weeks every summer to visit Kaye and Jay.
33) You have a small group that you’ve met with consistently for years. You’ve developed deep friendships because you love your friends so well.
34) You are a fabulous aunt! You have driven an untold number of miles to support your nieces and nephews in sporting events and artistic endeavors.
35) Gingerbread houses! You are the master! You sold them every Christmas season to make extra money (which I’m sure you ended up spending on my Christmas presents), but best of all, each year you gave one to my class. For at least one day I was the most popular girl in school because no one could wait to devour that candied house! As I got older you allowed me to invite a friend over for a gingerbread tutorial.
36) You let me spend a whole summer in DC when I was in high school. You encouraged me to follow the Lord’s direction, even when it meant my leaving for weeks at a time.
37) You took me to see The Princess Bride and Troop Beverly Hills in the theater.
38) You organized my first grade talent show debut … Miss Adams’ Apples! I remember practicing at your school and having the coolest sponge painted apple shirts.
39) You make fruit cups.
40) When I decided to give up sugar for Lent (forgetting that my birthday happened to fall in the Lenten season), you made me a sugar free cheesecake.
41) You took in your grand-cat when we moved to Indonesia. I know Hassan has given y’all all sorts of headaches, but you love him as your own.
42) You gave me good advice and didn’t let me be a “mean girl.” When I complained about my friends (or my perceived lack thereof), you encouraged me to find someone who needed a friend and be a friend to her.
43) You make the best fruit salad (as all of the cousins will attest).
44) You never fought (at least not in front of me) with Daddy. The one time y’all had an argument over a Rook game, I was so shocked I was convinced you were getting divorced. 😉
45) When I won tickets to Don Henley, you flew to Chicago to go with me.
46) You killed Daniel when you were mafia when he simultaneously saved you as the angel.
47) You were a wild child. I love hearing stories of Kaye and Jack’s “cool big sister,” whether it be sneaking out and stuffing your bed with a big stuffed dog or pulling into a ditch to smoke and not get caught. Knowing you now, I still can’t believe you did those things!
48) You’re a great mother-in-law. You have always made David feel so welcomed and loved. You crack him up, too.
49) You are funny! As you have gotten older, you are more prone to speak your mind (kind of like Grandmommy). I can’t imagine the things you’ll say in the next few years …
50) You are one of my best friends. There are times that there is no one I’d rather talk to more than you. You always listen well but also try to help me see things from the other person’s point of view. We don’t have to do much when we’re together. It’s enough to just sit around and talk.
51) You steal my perfume. I love that we have similar tastes in many things and that I can introduce you to things you end up loving (like Andrew Peterson).
52) You watched The Wire for me. I love talking to you about the characters on whatever series we happen to be watching at the moment.
53) You let me take all your West Wing DVDs to Indonesia.
54) You stuff the best Christmas stockings. Besides including a note saying that I was going to be a big sister in July of 1993, you always filled them with the coolest girly gear.
55) You took me to get pink thumbprint cookies when I was a little girl.
56) You gave me my dream wedding. Everything about that day was absolutely perfect. You even took dance classes with Daddy to help him get ready for the father/daughter dance!
57) You talk to strangers. Or I should say, you’ve never met a stranger. You can’t help but be kind to any and everyone you meet.
58) You often took me to the original Taco Bueno. I remember always ordering frijoles and strawberry Fanta. I also remember accidentally using the men’s restroom because I didn’t know the Spanish word for men.
59) You have begun wearing a picture of your granddaughter every day. (Thankfully you drew the line at my cousin’s wedding …)
60) You are the best Gran! You overcame all your flight fears to be here to help me take care of Clementine the first month of her life. She loves you so much. She got quite spoiled by Gran’s early morning day care. 😉