You see…

My mother loved the card she got from my brother. It says,  Dalai Lama’s Birthday Party, “Wow, Nothing! Just what I wanted!”

Yesterday was my mother’s 85th birthday. She wanted to have lunch at the Olive Garden, so that’s what we did. At first I thought, “Couldn’t you choose a better restaurant than that for your 85th?” but it didn’t surprise me, and I didn’t say anything.

My brother and his family came up and we all went out to lunch, and then went back to her house, set her up with a Facebook account (on her new iPad!), and Amanda (granddaughter) set her up with iTunes.

I sat there as Amanda asked my mother what kind of music she liked and when she said, “Bob Dylan” I couldn’t believe it. I thought she was mistaken, and must be thinking about another singer, but when Amanda pulled up “Like a Rolling Stone” and my mother said that indeed it was him that she liked, I was taken aback. I didn’t know this about her. She noticed my surprise, and looked at me like, “See, miss smarty-pants, you don’t know everything about me!” …and she was right. How many other things have I missed about her?

It can be so easy to see people in the same old way; to expect them to act like they did in the past, and when they do (even when we don’t like it) there is some satisfaction in being right, some security in expecting nothing to change. But who needs this kind of security? It is such a small box…no room for delight, or happy surprises.

Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go. A simply abundant world awaits“.  Sarah Breathnach


28 thoughts on “You see…

  1. Hi Mary, I’m up early, checking email and getting ready for work. I just want to say Happy Birthday to your mom and that I’m going into this abundant day with great expectations. Anything is possible!

    • We are both up early today Barbara! and I’ll pass your wishes along to my mom…wishing you happy surprises today!

  2. Well, Happy Belated Birthday to your Mom. She looks lovely!
    And thank you to her and you for a lovely reminder to keep looking for surorises in life. We are all complex systems and the more we appreciate that the richer our lives and interactions can be.
    Thank you Mary, and Mary’s Mom
    From Fran

  3. Mary – What a blessing to be celebrating your mother’s 85th birthday! It’s pretty neat to think of her openness and ability to use all of this new technology. And I think it’s very exciting to be thinking of what new things you can learn about her. You are both very fortunate to be looking forward to “happy surprises”. Belated birthday blessings to your mom.

  4. Hi Mary, such a lovely reminder to be in the “perfect present”. I often saw my mom through the eyes of a child, or the eyes of a teenager, or a young adult, but when I was able to let that go, I saw HER, and she was special. She continued to give me gifts of herself right up to the end. Happy birthday to your mom. I hope you get to enjoy her for many years!!!!XXO

  5. Happy birthday, Mary’s mom!! I remember when I found a baseball signed by an entire team to my mom in the early 1940s. When I asked her about it, she told me flat out, “You don’t need to know everything about me,” and she giggled. We had such a laugh about that! It’s one of my favorite memories of my mom!

    I hope we never lose that element of surprise in our lives! Thanks, Mary!

  6. Sweet sweet post! Happy Birthday Mary’s Mom! Like Sandy said above, so perfectly, sometimes we look at our parents (or anyone close to us) through so many different filters and lenses that we can still miss important or meaningful things about them…I think from this point forward, I will pay closer attention to which lense I am using and stay open to the delights and surprises! A birthday lesson for me from Mary and her Mom! Thank you!

  7. Dear Mary, I love the photo of your mom and the quote. I also love it when we are surprised into delight by someone whose individuality and depth reminds us to stay open to change and not hold on to fixed perceptions. Teachers come in so many forms don’t they? When we least expect it, they help us let go and step into the divine. Happy Birthday Mary’s Mom!

  8. I loved the paragraph about expect something good to happen to you today no matter what occurred yesterday…what a beautiful thought! One I am going to carry with me today! Thank you so much for posting this!

  9. Happy Birthday, Mary’s Mom. Between your picture and your enjoyment of Bob Dylan, well…I just think you ROCK!

    Mary, once again your post just nails it for me. My mom is 95 and every bit as up-to-date and with it as anyone can be. But I do tend to listen to her at times with a jaded ear, hearing what my inner adolescent tells me to hear. We had one of those moments the other night and she really blasted me. Said she was tired of people treating her like she was too old to think anymore.

    And here’s your post today! What a timely underscore of this situation. And so, today I sally forth with great resolve to open my perceptions and let my mom be who she is. If nothing else, SHE will be surprised when she realizes I’m truly listening to her! (She’ll probably check to see if I have temperature).

  10. Mary, I have a sneaky feeling that your mother is an imp ! What she has in her still, is life. She is still looking forward and that to me amounts to hope, to an interest in life that so many people tend to loose as they get older and settle into grumpydum. And I realize that age does not have a licence on being a grump. I love how your mom is continually surprising you but what I enjoy even more is how you acknowledge your surprises and mark them down for us to hear about. Your relationship with her is like a flower still blooming and unfolding,, each petal holding a little gem of surprise and truth for you both. It’s wonderful and thanks for sharing that moment with us all here.
    SandyP in Canada

  11. SandyP, I really like what you just said about relationships still unfolding and blooming. We are all getting older, each and every day, but we never have to stagnate – we can continue to unfold, even if it’s with a slower step, a bit more caution, but our wonder at life and its gifts? That never has to grow old. That’s what I see in your Mom’s eyes, Mary, that twinkle that yes! it’s still ‘all good’! Happy Birthday Mary’s Mama! xoxox

  12. Happy Birthday to your Mom, Mary…and…today is my 66th Birthday and I want to go to Chili’s & my daughter suggests “The Dish”…so I feel very in sync with your post & your Mom…only your Mom is almost 2 decades older than me. I just hope that I look that good at her age, in fact, I hope I get to live that long!!

  13. I want to wish your mother a very happy birthday, in part because mine is no longer with me.

    People are like onions, and some take longer to peel than others. It took fifty years for me to learn some of the most astonishing things about my mother.

  14. Way to go, MOM…..keep that daughter of yours on her toes!! Salad and Breadstcks @ Olive Garden…..great choice! Happy Birthday to you…..and love that card….it’s great!!

  15. Thoughtfully said thank you for sharing your insight. I have been reinventing myself this year and keeping yourself and others from boxing you back in is worth the effort.

  16. Happy birthday, Mary’s mom. You rock! I too resist “the box,” and love to surprise others with that as well as discovering those hidden parts in people I think I know so well. Sure keeps things interesting.

  17. Happy Birthday to your Mom, Mary, and may she have many more in which to continue to surprise you by learning things about her!!!
    love, Marian

  18. I have the pleasure of running into your mom now and then about town. What a beautiful, caring – unassuming person she is! She always has a smile, a warm hello & a bit of family news to share:) Funny, as tomorrow is my husband’s birthday, we too were at Olive Garden yesterday for a family celebration! It’s one of the grandkid’s fav’s:) Please tell your mom HAPPY BIRTHDAY!:)

  19. Seems that lots of loving family events are happening for all of you – both internally and externally. I like that they are acknowledged and appreciated. I’d like to add my good wishes to your mom for a very Happy Birthday. She’s got me thinking about an IPad (or an IPod Touch). It’s good to keep challenging ourselves and stepping out of those old comfort zones. Continued blessings to all.

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