You just didn’t mess with my mother.

She was one of the most brilliant women I’ve ever known. She knew the answers to all of my problems without needing to look it up on google. She commanded respect, in a loving sort of way and if you tried to give her anything but your best, she could smell that you were holding back!

As a teenager I can remember being embarrassed by my mother’s confidence, especially when she was complaining about her food to a waitress. Both my dad and I would try to calm her down, but nothing could hold her back.  She expected her food to be hot when it arrived and if it didn’t taste good, it was going to be replaced! She demanded excellent service and you know what? She got it.

The butcher in the meat department of our local grocery store, used to hide when he saw my mom approaching.  There was no way she was going to pay for spare ribs if they continued to hide the tough ones underneath the good cuts. She would make them undo the packages until she found one that she liked!

As a cashier, you hoped that you gave my mother the correct change or you were going to have a battle on your hands, and probably have to close the cash, count it and rectify the mistake right on the spot. And lord help the manager, if the item being purchased, scanned in at a higher price. Oh boy, it was hard to be with my mother at times. I would cringe during these experiences but I learned so much from observing her in action.

My mother served on various committees and this would take her away from us in the evenings sometimes. Watching her leave the house all dressed up, is one of my strongest memories. While she was gone, I would write notes and leave them on her pillow, telling her how much I loved her.

I used to love playing in her closet. I would put on her dresses, shoes and her pearls and parade around the house, pretending to be her.

The truth is I will never be as strong as my mom. She died in 2007, a day that was scratched into my mind forever with a rusty nail. Even in her dying she remained tough right up until the last breath.

I hear her whispering to me sometimes when I feel beaten down and ready to give up. She keeps me going.

Her pearls are now one of my most treasured possession. I don’t wear them often but when I do, I swear I can feel her holding me in a warm hug.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Love, Beth.