Friday, June 13, 2014

Club 86

The hero of my life, the one and only Joanie K., celebrates her 86th birthday today.  I presume that she is spending her day soaking up the rays on the beach in Jupiter, Florida, which she has called home for what is quickly approaching twenty years now.  She might very well be still a bit fatigued from all of the running around she did during her "Jersey Jaunt" last week.  Wearing her "Super Grandma" cape she joined us on Thursday evening for Jess and Rob's rehearsal dinner before going to Princeton on Friday morning to watch Jill and Joe's younger daughter Julia graduate from high school (Go J!) and then pinballing back down to Point Pleasant Beach on Friday evening to smile as she watched Jess and Rob exchange their wedding vows on the sands of Bradshaw's Beach. 

My mother is now - and has always been - the bravest person I have ever known.  Today she is eighty-six.  Slightly more than thirty-three years ago she was fifty-two going on fifty-three when Dad died, taking with him 80% of their combined household income and leaving her in whatever is worse than dire straits financially - and with three of their six children still to get through college.  Then, for good measure, slightly less than two years after Dad died, she was diagnosed with breast cancer against which she battled hard and - to this point in the program - to a stalemate.  Its entry into her life however opened her up for a myriad of other health issues - some cancer-related and some not - against which she has waged war ever since. 

Mom is the toughest old Irish broad I know.  She is braver every day than I have likely ever been on my bravest of days.   She is the best teacher I have ever had.  She remains to this day a source of advice and dispenser of wisdom.  She remains to this day what she has been for me each and every day of my life - an inspiration to do better and to be better than I might otherwise be. 

Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you very much.  Wish big.  Wish very, very big.

-AK

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