A diversion from the usual technology post. Using Evernote I wrote these words for my mom's recent 90th birthday celebration.
Dear Gram, Mom, Aunt Marge, and Marge,
It is hard to put into words what you mean to your family and me. Although you are celebrating 90 years of a full life that is the envy of others, we recognize your life-long devotion to your family – children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. You are generous in so many ways – thoughtful gifts that you purchase, gifts of crafts or baked goods, and donations to church and charities. However, it is your gifts of love and time that are treasured by so many of us, certainly your family. Whether you lend an ear to our trials and tribulations, provide sage advice, or share the secrets of baking, we value the time you spend with us. By the way, how many of us have been have tasted mom's legendary chocolate candies or better yet received them as gifts?
You are a model for others who wish to live life to its fullest. Be it daily crossword puzzles, several games of Bridge each and every week, exchanging e-mail and playing Sudoku on your iMac, reading countless books and magazines, or your insatiable curiosity, we know from you some of the secrets to keeping an active and engaging mind. (It is never possible to tell a story within earshot of mom because you are going to have to repeat it for re-listening. Mom's curiosity and constantly wanting to know everything won't allow it otherwise.)
As usual there are stories, some that we won't be able to retell this afternoon. I was the most angelic and well-behaved of mom's four children so she spanked me little (tongue in cheek). Though I do remember a thrashing with the fly-swatter when at eight years old I tried to start a brush fire in the back yard. I will let the rest of my siblings provide the more entertaining tales.
Because you are so constantly upbeat, it may surprise some to know that in 2 and 1/2 decades you underwent two knee replacement surgeries and three cancer surgeries, the most recent barely two months ago. Your strength, positive outlook on life, and faith helped you met each challenge head on, with relatively little effect on your daily life. In fact you went to Christmas Eve service less than one week after your last knee replacement and were buzzing around with energy and eating a hearty meal the evening of your last cancer surgery!
Mom, thank you for your love, thank you for your generosity, thank you for your courage, thank you for raising and continuing to mentor the four of us, thank you for your inspiration, and thank you for being the greatest mom and gram in the world!
Love your son Joe