Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Mother's Legacy

The party for my mother's 90th birthday was yesterday. Family members came from as far away as the San Francisco area (and Seattle, of course) to celebrate. My mom was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved here when she was two with her parents and her older brother. Two more siblings -- a brother and then a sister -- were born after they immigrated. Both of her brothers, as well as my dad, have all passed on. But she and her sister continue to be close.

My Scottish grandmother's passport photo, showing my uncle on the left and my mother on the right

At first, when my sisters and I started planning the party, we tried to keep it a secret. But somehow she figured it out. No one spilled the beans, but despite being 90, she is still pretty sharp. Then we were going to surprise her with me showing up. But one day while talking to my oldest sister about the party, she said to her, "When Alison comes for the party..."

So, the one thing that we did manage to surprise her with yesterday was the arrival of a bagpipe player to play "Happy Birthday" to her. I grew up listening to bagpipes, and I know it may be hard to believe, but I find it very beautiful.

My mom on the left, her sister on the right, listening to the bagpiper

Pipers used to lead the Scottish army into battle, in hopes that the sound would frighten the opposing warriors. It probably did.

My mom has a bevy of great-grandchildren, all of them sweet, smart kids. They all call her GG.

(From left to right) Pony Girl, Little Man and Queen of All She Surveys (these three are the only ones who remember me)

Knight in Shining Armor, trying to figure out how to let Barnabas out of his kennel

Oldest Sister and brother-in-law holding Ninja Princess

Cutie-Pie (my brother-in-law's photo)

Peanut (my niece's photo)

I'm still in Massachusetts. I took a picture yesterday of a rose still blooming in my oldest sister's garden.