Today is my mother's 80th birthday! Happy birthday Mom! Happy birthday Mary Fahrenbacher!
To be honest, there were many times during this past decade I wasn't sure she would hit this milestone.
I don't talk a lot about my mom on here. If you have read my About Page, then you already know it was my dad that sat me down before my sophomore year in college and suggested that I change my major to art.
But what to say about my mom? She was raised in a time when woman got married and had families. She did teach elementary school for a bit, and still talks about it fondly, but she loved being a homemaker. She loved it. I don't know about cooking, but she loved decorating. There were many times we would wake up or come home from school and the house would be rearranged. Home decor magazines were always scattered about the house and there are still special copies from years gone by saved in a basket in her living room.
What is my mom like? She is very sweet and very feisty. She will hug you with such tenderness if are sad and will yell at ANYONE that tries to cut down a tree. She loves sweet potatoes and will happily forgo dinner for ice cream. She is an excellent listener and has the emotional intelligence that only a recovering alcohol of 40+ years can have. She would be mad at me for writing that. Not because I told you all she is an alcohol, but because you have to take it one day at a time and she could fall off the wagon any day. She loves to read and enjoys tole painting.
It was my mom that dragged me to pottery studios when I was kid, drove me to my pottery classes, collected all my early work, and told everyone I was a potter (even when I wanted to crawl under a rock). She encouraged me and supported me, even when I wanted to quit being a potter she would just say, "I think you are just having a bad day, maybe you need a nap."
But her 70s have been difficult. She had sepsis. Another time, her brain swelled so much from high blood pressure that she has a seizure, from a condition we later found out is called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) and had to be put into a drug induced coma. My mom has to deal with the hallucinations from numerous UTIs, side effects of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and more. But the worst came two years ago when she was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and low blood salt (hyponatremia) her health issues got really complicated and numerous.
The doctor told my dad and I it was touch and go and she would either pull through or she wouldn't. I remember holding my dad as he cried softly. I sat by her bed, she was really out of it then (in a zone between unconsciousness and sleep) and I told her Joe (my long time partner) and I were thinking about coming back and getting married in her room. I told her it was up to her to pull through, but if she couldn't/didn't want to I would understand, I knew she was tired.
I met Joe for lunch and cried the whole time. I didn't know what to do. I just wanted my mom to be ok. I went home and on the way I called my mom's hospital room to talk to my dad and MY MOM ANSWERED THE PHONE! I was thoroughly confused and she was more lucid than she had been in days! I told her about what Joe and I were talking about and that I was trying to get a hold of my dad. It was the weirdest thing. I still don't know what happened that day.
My mom's recovery took longer though, but she is ok. She uses a walker and is still sharp, but more importantly she will still forgo dinner for dessert.