Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

Happy Birthday, Mom

Filed in Memoir, Stories, voices :: January 10, 2011

Sitting across the table from my mother today, celebrating her 69th birthday, I remembered this picture of her, at 16, with her mother, Annie, then 41, standing next to a gardenia bush that was still blooming when I was a child.

At 16, my mother wanted to be a doctor.   She became a devoted mother and homemaker.

She and my father have been married for forty-eight years, and they still hold hands.

She is a proper lady who can’t resist a whoopie cushion.

A funky dancer and a fine plumber.

A reader of Dante and People.

A lover of God, her grandchildren, and a dog almost as spoiled as mine.

A layer of parquet floors and receiver of manicures.

A matriarch and euphemistic swearer: sugar, fudge, dad-gum-it, and what in the Sam Hill is going on?

A polite but fiercely independent patient after her recent spinal surgery.

We are two complicated women, and our relationship has not always been as easy as it is today.

But I know, Mom, that since the moment you knew that I grew in your belly, you have believed in me and loved me, just because I was “Angela.”

Happy Birthday.

Filed in Memoir, Stories, voices


  1. Jerri

    I’d forgotten about that photo of Jeanie & Mom. They look so much alike there – and so happy! Your mom is a very special lady, and I think you captured her essence very well!

  2. Jennifer Hurst

    Your comments are revealing and personal, yet not intrusive or unkind. It reveals your love and appreciation. I’ve re-read this post a few times. Thank you.

  3. wholly jeanne

    Well, my guess is that this fine tribute is the best birthday present you’ve ever given your mother. It’s obviously heartfelt, not high-falutin’ or written from a position of obligation or posted for personal gain. Your words are every bit as beautiful as the two women in the photo, the two women who are your female lineage. (And hey, I can see the resemblance. In more ways than one.) Lovely. Absolutely lovely.