Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mama's 60th (And First) Birthday Party

As promised, here are a few pictures from my mother's 60th surprise birthday party on Sunday, October 7th.


There's Mama with my brother Jeff behind her on the left side of the picture.

Mama's sister Juanita is behind her and that is my cousin Rhonda on the far right. She's the one who was born on the same exact day that I was born. And that's Rhonda's little girl Andrea peaking over my mother's shoulder.


Mama looks so happy in these pictures.


When we were driving home at the end of the party, she told me something that shocked me.


We were chatting about the party and about how her sister Geneva's house was filled with family and friends and people who loved her. And then, very calmly she said...

"You know, that was the first birthday party I've ever had."

I couldn't believe it. Her parents never threw her a birthday party. My father never threw her a birthday party. And somehow, in my 37 years as her son, I had never thrown her a birthday party.

I was ashamed that I didn't know that. Ashamed that I had never taken the time to throw her a birthday party and show her how much I love her.

But Mama wasn't blaming me for never having thrown her a party or for not knowing she had never had a party. She was thrilled with the party and was lifted out of the depression that I could tell she had been sitting in for quite some time. As she said...

"You always know exactly what I need, when I need it."

This may have been my mother's first birthday party in her 60 years on this planet, but it will most definitely not be her last.

****

My favorite moment that day came when the party guests had left and it was just Mama, me and Geneva with her family.

Now, understand that my extended family does indeed know that I'm gay, but it is never discussed, never brought up in conversation. As Mama says about Southerners and their ability to deny nearly everything, "If we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist, now does it?"

That said, we were about to leave to share a meal at a local Chinese restaurant and Geneva had some fruit from a fruit tray she bought for the party that she wanted my mother to take home with her.

Geneva didn't want the fruit to go bad in the car while we were at the restaurant, so she thought it might be better to keep the fruit in her refrigerator while we were out. What she said was...

"You wanna just leave the fruit here?"

I looked at Mama and said, "What did she call me?"

Without missing a beat, Mama said, "She called you a fruit."

We smiled and laughed but NOBODY ELSE thought it was funny. They ignored what we had just said. And that made me and Mama laugh even harder.

25 comments:

Bob said...

My mom turned 60 on Saturday, and sadly I couldn't be there with her to celebrate. And she worked that entire weekend, too (She's an ER nurse.)

Your mother looks so happy. You're a good son.

Lance Noe said...

I would have said, " no, i have to go, i'm the designated driver!!"

Stephen Rader said...

Bob - I'm sure that your mother knew that you wanted to be with her and knows that you love her very much. Your mother and my mother are working hard at 60. Hell, I don't work hard at 37!!!!

Mama does look happy, doesn't she? Thank you for saying I'm a good son. I try.

Lance - Damn! Where are you to provide me with snappy comments when I need you?!?!?! :)

Blockade Boy said...

Your mom sounds like a sweet gal. And you're a sweet son for throwing her that party!

Also: "If we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist, now does it?"

Haw! I was raised in Kansas but both my folks are from Georgia, and that line explains so much about how my family operates. Thank you!

Stephen Rader said...

Blockade Boy - Thank you for your kind words. Both parents from Georgia, huh? Yes, you are INTIMATELY familiar with "If we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist." DEFINITELY! :)

Aaron said...

"If we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist" also happens in Illinois. I can tell you that from experience. In fact, it seems to be a catch-all policy for all families!

My mom just turned 60 three months ago and I was so glad to be able to visit and spend time with her...it really does so much spiritual good!

Michael said...

We loves your mama!

And thanks for the very kind words on my blog.

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - It DOES do a lot of spiritual good! Definitely!!! I wouldn't have missed Mama's 60th for anything in the world!

Michael - You're very welcome! I love you and my Mama DEFINITELY loves you!!

Frances Gumm said...

Your Mama is one of a kind , such a lady and funny to boot, Thank goodness you did throw her a B-day party , she'll always remember that day . And you'll always laugh and smile when you think of your Auntie's fruit comment and the moment you and your Mama were on top of your comedy act !

Now the statement : If we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist, now does it?" Well thru my life My mother , myself and even my daughter have married gay men and believe me it's not just happening in the south !! I grew up in Northern Minnesota and the Elephants in the room were just as big up north, needless to say we moved alot . I guess I said it anyway!

Love to your Sweet Mama and you!

Stephen Rader said...

Frances Gumm - I have arrived!!! The sensational Ms. Judy Garland is reading my blog!!!! Thank you for your kind words and for letting me know that "denial" is rampant throughout this great nation of ours!!!

Thank you for the comment!!

Alex said...

"You always know what I need when I need it."

That should resonate with you for the rest of your life, Stephen. My God. What a great, great gift she gave you.

And.....you have her smile.

Stephen Rader said...

Alex - Thank you so much. Yes, I am indeed blessed with her love, what she said to me that day and her smile. I'm a very lucky man.

RAD Homo said...

Ok... this story almost made me cry--in a good way...it hits close to home in many ways---My family is the same-Dont ask dont tell--though its commom knowledge that Im a fruit amd my hunny of 10 years is part of everything and they love him so much...Your mama is soooo cute..I love it!!! I am close to my mom too--shes my bud....

Dana said...

What kind of fruit are you?

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

That is just awesome! I'm glad your Mom had a good bithday.

Tina said...

I'd like to give your mom a present, just for producing some hot-lookin' sons. Not every woman can do that, you know.

^_^
Tina

Jackie said...

This is precious. I love the look on your moms face in the first pic when she is opening her present. Just think of the memories made that day. This is what it's ALL about.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Stephen- that was so sweet. Your Mama looks great. Thanks for posting these, you made me smile. so when can i get you out to PS to visit? Take your Mama!

Stephen Rader said...

Rad Homo - Thank you! It's wonderful when parents truly become friends, isn't it?

Dana - Whatever he wants to eat - - that's the kind of fruit I am. :)

Whim - She did. It was a beautiful day!

Tina - I will DEFINITELY pass that info on to her! And thank you!!! I needed to hear that today.

Jackie - Amen! Homes and cars and "things" can be taken from us, but those memories are our's forever.

Rick - If I visted Palm Springs, I would probably never LEAVE Palm Springs. Especially if I visited in the winter. You know remember Chicago in January! It ain't pretty!!!

mrpeenee said...

This is the most charming post I've read. How lucky your mother is to have you.

Stephen Rader said...

mrpeenee - Thank you so much. I am equally lucky to have my mother - - luckier, in fact.

And I love your blog!!! We Southern gay men need to stick together! :)

Palm Springs Savant said...

Well Stephen- you need to let me know some long weekend in the middle of this winter when you are available to come visit PS. I have airline miles galore to use and would LOVE to have you come stay with us.

Stephen Rader said...

Rick - You are too kind!! Let me check my rehearsal / performance schedule. If I can find a free weekend between projects this winter, I just might take you up on that offer. Be careful wishing for Rader to visit PS - - it just might happen!!! :)

Valyna said...

She looks so happy :) I'm glad she finally got to have a birthday party - you're a good boy to your mama.
xox

Stephen Rader said...

Valyna - Thank you! I am so blessed to have her as my friend. I love her so much!