Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Happy Birthday, Vera DeFord Rau
Picking the defining trait of my mother daunts me. Could it be her generosity? She is, without doubt the most generous person I know. The quintessential example would be the time she took the whole family—22? of us—to Punta Cana for a Club Med vacation. It took place in 1992, and to this day, we relive the memories.
Yet, her love extends beyond her financial generosity. If any of us needed help, she’d give it, regardless of her personal situation. When cancer struck me, she drove the four hundred miles up her, took care of me for weeks, bought me clothes and yard furniture and brought me roses every day. She does the same for each of her six children.
Her devotion to her family and friends is unparalleled. As I write these words my mind says the phrase sounds cliché. But it’s not when it comes to my mother. She is easy going, gives in to other people’s desires, wishes to please above all things. But don’t mess with her family. We WILL celebrate Christmas together. When I make my summer trek to Long Island, we WILL have a get together. She’s happiest surrounded by her children (despite their ages—and I’m aged).
Adventure intrigues her. She’s scuba dived with my family, traveled to Russia and Egypt and Turkey. She’s seen Europe—both alone and with family.
And her art work is beautiful. Whether in oil, pastels or watercolor, my mother knows art. We spent hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art studying the masters. Our homes are decorated with her “cast offs” which intrigue friends who see them.
She’s been married three times and widowed twice. Sometimes her husbands created difficulties hard to bear. However, she never speaks ill of any. She understands human nature, sees the good through the bad and loves unconditionally.
Today, July 27, she turns 80. I can’t imagine life without her, so she better last at least another twenty years. Happy birthday, Mom.