Today is my mother’s 80th birthday. She was waitressing as she does every Monday- Thursday at my sister’s restaurant. She was lavished with love and flowers. She was reminded how much she matters. She deserves every bit of it.When I was growing up we had very little. My mother though, as a true Irishwoman does, had a fighting spirit that made her keep making more out of what she had. She made many of our clothes, cooked all of our meals, made every Christmas, birthday and Easter happen. She is still our Thanksgiving house. But back then, it was harder as she tried to make do with the little she had for the then six of us. Later when my youngest sister was born, my parents divorced and she went to waitress full time because the money was immediate. She also got her real estate license but that is a tough business when you don’t have any money. So she remained a waitress with a very keen mind. I remember her coming home from work at 8:30p exhausted and still making snickerdoodles for a bake sale at school. I remember her staying up all night finishing a skirt for me, and when I said I didn’t think it would be done she simply said, “when have I not finished something on time?” I am sure on those days she waited for us to go to school and went to sleep. At least I hope she did.Even at a young age I remember feeling bad for my mother. I knew she was given a very big load to carry. A farmers daughter, she worked hard from the start. I was number 6 so I watched as my siblings grew up and went off. I never considered what that really meant to her. Now as an adult and a mother myself, I see what a gift she was also given. She is adored (there is no better word) by all of her children and some others that were gathered along the way. She is beloved by her grandchildren who call her Grandmamemo and who she spoils each holiday with special cookies just for them (and us!) She is respected immensely especially by all of those who have watched her live her life with dignity and grace…most of the time.Eighty makes me nervous because I cannot imagine a world where she isn’t present and touchable. But, my eldest child keeps reminding me that not only is she healthy as an ox, she is also part of a family known for their longevity. Her own mother died at 105. She is right! My mother isn’t going anywhere soon as far as we can tell. Her spunk and humor will keep her going for a long time to come. Thanks be to God!Happy Birthday MOM!