90 is the degree of every angle in a rectangle. The Kansas City Royals came within 90 feet of tying the score in the bottom of the ninth inning in the last game of the World Series. A score of 90 gets you an A in many academic classes. 90 is a highway in the southern part of the United States. Most importantly, my mother is 90 years old today.
When we moved her to town three years ago, I didn’t expect we’d get to celebrate her 90th. She seemed too frail. She’s still here, though, and even using a walker instead of a wheelchair. She’s one of those tiny old ladies, struggling to maintain a weight that’s at least as high as her age. But she’s always been tough at the core, and she comes from sturdy stock. She has an older brother who is still living in his own home. Her own mother lived to be 94, and two of her aunts also survived more than nine decades.
Mom made it through a childhood marked by hunger and hard labor during the Great Depression, maintained the fortitude to raise six children, despite the immense grief of losing two, worked long hours at whatever she needed to do to keep us fed, clothed, housed and healthy. She’s picked cotton, worked as a welder, run a dairy farm, managed a cafe, assembled suitcases in a luggage factory, had a home daycare, and always kept her house clean (something I can’t manage.) She’s made the “final move of my life” four different times over the past 15 years and has adapted every time.
We’d planned a big party for her, slated for yesterday, but the weather had other ideas, laying a coat of ice on everything. A handful of us still made it to the nursing home yesterday for cake. Through the miracles of Internet and Skype, even more loved ones were included. We’ll try again for a big gathering with extended family, maybe after spring is officially here. Meanwhile, every day I still have my mother feels like a bonus. I’ll try to remember to celebrate every one of them.