After the loss of a beloved aunt recently, I was shocked to find out that my mother did not want a wake or a funeral. I was sure that she would want a 100-car-long, traffic-stopping procession through the streets of our town, followed by my brother and I wailing as we try to out casket-dive one another.
Alas, she surprised me.
“You really don’t want a service where people can remember you? What about a eulogy?” I asked.
“If they don’t say it to me while I’m alive, I don’t wanna hear it.”
My mother, if you can’t tell already, is a piece of work.
To be clear, my mom is healthy. She just wanted to make sure I was clear on her plans.
But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized she had a good point. Why not tell her now?
So, here it is: My Love Letter for My Mother on her Birthday.
Peggy Ann Larry DiFazio was born December 29, 1953. She was a superstar athlete who excelled at gymnastics, softball, swimming and horseback riding.
One of my favorite memories of her took place one night at a co-ed softball game. We needed an extra player so our coach asked my mom, in her 50’s at the time, if she would bat for us. Mom’s knees were sore from years of wear and tear, but she put down her 79-ounce Pepsi, grabbed a bat, and limped up to the plate. The outfielders pushed in, underestimating her.
My mom swung at the first pitch and proceeded to BASH it into left-center, and then super bowl shuffled down to first base. The crowd went nuts. It should have been an easy triple, but she got a base hit. They swapped her for another runner and she limped off the field, grabbed her pop, and went home. That’s my mom.
She, like her mother, worked hard all her life.
She, like her father, is a boss.
She, like her sisters, has a loud and hearty laugh.
She knows “a guy” for literally everything.
She enchants children. She will steal your baby and your baby will love it.
She tips nurses.
She has never been drunk.
She loves the oldies and never misses an opportunity to dance.
She went to all of her son’s hockey games and some of her daughter’s.
She has taken care of senior citizens in our town for over 40 years.
Every year, my mom puts on the biggest party in town: The Taste of Melrose Park. The Taste attracts visitors from all over to celebrate the culture and cuisine of our small community. It’s an event that makes us all proud to be from Melrose, and Peggy works hard every year to make sure it’s special.
When we’re watching TV, she ALWAYS knows who the murderer is.
She loved her years at Walther Lutheran High School where she was probably homecoming queen, but never acted like it.
Peggy took care of her father at the end of his life, then she took care of her mother at the end of hers. She takes care of my father. Hell, she’ll take care of you if you need it.
She supports organizations like the Melrose Park Senior Club, the VA, and Amazon Prime.
She is a crack shot. She won a skeet shooting contest on a cruise.
She is ridiculously handy. Peg has many power tools.
She could refinish a dresser, paint a room and re-do the yard all in one day. She power washes everything.
I’m pretty sure she bribed our high school math teacher to pass us.
People call her in the middle of the night to have her talk them through panic attacks.
She calls O’Hare Airport “O’Hara.”
She helps veterans by navigating the complex system to make sure that they receive their benefits. Grown men show up to our house in tears to thank her.
Peg is very proud to be an American.
She gives great Christmas gifts. She bought her 15-year-old daughter a full drum kit that she never learned to play and a guitar that she did.
She likes Fountain Pop, Twizzlers, and going to the doctor.
If you tell her you “like” something she has, she will probably give it to you.
She pulled a drowning man from a lake. She resuscitated him with CPR. He lived.
She left our pet birds out in the rain. She tried to resuscitate them with a blow dryer. They died.
She is kind to strangers. She is the kind of person people call for help.
She worked hard so that her kids could have more opportunities than she did.
She’s my mom and I love her.