Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I am typing as fast as I can so I can have this posted before midnight!!! It has been just crazy around here and after posting the give-a-way I ended up at the Emergency Room to pick up Auntie Peggy who had succumbed to the GI bug in a baaad way during the night! After 4 liters of I.V. fluids and some anti-nausea medications they decided she was up to recovering in her own bed. Then in the midst of our latest snow event, I had to pick up Julia, Andrew, and Alyssa from school and bring them back to my house until homework was done! After pushing out a double order of scones and a meatloaf dinner I then had to waken Patrick who had been called back in to work the midnight shift due to the snow!! After dinner was cleared, homework completed, and Patrick safely packed off to work I had to drive Andrew and Alyssa home, swing by my Mom's to drop off her birthday wish (the scones) and then go back home to shovel...I work first thing in the morning...theoretically... Back to the point of the post! February 9, 1928 marks the entry into this world of George and Margaret Sullivan's firstborn daughter! Loretta Anne Sullivan was one of those eldest siblings upon which birth order studies are proven. Combining great intelligence with single minded determination which lead to the kind of legends found in the most revered of novels. This gritty little girl child at the age of 4 heard the parish priest announce the impending school registration date and immediately started badgering her parents to enroll her. Thinking they could end the assault, her parents told her that since she was not yet six she had to get permission from the pastor. The very next Sunday she jumped from her spot on the end of a pew to plant herself in front of the exiting pastor and make her pitch!! Thinking he was avoiding the issue he gave her a conditional yes....she had to bring her first semester report card to the rectory to prove she could keep up with the six year old classmates. Oooooh, you just don't dare this woman to do anything!! She is a classic 'game on' kind of competitor!!!Needless to say she was always two years younger than her classmates right through high school graduation. This would be a picture of her from just after the start of her school career. She claims that her competitive nature was as a result of being the 'different' child in the family. She was the 'bony blond' to her darker and chubbier younger brother and sister. Let's just say there are many of us who dispute her premise...sadly because the competitive gene has been clearly passed down...okay so my family can stop laughing now!!! World War II came to an end and Loretta left her secretarial job to marry and raise a family. Raising a family would be an understatement!!! I remember at one point in high school, during a smart alack phase, counting out how many months my Mom had spent pregnant. Counting the miscarriages and my brother born premature who died at 1 day old, I remember being incredulous that she had spent 10 YEARS of her life at some stage of pregnancy!?!? Then , as if seven of us were not enough, my Mom applied to be a foster parent with our state's DCFS AND Catholic Charities!! 63 more children spent a portion of their young lives under our roof....yeah, 63! Two of those foster children stayed for good by way of adoption. So no need to say anything to her when we decided to pursue that avenue to build our family!! She was there at the airport (it was allowed in those days!!) to welcome both of her Guatemalan granddaughters home and was the first one to embrace them in the family...besides Patrick and I that is. She was also all of the grandchildren's first and best baby sitter!! When Julia was one I had to return to work and my Mom stepped right up! Her strength declines with every passing day these days, but back then she could have a hefty Julia on her hip as she carried a full gallon of milk up the stairs from the car....she was 75!!!! She has always been sure to make every birthday and special occasion for all 13 or her grandchildren!! She has also never been one to let the grandchildren off the hook for remembering her special days...or her children for that matter! So even though the 'party' is tomorrow, we were sure to stop by today with a batch of scones that she had been 'hinting' about wanting for a week now! It gets harder and harder to see how much of a toll that Father Time is exacting on her physical being these days and the shock I feel every time my whip smart Mom 'forgets' one of my daughter's names goes right to the core of my soul. Ma, Mommy, Mom, Aunt Retta, Loretta, Grandma are all titles she has carried while on her mission to carve the bedrock of our family. As I stand here on the solid slab of family that she has made for us I feel a deep apprehension that her mantle must now be passed to my generation. She has set a veeeeery high bar and I cannot say with certainty that anyone of us is ready to step in...as she has always done...with a gritty determination that all will work in the end! Much to our benefit, that overwhelming job can be made bearable by the MANY family members she has raised so very well! Happy 82nd Birthday Mom..and many, many more!!!!!!!
Posted by Spudsnsalsa at 9:28 PM