It's Father's Day 2011 - one very special moment in time for our Dads. And I want to be sure to salute my dear Pop, my father-in-law, and of course, my son's Daddy, my husband Kerry.
I love you all, gentlemen. Which is why I hope you'll forgive me for dedicating today's column to - me Mum.
You see, it's a very milestone birthday for my mother Arleen today. And while I don't want to reveal her age, let's just say it rhymes with meventy.
In honor of my incredibly amazing Mother's big day, I thought I'd tip my hat to her by not talking for once.
OK, I know, first of all, that's a near impossibility for me.
Secondly, it's extremely difficult for me NOT to tell you how this woman is a true angel, role model and perfect example of unconditional, selfless love to my sister, brother and I. Truth be told, it's a regular occurrence in my house for my husband to pose this question: Why can't you be more like your mother?
Anyway, I thought it might be refreshing for you all, and for her, to hear some other folks talk about what a remarkable and extraordinary person she is. So, piggybacking on my sister's idea to try to have at least 70 people send Mom birthday wishes, I put a call out to family members and friends.
"Want to say something nice to or about Arleen in my column? Please let me know." Did they ever.
For instance, my pal Christine Ruggieri of Warren had this to say:
"Your mother is to be commended for delivering three wonderful children who are a gift to so many of us but I disagree with publishing her age. Isn't age secret and sacred after we reach 30? I believe 70 is the new 50. So, here's hoping the following years are filled with more love and laughter!"
She concluded with, "Some people say they will pray for you but she actually does and I know God hears, listens, and smiles."
Another dear pal Liz Holter of Boardman said, "As you know, I call her 'Faux Mom' because she has adopted me as her third daughter. I know she is always there for me no matter what. She is an incredibly special and loving lady! I am lucky to have her in my life."
Me, too, Lizzie.
One of my Mother's closest friends, Mary Kay Baylor of Ashtabula, told me, "Well, I've known your mother since 1st grade at St. Joseph's. She was always a kind person and very, very, smart."
She went on to recall how all the neighborhood kids would gather at my Mom's house (before any of them had a TV!) and play "Clue" noting that Mom "was really smarter than most of us but never lorded it over on us."
"You have every right to be proud of her," said Mary Kay.
Words cannot describe my honor in being her daughter.
Our cousin Carol Mowry of Rough-and-Ready, Calif., said, "She is one of the sweetest, most loving and accepting individuals I have ever known. She should have this special birthday all to herself and not have to share it with all the fathers of the world."
Good one, Carol!
She then told me, "She made me feel like her own blood family when (her first cousin) Ron and I married. She has continued with that love and generosity even though Ron is gone. I appreciate her so much for that because I was so alone. I love you, Arleen!"
Family friend Laura Dean of Jacksonville, Fla., had this to say.
"When my Mom died in 1999, Arleen picked me up at the airport in Youngstown and drove me to my hometown of Conneaut. She was a Godsend. Arleen, I love you and wish I could be there to help celebrate this milestone."
Said another lifelong friend of my Mom's, Yvonne Hunter of Boardman, "Thanks for giving us the opportunity to express our feeling about Arleen. I went to nursing school with her; she was an excellent nurse and very bright. She and your Dad are very special to us. They introduced my husband and me in 1962 and we will be celebrating our 46th anniversary on 9-11-11!"
What more can I add? I love you, Mom, as do all three of your children, all three of your grandchildren, your sons-in-law, and your grand puppies. And hey, so does that nice gentlemen you've been married to for the past almost 48 years.
Why can't I be more like my Mother? Well, she's a pretty tough act to follow. But don't worry, Kerry, I'll never stop trying.
----- Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.