Paige Maddison’s Birthday is November 19th. Find out why.

I’m sitting at my computer gazing outside at the beautiful 100-year-old trees that line our backyard, much like a fence. Today is a sunny day, the fog has lifted, and blue skies have appeared. It is a bittersweet week for me. My birthday’s on Friday, however, it was my Mom’s birthday, the day before mine. Margaret Mary Jane Bice died 10 years ago, this year. It’s hard to believe how fast time flies. I miss her every day. I celebrate her life each birthday, privately, remembering the beautiful Mom she was. This year, I decided to share with all of you some of her sage advice. If you would like to read her pearls of wisdom…please do, read on.

Pictured here with Mom. Isn't she pretty? Still missed by your daughters: Lynn, Cindy and Lee. I was 18 years old.

I am 18 years old in this picture with Mom. Isn’t she pretty? Still missed by your daughters: Lynn, Cindy, and Lee, spouses, and all of your grandchildren.

First of all a little known fact: Paige Maddison’s birthday is November 19th, chosen because it was our Mom’s birthday.

1/ Lose the weight Lee Anne before you grow older. Don’t be like me. Thankfully, I had gained a lot of weight while I was pregnant, 23 years ago, which protected my baby, son, and coauthor, J.R. Matheson. I had alloimmunethrombocytopenia which generally means my body should not have been able to deliver a baby. It took me years to lose the weight and it’s still ongoing. But I am healthy, happy, and the most active I’ve been in my 54, soon to be 55, years of age. Thanks Mom for your sage advice.

2/ Get along! so you don’t lose the closeness with those you love. We all have our differences of opinion, especially when growing up with our siblings, and family, or friends. In my youth, I played competitive tennis and if you’ve ever played a sport like this, you’ll understand that it takes drive, passion, and sometimes anger to win the match. I was testy in my teens for a lot of reasons. Thank you Mom for emphasizing this to me – it’s important to be tolerant, compassionate, understanding, and loving towards others.

3/ I watched as Mom overcame many of her fears, by facing them head on. She was never a camper and not comfortable sleeping outdoors, in a tent, with a sleeping bag between her and the groundsheet. What animals might be encountered, after all? Yet my husband and I took my parents to the Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend. Mom was a trooper and she even said she enjoyed it. Mom had a fear of the water. She couldn’t swim, yet she agreed to be picked up in an inflated Zodiac, boated to our sailboat, and she climbed up the ladder while the waves were pushing our boat onto its side. Mom sat down, relaxed to have a day’s sail. This I could not believe, as I had watched Mom accidentally pushed into a pool once, and she sank straight to the bottom. My dad jumped in and saved her. Face your fears head on! It’s empowering.

4/ When hosting a party, it’s important to put on your best and make your guests feel welcomed. Thanks to Mom we’ve hosted many dinners, get-togethers, and parties that have been successful. Many great ideas are born from socializing. If you hadn’t shown me the way Mom, I wouldn’t have a clue how to do this.

5/ Mom taught me pride of ownership. She often redecorated our home in simple, non-expensive, ways. By painting a wall, or fireplace, the whole room looked fresh. By rearranging ornaments or paintings/pictures, what is old is new again. By lighting candles, the room looked softened. What a wonderful and fantastic interior decorator.

6/ Mom was a clothing professional. I’m not a ‘shopper’ per se, but Mom worked in several higher end women’s clothing stores. Mom would put aside maybe 10 outfits, that I would burst into the store, try on, and buy the top two. I worked as a Manager in a busy corporation, so it would be on my lunch which was a half hour. And she would say, Lee Anne, never buy at the first sale, or second, wait until the third sale, and that’s nearer to the store’s cost. Thank you Mom for this very important tip that has helped me many times over.

7/ Lastly, and this one took me a long time to get…stand up for yourself. Mom once told me that I was often misunderstood, and insisted that I stand up for myself. But instead, I argued that people will think what they want, regardless of what you do or say. Even if they’re wrong. But, now and again, when someone repeats something to me about me, that’s totally off the rails, I will look them in the eyes and say, “That’s not what I meant, or, you must have misunderstood me. This is what I meant…”  People use their own filters to judge others, and their filter, may have nothing at all to do with how you live your life. But it’s their interpretation and it’s the way they judge others and the world at large…not using all of the facts but the illusion they live with, live in. Funny, I grew up believing we aren’t the ones who get to judge each other. Capital H…He does.

Thank you Mom for all of your life lessons. You are our Rockstar. And I am happier, stronger, and loving because of you. May you, forever, rest in peace. I’ll miss you again this birthday. Much love, xo

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