Happy 70th, Mom!


Guess who’s back?!

Heellloooo? Anyone in here?

<cough, cough>

Jesus. Dusty as hell in here. Spiders everywhere. Looks like no one’s been here for years.

(shamefully looks at you)

My bad. Can we still be friends? You know, with benefits, and everything? Like the benefits where you read this and tell me it’s funny whether or not it really is cause you know how insecure I can be? Yes?

You: No.

I’m just gonna pretend like you said yes, and proceed like everything is normal. Good?

Sooooo, how ya been?
That’s interesting.
Want to talk about dead moms?
SWEET! I’ve got one – and today she’d be 70 years old!

I’m trying to think of the best way of celebrating her birthday, letting her know how much I miss her, how important she was to me, and how much cooler it’d be if she was still alive.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?


Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know I’ve done it before, but:
A – I’m rusty (possibly less creative) and,
B – It seemed to work last time – so here we go!


<Poof> And like that(!) I was asleep.

Suddenly: <Fart noise, belch noise, high pitched laughter.>

Me: (Trying not to wake up.) Mom – it’s not even funny. It never was. Who buys a kids, toy-spider on wheels, that farts and burps when you pull it? Let me rephrase. What adult buys that toy – for themselves, to wake up their 20 something year-old child?

Mom: MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! So glad you’re awake. I was about to start vacuuming.

Me: Oh, man – it’s you! I mean, ghost you. Or is it, dream you? Do you have a preference?

Mom: No. Just “mom” is ok.

Me: Alright – let’s get down to business. I drank a lot of “water” before I went to bed, so I’ll probably have to pee way before I want to end this conversation. What’s it like up there? You seen BG Hook? What about Paula Erickson? Heard they’re cloud dancing with you.

Mom: Oh yeah – standing champagne party — 5:00. Lots of people up here. Mostly your father’s friends. They keep asking about him. “When’s Bill getting here?” “He looks like he should be here already.”

Me: I know – he does look old. But ol Lavarus can’t seem to let go. I thought he was a goner about 2 years ago. Back surgery. Spinal fluid leakage. Meningitis. He looked like Hell. I even wrote him a death letter.

Mom: ?

Me: You know – the, “Thanks for being my dad/ Seems like we could lose you at any second/ You might actually be dead while I’m writing this,” kind of letter.

Mom: Right. How’d that go over?

Me: Super awkward. You know, cause he’s still alive, and all…

Mom: Well, I can’t wait to see him. He must have some unfinished business.


Me: Yeah – not really. I think he’s just trying to time it with the stock market to maximize our inheritance.

Mom: You’re awful.

Me: Oh, and Michael and I have new kids. Michael has Wren, and I have Grace.

Mom: Wren?

Me: Yeah! Remember when you were dying? You said you’d come back as a wren and sing to us. Remember?

Mom: No. I had brain cancer. Dummy.

Me: Oh… Well, let’s not tell that to Michael. Grace is a cool name though – right?

Mom: Beautiful. Do they look like you.


Me: Mine does. I hope you’re not insinuating anything.

Mom: You are so weird.

Me: No, but seriously, kids are great. I usually like them. Sometimes I yell at them. Like usually in the morning, and at night when I see them. But it’s cool. We like each other. Marie even went out of town for 5 days. Had ’em all to myself. Didn’t lose a single one.

Mom: You should be proud.

Me: I am. I raised ’em right! They even made me pancakes on Father’s Day!

Mom: Adorable!

Me: Best part – the fire alarms that woke me up at 6:15 to let me know they were done. 2nd best part – Lucy made them from scratch!


Me: Where did you learn that abbreviation? Don’t answer. But, yeah – from scratch. I mean, they weren’t “good” or “shaped right” but they were edible. Grace ate half a bowl of uncooked batter, which is pretty weird, but hey – she’s likes what she likes.

Mom: I wish I was there.

Me: Me too.
But enough about me – You’re 70!!! Happy Funking Birthday Mom!!! Guess what?

Mom: What?

Me: I might have gotten something for you for your birthday!

Mom: Do tell!!!

Me: So I dropped the dog off at the emergency vet last night – some mix of pancreatitis, possible cancer, incessant barfing, and general misery. He even started eating his foot. I can’t be sure – but I showed him your picture before I left tonight. Is dog-heaven near dead-mom heaven?

Mom: Yes. Same place. But I already have a dog, so no thanks.


Me: Are you serious? I’m sad as F over this, and I’ve been deflecting through humor for a long time to prepare for his inevitable end.

Mom: Yes, I am kidding. You weren’t always so gullible. What happened to you?

Me: You are too much. Well, a lot any way.
Awe hell — you’re just the right amount of everything. Except cancer. Went a little over-board with that one, wouldn’t you say?

Mom: (Laughing) You always make me laugh. That’s why you’re my favorite.

Me: I KNEW IT!!!

Mom: It’s a tie, you arrogant little….

Me: Awww mom. Hey, guess what?

Mom: No.

Me: OK – so, we’re going to Maine this summer! First time since the last time. Remember when we put Gigi and Baba’s ashes in the river that feeds out to the ocean? And Baba drifted off and Gigi stayed put. We all laughed while you and Aunt Pam and Uncle Donny cried? Good times.

Mom: You remember when you were just tall enough to rest your penis on the toilet lid, and the top came slapping down – <WHAP!> You cried, and we laughed. The best times.

Me: Aaaannnd, that’s why I love you the most, ever, of all time. I wish we could celebrate in reality, instead of virtuality – but take what you can get. This has been fun. Should we do it again?

Mom: There’s always my death day, 12/31. Nothin else to do on a night like that, so why not?

Me: Sold. I love you mom.

Mom: I love you, too.

Me: Hey mom – one last thing. Remember in 4th grade when you thought I might be too cool to say “I love you” in front of people, but you knew I still wanted to? And you told me that I could squeeze your hand twice to say “love you” in secret? And you’d squeeze back 3 times to say “love you too”?

Mom: I do.

<Squeez, Squeez>

<Squeez, Squeez, Squeez>

Happy Birthday.


37 (?) years later.

About The Big Avocado

A bag of chips and then some.
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9 Responses to Happy 70th, Mom!

  1. Mikie says:


  2. Chris says:

    You’re both still the best.

  3. Danny Frye says:

    Great piece Steven! We all miss her so much. She was the light of so many of our friend’s lives.

  4. Anna Cotton says:

    It is funny but I’m also crying and going to call my mom and hug her extra tight. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Jessica says:

    Oh Steve… I’ve missed your updates. The laughing and crying at the same time confuses me a little but I love it. Happy Birthday to your mom!

  6. goodtogrow says:

    That made me cry. And laugh. Thanks Stephen. I miss your Mom, too. I can’t wait to see all you Foxes next weekend. It’s been too long. Love, Liza

  7. Kellyn says:

    I hope you keep writing. Your blogs should be published. They very eloquently convey the many emotions that comprise grief, and makes the reader feel them as well. Please give my best to Marie and your family!

  8. Alison Townley says:

    Sigh. Very sweet, funny, sad and good. the benefit of my friendship is that I don’t lie to
    You. 😘

  9. Lois Schneider says:

    Laughed and cried and cried some more. Well said Steve. Miss Karen.

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