On July 26th, 1947 my grandmother gave birth to her third child. A long-limbed little girl with brown hair, brown eyes, they called her Susan Elizabeth.
In the 1950’s Susan loved Little Lulu comics, her dog Penny, wearing dungarees and playing with the kids in suburban Philadelphia neighborhood. A dyslexic in a family of intellectuals, she was a shining star when it came to sports.
In the 1960’s she learned to drive, graduated from high school, went to Europe and Mexico, lost her father to a heart attack, graduated in film from Temple, got engaged twice, wore miniskirts in winter and saw her mother remarry.
In the 1970’s she met and married my father (all in a six week period), changed her name to Leana, moved to San Francisco, moved to LA, moved to Santa Cruz, opened a toy store, cooked meals for HeadStart, moved to Chicago, taught montessori school, moved (back) to LA, worked in television, and had me.
In the 1980’s she had my sister and spent most of that decade just trying to make sure my sister stayed in one piece. She struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome and still took amazing care of my sister and me. She made Halloween costumes and honey popcorn balls for school birthdays. She helped my father start a business and moved our family to Portland, OR.
In the 1990’s she watched her mother lose her mind to a stroke. She traveled to Europe and Hawaii. She helped me survive middle and high school. She sent us to sleep away camp in the summers, took our dog Toasty (who was suffering from cancer) to be put to sleep and sent me off to college. She started to write poetry and began meditating daily.
In the first five years of 21st century, my mother is a triumph. She writes, she prays, she walks, she heals (while still struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome), she grows, she learns and she loves. She appreciates each moment of life and connects with the universe with each beat of her heart.
I am blessed to be her daughter.
Happy birthday mommy.