In New Wine Wednesday

By Alyssa Bormes

 

Image by giselaatje from Pixabay

 

It was 10:30ish at night, and my phone rang.

I answered, “Hi Mom.”

In her very distinctive low voice she said, “Well, happy birthday! I almost forgot.”

A little stunned and with a little laugh, “It’s not my birthday.”

Thinking me crazy, “Yes, it is!”

Now giggling, “No, it isn’t.”

In her complete “mom” voice, “Well of course it is; I was there; I ought to know.”

“Mom, it’s not my birthday.”

“It is too. Today’s the 31st.”

Now I could hardly contain myself, “Mom, my birthday is the 31st of August.”

“Well, I know that. That’s why I’m calling.” Now she was giggling – probably because I had forgotten my own birthday.

Full of laughter now, “Mom, I promise you it’s not my birthday.”

“Your birthday is August 31st!”

“I know, but it’s not August.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it isn’t.”

We were hysterically laughing by now, and she said, “It is too, I’m looking at my calendar right now.”

“Mom, you have to be looking at the wrong month!”

“No, I’m not. I just turned the page.”

I was crying with laughter. “Mom, you have to be on the wrong page.”

She said, “No, I’m not,” but I could hear pages turning.

Then she started laughing even harder – so much so that I could hardly understand her. Eventually, I understood that in her week-by-week calendar the last few days of July were on the page with the 1st of August – and the top of the page is was labeled “August.” She had just been writing things in July, but when she turned the page seeing both August and the 31st, my birthday immediately jumped to her mind.

Finally, as our laughter subsided, she said, “Oh, well then I’m early.”

Somehow – this just started the laughter again.

All sorts of holy men and women have advice on laughter – here are a few:

“Serve the Lord with laughter.” Padre Pio

“Try to laugh a lot, because life is funny, and everybody today is too serious. The only tragedy in the world, my friend, is sin.” Mother Angelica

“It is requisite for the human mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.” St. Thomas Aquinas

“Where joylessness reigns, where humor dies, the spirit of Jesus Christ is assuredly absent.” Pope Benedict XVI

And – one more – from St. Ignatius of Loyola on his feast day: “Laugh and grow strong.”

The crazy phone call with my mom was one of my favorite birthday greetings ever. My absentmindedness seems to have been a gift from her. And – you know what else she gave me? Her laugh. She didn’t just give me her laugh that night at 10:30ish, but she gave me her laugh for my whole life. And it is a great gift.

About the author:

Alyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit, and the W.I.N.E blog, is the host of a weekly show,“Christian Witnesses in the Church,” on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at alyssabormes.com.

Showing 26 comments
  • Gwen
    Reply

    Love this, Alyssa! Although my Mom passed away in 2003, I can still hear her laugh as well. She was naturally comical and called me every day (and I called her, too) sometimes more than once. How I miss her. God rest her soul. Thank you, again, for bringing the memory of my mother’s laugh back to me through your own story and words on the page.

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Oh -thank you Gwen! My mother died in 2015 – but her laughter stays with me. What a beautiful gift from our moms!

  • Karen Jendro
    Reply

    I can so relate to this story. My mom is 97.7 yrs young and she us at the journey in her life that if she “thinks” something then it is truth. Like you said your momma gave you the gift of a forever funny story. Thank you.

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Thank you Karen – I would love to meet your mom!

      • Molly
        Reply

        Thank you for the reminder to laugh! I love the picture you selected!!! I can almost here your mothers joyful laughter through her. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. So simple and filled with fruit. I will definitely make it my goal today to bring laughter into my relationships.

        • Alyssa Bormes
          Reply

          Molly – thank you for mentioning the picture – it gives me a chance to mention Barbara who does all the background work for the blog posts. She is amazing – she selected the picture – and today when I saw it – it reminded me of my own mom’s laugh! Well done Barbara!
          Also – thank you for mentioning the fruit of laughter – it is a gift – and it very often easily multiplies!

          • Brenda St John

            For a minute there, I thought I forgot your birthday! Love that Karol. She was a gift to so many. She became my mom too, in a special way. And I also miss her laughter. She was a joyful person.

          • Alyssa Bormes

            I’m really trying to respond to Brenda- but the computer won’t let me – so one more right here. Brenda is my step-sister – her dad and my mom had both lost there spouses – and eventually found each other and were married! Brenda and I SUPER became sisters on two trips – the pilgrimage to Rome with Jim and Karol – our parents – which was the trip right before mom died. Then in 2016 Brenda and I walked the Camino. Everyone knew the sisters – even though she is short and blond – and I’m tall and have black hair. We had a great time! So glad that Mom meant so much to you – your dad means everything to all of us! What a gift that they got married 20 some years ago!

      • Julie Orr
        Reply

        Brought back memories of laughing with my mother and mother-in-law! Thank you for sharing your dear mother’s story!

        • Alyssa Bormes
          Reply

          I’m praying for a great laugh for all of us today – thank you Julie!

  • Carol
    Reply

    Fabulous! This could have been a conversation between my mother and me (lucky for me!). She has been gone for twenty-one years but you brought her into my room this morning. And it gets better – today is my daughter’s birthday! Laughing through the tears! Thanks so much for this gift!

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Carol – thank you – my mom was Karol! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  • Sarah Christmyer
    Reply

    I love this!!! What a beautiful memory. And happy early birthday!

  • Alyssa Bormes
    Reply

    Thanks Sarah! Today is my funny birthday – full of laughter!

  • Ruth
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Alyssa. You and your mother made my day

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Your welcome Ruth – my mom, Karol June, always made my day – so glad she could make your day today!

  • Monica Chase
    Reply

    Laughter… one of the very best sounds in the world!—especially the genuine laughter of our loved ones. Thank you for sharing your story and the quotes—wonderful!

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Thank you Monica! I love laughing – let’s all do it a little more – and together!

  • Kitty Cleveland Rogers
    Reply

    This is fabulous, Alyssa, and such a great reminder of the need for joy and levity! I love your laugh, and I can just imagine the mutual hilarity. What a wonderful legacy she’s given you. xoxo Kitty

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Ah – Kitty – you are the best! I can think of many times laughing with you – and so many women of WINE – it’s wonderful!

  • Sarah Garcia
    Reply

    This was great. Soooo my Mom.
    Mom passed away last year.
    My birthday is November 30th she would call me, every year, on October 30th.

    Just our our joke after a few years. ♥️

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Sarah – that is fantastic! Love that your mom did the same thing! My mom died 4 years ago – so looking forward, God willing, to laughing with her for all eternity! Maybe today our mothers are laughing together!

  • Sharon
    Reply

    Needed to hear this today!

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Sharon – you are super in my prayers! Let’s laugh together soon!

  • Loretta Cole
    Reply

    Alyssa thank you it made me laugh and think of my Mom. Who I miss laughing with.
    God bless

    • Alyssa Bormes
      Reply

      Loretta – thank you for your comment – there is something really wonderful about moms! Perhaps our mothers are laughing together today.

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