Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Mama Hop's Heavenly Birthday

I've always had a minimalist decorating style.  I'm not big on trinkets/knick knacks/tchotchkes.  My home has even been referred to as "sterile" and I'm okay with that.  This spills over to the exterior of our home.  My friends have tried to convince me to paint our front door a fun and funky color but I won't do it.  My neighbors have colorful chairs and planters on their porches.  Ours is bare.  I err on the side of neutral tones and "less is more."  

So when Leanne came home talking about this angel she'd seen at a local garden center, I cringed a little.  She said that since mom is an angel and since Saturday is her birthday, she wanted to buy it for her as a birthday gift.  "Do we really buy birthday gifts for people who have passed away?" I asked.  She insisted that we do, in fact, need to buy a birthday gift for mom.

I somehow convinced myself that it would be a small, flat paver with an angel carved on it and I figured we could probably hide it somewhere in a rock bed and I took her back so that she could show me.

Lo and behold, Leanne walked straight to the largest concrete angel in the display.  This was not an obscure, flat paver, but rather a big, upright carving of an angel with elaborate butterfly wings, holding some sort of a bowl.  I could easily picture it in a 90 year-old lady's garden but for the life of me, I couldn't imagine a way that it would fit in with the aesthetic of my home.

Just like when Merryn tried to burn the church down, I could hear my mom's boisterous laughter from the heavens.

I suggested Leanne find a paver with a nice little quote that reminded her of mom.  She refused.  I pleaded for her to pick one of the smaller, daintier angels.  Her response: "No.  Mom was big.  She needs a BIG angel."  (For the record, Mama Hop was quite petite, but anyone who stands next to Leanne is "big" by comparison).

Then, I glanced at the price tag and almost lost my lunch: $110!  One hundred and ten dollars for an enormous concrete angel to give to a deceased person for her birthday!
 Not knowing where in the heck we were going to put this thing, I conceded, "Okay.  Fine.  Bring it over to the cash register so we can pay for it."  She tried to lift it and made this face:
 Thankfully, the nice man at the garden center wrapped it in burlap and shoved it in the back of my vehicle.  When I got home, the expression on Travis' face basically echoed mine when I first laid eyes on it and he said "That is what she's been talking about all this time?"  I said, "Yep."  He said, "Couldn't she choose something smaller?"  I said, "Apparently not."  So he hauled it around the back of the house, per Leanne's directive.
 She wanted it placed outside her bedroom window so that she could open her blinds and admire it daily.  She showed him exactly what she had in mind and he adjusted it until it met her approval.
 Then, it was time to sing:
My mom shared her birthday with her best friend's husband, Jay, and they always celebrated together.  So Leanne sang to Mom and Jay.  I sent the video to her best friend and he responded, "Your mom is either crying or cussing because you wasted $110.  LOL!"  Truer words have never been spoken.

Then, Leanne knelt down and embraced the angel, whispering words of love to Mama Hop.  In that moment, I knew the angel was worth every penny.
I quickly warned her that purchasing concrete monuments cannot be an ongoing birthday tradition or else my backyard will resemble a cemetery within a decade.  Leanne agreed to planting flowers going forward.

She went inside to admire the view from her room and she seemed rather pleased.
Then, we added one final touch and she grinned from ear to ear...
Happy Birthday, Mama Hop.  
We will continue to celebrate you and the loving memories that you left with us.


  1. Every Christmas Eve my family has a tradition of singing Happy Birthday Baby Jesus to a one foot ceramic baby Jesus from our manger display. Complete with cupcakes and candles. Only one of our eight kids lives at home, our 24 year old baby of the family, and he still continues the tradition with us.

  2. I love how the angel fits BEHIND the box so that just Leanne (& not the neighborhood) can see.

  3. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. So sweet and special! It is worth every penny, and more. To quote a phrase that has been seen too often "it will spark joy" for Leann every day!! And the way you described it, it was smaller than I thought when I saw the photo!!😂

  4. This is beautiful Elizabeth! You handled it all well. I agree with Susan about the perfect location:) So sweet the way you documented this!

  5. It is perfect, your Mom would be so proud!!

  6. You're a good sister! What a perfect birthday tribute for Mama Hop!

  7. This is such a sweet and special story. Mama Hop certainly raised two amazing daughters!

  8. This brought a smile and some tears to us.
    We’ve been wondering how Leanne is doing. This tells us she has adjusted and I’m happy she got this angel for Mama Hop. We miss you Roseann and Leanne! Pamela and Heather

  9. Wow. This is awesome and your husband is a saint :)