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This year, beginning in the middle of May, I sequestered myself in the spare bedroom at my cousin Tracie’s house in Las Vegas to begin recovering from an injury I inflicted on myself out at Lake Mead at the end of April.

Two months after the injury, exactly to the day, I celebrated my 63rd birthday.

I was still at Tracie’s house.

Still recovering.

So I knew my birthday was going to be an interesting day.

On her way home from work the night before, Tracie had brought me a couple of Mylar balloons with “Happy Birthday” on them, and a package of ice cream cupcakes. We celebrated my birthday with her two toddler-aged foster kids, eating cake and playing with the balloons. (If we ever forget how much fun balloons are, just find a couple of little kids and give them some balloons – it’s an instant reminder of the little things that make us happy.)

The next afternoon, the day of my “real” birthday, we went to Tracie’s daughter-in-law’s baby shower. Ate food. Watched Jessica open baby presents. Nice, low-key, no games. My kind of shower. And guess what! She’s having the baby today, a little girl named Mikayla who’s joining an older brother, Jackson.

Jessica's baby shower
Tracie with her 3 daughters-in-law and me: from L-R – Tara, me, Jessica, Tracie holding a sleepy Talor, Natalie

Like I said, it was an interesting day.

Somewhere around 6:00 in the evening, I decided I wanted to talk to my son.

So I texted him. “Hey you! Call your mom. It’s her birthday.” followed by this weirdo emoticonΒ emoticon

Just after I pressed “Send,” I saw that he had posted on my Facebook page. So I decided to check it out. And before I got more than a sentence or two read, he called.

And since I hadn’t read it yet, he asked me to read it out loud. I have to admit, there were a few times where I choked up and my voice kind of squeaked out but I was so touched by what he wrote that I wanted to share it with all of you. Some of you have already read it because we’re FB friends but many of you have not. I’m one proud mama, and always have been, but this was so unexpected and now I’m sharing with all of you just how cool I think my son is.

To say I’m very glad to have been a part of his Planet Earth plans doesn’t convey just how much I am, and I hope to continue to be a part of his life for a very long time.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

It’s Your Birthday!

Mom – I’m so thankful for you in my life. I know you’ve been traveling and exploring the world a lot, and I don’t call enough, but you need to know that I’m always there by your side. We have, in many ways, grown up together, and a couple of times you have expressed disappointment in the wild environment in which you raised me, and I want you to know from the depth of my heart you need not spend another moment of regret. You have shaped and steered me to where I am – and I’m so thankful.

You told me I could do anything. You never hesitated or held me back from wanting to try anything. From as long as I can remember, you always told me I could do anything. I could create art, or play music, or write software, or save up my money and go to Europe… or whatever I want. I did all those things (and so many more) before I was 16.

You taught me how to explore and create. When we didn’t have money to go to the big attractions, you brought me to the library to show me how to explore a world much bigger than a theme park. We read many many books, and learned about creating crafts out of nothing more than sticks, a marshmallow and some string (true story, I made a bow-and-arrow set from these tools and nothing more). You showed me how to find a universe inside a book.

You introduced me to the beach. Beaches that the rest of the world is envious of. Santa Monica, Oceanside, Harbor Island, Dana Point… dozens more. Only Gidget spent more time on the sand than we did. I swam, played, built amazing fortresses out of sand, and dug holes deep enough that I was sure we would break through to China. We had sandwiches that contained more sand than wich, and roasted hundreds of hotdogs and marshmallows. The beach is in my blood because of you.

You showed me how to blow bubbles. Big bubbles, little bubbles, in our yard, in the house, at the beach, in the park, out the window of the car. There were always bubbles. Beautiful, rainbow filled bubbles that might last only a few seconds… but that was enough, because we could just blow more bubbles. Nick doesn’t understand my fascination with bubbles – but he didn’t grow up with you.

You showed me how to help others. You helped me raise 5 guide dogs for the blind, and always made it a big part of my life to keep in contact with those the dogs were guiding. We frequented the soup kitchens, and the share programs, and any place where someone needed a helping hand. As a volunteer at SMYRC, as a volunteer with project Angel Food in LA, or even at the science museum, I always am looking for how I might share and care for others – this is a goodness that you passed on to me, and I hope to inspire others with.

I kept you in the dark about being gay for so many years, and I’m sorry. I remember when I came out to you how much you regretted not being available for me during those times when I couldn’t talk to anyone in the world. This was my fault for not trusting you (or anyone) with the shame I felt about myself. I wish I had let you in, as I know you would have been (as you always have been) my biggest cheerleader… and help me realize how important it is to be authentically “me”. Over the past 20 years, you have been an advocate, friend and supporter in ever aspect of my life.

I love you dearly, and am so glad I chose you to be my mom.

Happy Birthday from your Son!

(and yes, just as I was finishing this, you sent me a reminder text to call you… I’ll do that too!)

Mark & me in SF

PS. It was also a lot of fun to read the FB comments that others made after he posted this; nice to read what others thought of his birthday celebration tribute to me. Such an interesting end to an interesting birthday. Here’s to another trip around the sun! Wishing you all a fantastic year!

see you on the road




Celebrating 63
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22 thoughts on “Celebrating 63

  • July 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I missed that FB post, that was beautiful Lois. You are such a warm, and amazing person. You’re a great inspiration. All the best,

    • July 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you, Maria! You’re an inspiration to me as well, and I know you’re the kind of mom that one day will receive a letter from your daughter just like this one.

      Big hugs to you!

  • July 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    you are truly blessed

    • July 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      I truly am, Linda. Regardless of the crap that I’ve experienced in my life, I recognize that far more beautiful things have occurred than not; maybe because those are the things I focus on, not the negative ones.

      I wish for you great things, my friend. You deserve them!

      Hugs to you…

  • July 21, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Lois, I missed that FB post also. There aren’t any words I can say that Mark hasn’t already expressed. I think you are wonderful, loving, giving, inspiring and a true leader. I feel blessed to have met you and gotten to know you over the years via your blog posts. Love you lots !

    • July 21, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you, Nancy! It’s been a wonderful part of my life to have met you and to have gotten to know you – isn’t social media great? Just think, not too long ago, we’d still have been strangers to each other, even after meeting briefly as we did!

      Big hugs and lots of love to you!

  • July 21, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Wow! How beautiful and moving. You have every right to be proud of an amazing son. And obviously, he loves, respects and appreciates who you are to him and the world. You are both very blessed.

    Until I read this post and his tribute to you did I realize we have more in common than camping together for a few days in the desert. My son also lives in LA, his youth experiences were similar to your son’s, he’s a self-made successful man approaching 37 in the graphic design/web development field and gay.

    He has written me similar tributes and I know exactly how you feel. How could we be more blessed than we both obviously are or more proud?

    My best wishes for decades more trips around the sun, but you better hurry up, I’m 7 years ahead of you. On second thought, heck no! Take it as slow as you can, it goes by too fast.


    • July 21, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      How incredibly awesome, Ed! Yes, we do share more commonalities… and I’ll bet if we sat down together, we’d find even more.

      My son no longer lives in LA, as neither do I. We moved a lot (all over the west coast) when he was young and finally settled in San Diego so he could finish middle and high school in one place. He now lives in Portland, OR, with his partner of 10 years to whom he’s currently engaged, but his heart resides in Italy and I know one day, he’ll be moving back there – again.

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s always nice to know a fellow traveler.

      And oh by the way, you’ll always be 7 years ahead of me πŸ˜€

  • July 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Dearest Lois, even tho you came into my life at a later stage, even tho we passed in the hallways at MHS, so many years ago…I can’t picture my life without knowing you now! You have enriched my life, so grateful to follow your adventures and so glad we get to see each other every now and then.
    Your son so eloquently put into words his heartfelt feelings, how wonderful to read his words.
    you are truly blessed!

    • July 21, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Debbie! It’s so interesting to me that I now have friends among those of us who passed in the MHS hallways all those years ago. It’s as if we’ve known each other forever, even though we’ve only really connected in the past 5 years. Life is such a trip! I enjoy being your friend and look forward to many more encounters with you (and Denny!) before we leave this planet for good.

      Love and hugs, my friend!

  • July 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    You’re the best, mom!

    • July 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      …and so are you, Mark!

      Being your mom has been a great amazing adventure and I’m looking forward to many more years to rack up many more experiences together.


  • July 22, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    You truly are a blessing Lois! Not only to your son but to those you come across every single day. I am truly blessed that I was able to become a part of your life at the RTR and am so excited to share in the rest of your life. You are awesome and such a true free spirit. You are my hero and I love you so much. I wish I could be that free flowing…teach me oh mighty one (I’m serious)! I wish you a very happy belated birthday and it’s going to be a great year for you. I can’t wait to hear all about it. <3

    • July 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

      Kyndal, you are such a bright light in this world – you shine with every cell of your body! I love being a part of your life and I’m so impressed that you and James have chosen the journey you have for yourselves as young people. You will go far in your endeavors, my friend, no matter what they are. I look forward to the next time our paths cross in real life – I have a huge hug waiting for you! Be well <3

  • July 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Lois Middleton, my friend….
    Thank you for sharing with me your blog above, I’ve learned things about you that I only knew parts of and am so impressed with you and your son. Awesome dialogue. You could teach others how to be a good, loving mother. I’m blessed to know you!! Love you, Loralie A. Mattice

    • July 23, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Loralie! I’m happy to call you my friend!

      My “mothering style” was very seat-of-the-pants and all about instinct – I was determined that he would not be raised as I’d been raised. I wanted him to have options in life, to know I loved him more than anything, to be able to access his mind and be creative. I didn’t know any of those things from my own parents as I grew up. I did plenty of things “wrong” and there were many times that I did things that, looking back on it now, make me shudder. But I’m so proud of the man he’s drown up to be and the things he’s doing with his life. His letter tells me that I succeeded in at least some of the areas I “mothered” him in πŸ˜€

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • July 23, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Mark is right, you can’t look back at your past and feel disappointment because the journey is more important than the destination. Your past made you who you are and it helped you shape your son.

    Of course, Mark grew up making his own decisions and chose to be an awesome handsome, funny, and world loving guy, but you showed his the way and provided a very well built foundation.

    We walk through life meeting many amazing people. Some of them stay and some of them move on but every single one of them leave foot prints in our hearts. You , my friend, are wearing boots and keep leaving deep “un-fulfillable” (is there a word like that?) imprints.

    But, you know, that is the way to live. Love deep, care passionately, enjoy to the fullest and just come through like a storm.

    Happy to know you and hopefully we will have many more lunches. BTW, you and your boys are always welcome to come stay with us. We will show you how beautiful Canada and Canadian Rockies are.

    • July 23, 2015 at 11:51 am

      I’m so happy we are connected, Dace – knowing you has enriched my life in so many ways. I look forward to the next time we have lunch in person πŸ˜€

      Thank you for your encouragement, your own passion for life, your never-ceasing acceptance of others. You shine with every breath you take. In fact, you’ll keep shining long after you’ve breathed your last Earth breath because your light is sunshine!

      Some day, we’ll come your way and let you introduce us to your Canada. I look forward to that day!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. <3

  • July 28, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Happy Belated B-day!

    Your son sounds awesome! And you sound like an awesome mom!

    I hope you have a great year being 63.

    • July 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you! Since I believe we choose what we’re participating in before we get here on Planet Earth, it’s amazing to me that he chose me to be his mom and vice versa. What a great existence we have here! Being a mother to my son was an interesting part of my agreement for this lifetime. What a trip πŸ˜€

  • July 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    If we really do choose our parents, I was making poor decisions even before I was born. Dangit!

    • July 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      I’m not sure that I’ve figured out why I chose to be born to such an abusive family, especially my mom, but I’m sure it’s something related to my overall growth as a spiritual being. I guess time (which I believe is just a figure of our imagination and doesn’t really exist) will tell πŸ˜€ Onward and upward!

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