It must have been no later than 4:15 in the morning when my mom woke me up abruptly. “Let’s go! Wake up!! We’re going to Disney World!!!” she said excitingly. “But what about our bags, Mommy?!” “They’re all packed and ready to go!”
I was 5 years old at the time and my mom always tried to fill my (and my sisters) life with plenty of adventure.
Like the time we walked to the local deli for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. What was usually a 10 minute car ride felt like 5 hours by foot!
My mom has an amazing sense of humor. She dressed me up as a Chassidic Rabbi for my first Halloween in pre-school. When I was less than 3 months old, my grandparents in Florida met me for the first time in a Superman costume. Apparently, I was a big hit on the plane!
But my mom is not only fun and games. Although she’s one of the most creative people I know, she’s definitely the most hardworking! She has taken on all sorts of jobs and businesses throughout the years, all while working full time as a high school English teacher, to make our life better. And remarkably, as late as she would come home, she always insisted we eat dinner together and would first start cooking.
Her businesses ranged from a house keeper placement agency to Home Grown Poems to a SAT tutoring business to her current business of selling aviation apparel. While each of them has brought many memories, none will ever surpass the time my sister and I, along with my mom, sang lyrics to a woman who had hired her to ghost write a song.
My mom has always loved animals. Or more so bears! Our beloved George, a black 230 pound Newfoundland, is our biggest yet. She fell in love with the breed when a bear was roaming around my neighbor’s lawn and they called her to take care of it. Of course, my mom walked right up to it with no fear and looked at the collar to find the bear’s owner and the rest was history…we were getting a Newfoundland!
My mom is a teacher at heart though. Whether it’s teaching our dogs tricks or inspiring her students, I’ll never forget when her high school, Grady, was in the state finals at Madison Square Garden. As I was a little boy, who only dreamed of playing at MSG one day professionally, it was quite intimidating. But nothing was more intimidating than what seemed like 1000’s of students stomping and screaming, “Ms. Gilbert! Ms. Gilbert! Ms. Gilbert!” as they rolled out a red carpet for my mom that led to our seats!
However, not of all her students were always inspired. I’ll never forget when my mom came in the house absolutely drenched after Howard had pushed her into the pool as she was trying to sweep around it.
As my mom was absolutely furious, and my sister and I were rolling on the floor laughing, her huge heart eventually forgave our English Sheepdog.
In fact, it’s her huge heart that inspired Terence Winter. Terry, her former student, credits his success to my mom. And as Terry has clearly reached the top of his game having been a writer/executive producer for the Sopranos and now working with Leonardo DiCaprio, and Martin Scorsese on the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, I hope my mom feels like she’s at the top of hers!
She has two kids that absolutely respect, love and adore her to death, a grandson on the way (very much on the way!), a dog that looks forward to being spoiled by her, a loving second-husband, an incredible sister, and a wonderful tight group of loyal friends and family.
I think of the morning she woke us up at 4:15 sometimes, and it makes me think of all the selfless, amazing, giving things my mom did while my sister and I were growing up, and that she still does today.
So, as her birthday is tomorrow the 25th, and in effort to keep this short because I can go on and on with countless memories and so many things I’m grateful for, I’ll end off simply, as my mom would like it, and exactly how my mom has signed every one of her cards to date.
I love your guts!
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