News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 15, 2012

LIZ CIANCONE: Many happy thoughts to go around on Mothers’ Day

Liz Ciancone
The Tribune-Star

---- — I know this is going to sound goofy, but Mothers’ Day never passes that I don’t think of my Uncle Jim.

I think of Mom, too, of course. She died much to young and almost 50 years ago. I still miss her. She had all too few birthdays. She was born on Feb. 29, and although we celebrated every year on the date of her choice, the really big blasts were reserved for every fourth year.

She was my role model. Whenever I am faced with a crisis of any kind, I ask myself, “How would Mom have handled this?” She still gives me good, common sense advice and when I don’t take it, I regret it.

But then there is Uncle Jim. His birthday was May 13, so the luck of the calendar draw means that every so often he grew another year older on Mothers’ Day. He was very funny on the subject, but we were not allowed to laugh off a celebration. Even though it was a date to remember mothers, Uncle Jim expected a birthday cake — with candles — along with cards and presents.

I am sure there are other odd things connected with birthdays or other special events. Our granddaughter was born on the Fourth of July. When she was a little girl, she insisted on going to the parades because she believed they were celebrating her arrival on earth. We certainly were! She has grown into a delightful young woman and no longer believes that, but she is reason enough to enhance our observance of Independence Day. She is a very independent young woman.

Celebrating my Best Friend’s birthday was almost like celebrating Christmas. Not only was it his birthday, it was also his mother’s birthday as well as his stepfather’s birthday. By the time all the cards were opened and all the tissue torn off the presents, the room looked as if Santa slid down the chimney six months too late.

My brother, Ed, wasn’t born on Dad’s birthday. He was born two days later. What a birthday present, albeit belated, he must have been for Dad. I was just over a year old at the time and don’t really remember. I do remember we were always knee deep in birthday cakes in the middle of May. Mom insisted that Dad and Ed needed their very own cake.

And so this past Sunday passed happily. My thoughts were with Mom and Uncle Jim.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to