Worth Celebrating

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: Tom Fletcher, CFP®

We flew down to Asheville, North Carolina over the Labor Day weekend to celebrate my mom’s alleged birthday. I say “alleged” because she’s always been quite secretive about her age. Growing up, I recollect many years when we didn’t even celebrate her birthday. That day eventually became a phantom and was confusing for me and my brothers as we tried to pinpoint when and if she actually had a birthday. I’m sure this is difficult for others to fathom. When I met my wife, I’ll never forget the look of utter horror on her face when she asked me when my mother’s birthday was, and I told her I had absolutely no idea! I’m assuming my mom’s thinking was if you ignored the birthdays, she’d never age. And I’d say that strategy has been successful for her based on her bridge playing, chorus singing, line dancing, daily yoga, and all the various other activities she regularly participates in. If you’ve met her, I think you’d agree that she has aged marvelously and thankfully is still sharp as a tack. This particular time around though, as clever as she is, we were able to get past the smoke screens, decoys, and fake news and narrow down her true date of birth.

90 only comes around once in life, and because it was such a milestone, we expanded the celebration to include a reasonably sized family reunion. We had cousins that I hadn’t seen in decades fly in from Texas and Chicago, their wives, my brothers and their children, and their children’s children attend the festivities. I believe when it was all said and done, there were 23 of us in all.

Usually when we visit my mother we stay near her home in Asheville. This time around however, to accommodate all the family members we rented a large house on Lake Lure which is about an hour south of the city. My son had been badgering me for months to rent a pontoon boat while we were there, the only boat they rent on this lake. To his credit it turned out to be a great hit. Not only does the lake have a picturesque setting with a mountainous background (as is all of Asheville), it was also very warm down there during the weekend. We pretty much spent the entire day ferrying family members from one swimming hole to the next. The kids (and kids at heart) especially loved it.

I must say when Mom blew out the candles on her cake she had tears of joy in her eyes. I did too and I imagine others did as well. I daresay that maybe for the first time in her life, she really did enjoy a proper birthday celebration!