What a joy it is to wish my mother a Happy 80th Birthday today! Though we aren't celebrating in quite the fashion we would like, (with her recovering from shingles and Ernie just home after a bone marrow transplant!), there is still much to celebrate! We will simply have to take that much dreamed about cruise to Alaska next summer, and we have a whole year to plan, save and look forward to it!
Born Virginia Patricia Koch, my mom was the second oldest of five sisters. She married her high school sweetheart, David Stout, when she was just 18 and moved clear across the country from New Jersey to Seattle on a greyhound bus. The wife of a career Army man, she faithfully followed wherever the orders led them, enjoying life in faraway places like the Panama Canal Zone and Naples, Italy. She spent one year of her life as a single mom to us three kids, wondering if she would ever see her husband again, as he served in Vietnam. Praise God he came home!
My mom was a trained lifelong secretary, proficient in that strange looking "shorthand" and typewriting, long before computers. Some of her favorite years were spent working at Florida State and University of Central Florida. She is now very technologically advanced and the proud owner of a Macbook Pro and an iphone, she knows how to text, she is on Facebook, and she uses Bluetooth in her car!
Losing her lifelong mate to lung cancer on June 12, 2009, after 60 years of marriage, was the hardest thing she has ever had to go through. It's hard not to have the companionship of someone you literally grew up with. However, her resilience is evident to everyone who knows and loves her, and she is persevering, one day at a time.
She is a caring sister, a great friend, a wonderful mother of 3, an amazing grandmother of 7, and an awesome great-grandmother of soon to be 8! Her children by marriage are just as special to her as the biological ones. She now goes by four names: Ginny, Mom, Grandma, and GG. She is a role model to all of us of enduring love, loyalty, faith, selflessness, strength, perseverance, and joy. We all want to be like her when we grow up!