We regularly celebrate my mother's birthday once in June when her extended family can get together & once again on August 21 when her actual birthday occurs.
Mostly, my three siblings & I celebrate what far too few people have: a mother who has been a consistently nurturing, affirming & loving presence to each of us & who never raised her voice.
104 is a great age to be if you have a good quality of life. No age is wonderful if you are involved in a painful, chronic & incurable illness that poisons each day.
Molly Chapman is in the first category. It is wonderful to see the energy & hope in people's eyes when they experience the glow in hers. Maybe they, too, can reach such an age in great health. Maybe those they hold dear can do so as well.
"I have the power to multiply myself. I am not one woman." Anais Nin wrote in her famous diary. My mother has "multiplied herself" by living a ministry of example.
Is she a saint? Of course not. Yet, Molly Chapman's quiet presence is a testament to elegance & grace - a sermon on constant kindness to all.
If you know her, you understand this. If you don't I wish you did. For she is who so many would love to be some day: ancient, wise &, at 104, a sort of miracle.
But, she would never think of herself that way because she has another quality esteemed in parts of our society: a quiet humility. She does not preach love. She simply lives it.