Sweet Caroline & Carolyn Suite

If you've ever attended a Red Sox game, you know that Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline is one of Fenway Park's anthems. You sing along at the top of your lungs and then, when you get to the "good times never felt so good" part, you scream-echo "so good! so good! so good!" raising an arm each time for emphasis. Good times. I can't do it without a huge grin on my face, intoxicated by the campiness and comaraderie. ("Hands touching hands, touching me, touching you" have to be among the corniest lyrics ever.) This afternoon on the way home from Lauren's flute lesson, Sweet Caroline came on the radio and we had an impromptu mini-Fenway rally session, music loud, windows down, voices up.

Which reminds me.
Let's all raise a "Sweet Caroline" for my mom, Carolyn, whose birthday it is today.

mom and me in NYC
(same day as this? )

isn't she stylish?

My mom is one of those people with a knack for nurturing and tending relationships; she essentially collects people. {And I'm positive that every one of them feels like a favorite.} Her own children, of course, and extended family members. But also neighbors, friends (of all ages...red hats and young rebels), students (she plays the harp and teaches a full studio of students) and, especially, souls who need an openhearted, accepting person in their lives.

She's a beauty. I grew up hearing "wow, your mom is so pretty" and they were right. {Recently someone in my ward followed that up with the interesting question "So who do you take after?" which doesn't feel nearly as nice. Really, I knew what they meant, but still.}

She's a passionate movie lover and has been known to dress up in red-carpet-worthy finery for annual Oscar award gatherings. She loves a good Pepsi with crushed ice but can make one bottle last, kept in the door of her fridge, for days on end alongside the rewrapped bars of dark chocolate with one square missing. She throws an exceptional party and makes holidays magical. She loves Jon Stewart and compiles eclectic videotaped snippets of hilarious moments on several shows. Also I don't think she would turn down a dinner date with Hugh Laurie.

Mom, me, and brother Matt
very Audrey Hepburnesque, no?

I think before Greg knew he wanted to marry me he knew he wanted to be her son-in-law (they sat next to each other in the symphony, Greg on the bass, Mom on the harp). She kept my relationship with Greg alive when I was in London studying abroad by dropping by the store where he worked and even taking a class with him at USU, part shadchan, part undercover agent. {Thanks Mom!}

When I grow up, I want to be her. Maybe with fewer boxes in the storage room, I think (all those magical holiday fixings have to be stored somewhere, though).

In addition to all this, PLUS she generously shared her birthday with her wedding day, meaning she has forever been cheated either out of part of her birthday or part of her anniversary. Happy 40th anniversary you two!