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Donna Kroeger is shown with the New Horizons Band in the Sturgis Falls parade in 2015.

COURTESY PHOTO

In a few weeks my mother will turn 90. Don’t worry, I asked for her permission to announce her age. She said, “What am I going to do? Lie and say that I’m only 85?” She made it clear that to be 90 is a source of pride and just saying the number put a smile on her face.

Yes, occasionally she yearns for the time, not so long ago, when she could still do anything she set her mind to. She can be frustrated by her lack of mobility after nine decades of gravitational pull on muscles and bones. Yet, she embraces the journey she has taken. Watching her adult children and her grandchildren navigate their own lives makes the often difficult transition into 90 satisfying enough to overlook many of the aches and pains.

She wishes she could still drive to Aldi for daily necessities or to the New Horizons Band rehearsals. Of course there are times when the inconveniences of aging are maddening, but behind every temporary grimace is also a reminder of what she has accomplished. My mother has had a full and active life.

She married the man of her dreams, raised three sons with him and survived the devastating sadness of his death with grace. She has been a school teacher and earned her master’s degree in special education. She’s been involved in her community and fearlessly marched, knocked, walked, sat down and stood up for the causes in which she believes.

She has played saxophone in the New Horizons Band for the last 13 years and has attended every show, fundraiser or event this son has ever been in. She has traveled to see my brothers on both coasts and has babysat, walked dogs, packed picnics, painted houses and helped us in any way ever asked of her.

She’s climbed mountains, learned to tap, ballroom and square dance and teamed with my father to be good citizens and to inspire their sons and grandchildren.

Mother’s Day is months and months away, but this article is to remind us that every day should be Mother’s Day. Maybe on that one day in May we can go even further to elevate the maternal magic of humanity, but shouldn’t every day contain at least a “thank you” to our mothers if we are so lucky as to have her with us? And if she isn’t here, you are still a son or daughter and your loving thoughts will travel to her. I promise they will.

Thanks, Mom. You have been there for me every single day of my life. Every single day. Reaching 90 is quite an accomplishment, but it is just one of so many accomplishments in your life. You never cease to amaze me with your resilience, your lust for life, your active mind and your overwhelming love for your family and friends. I am the luckiest guy who ever lived to have had role models like you and Dad.

Happy Birthday. And Happy Every-Day-is-Mother’s Day!

Gary Kroeger is an advertising executive in Cedar Falls and a former Iowa legislative candidate.

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