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Happy Birthday Tina Carr - Martha Carr

June 1st marked the birthday of two great ladies who were both born on this day in 1926. One was Marilyn Monroe, who is permanently fixed in our collective consciousness as a thirty-something but would now be a senior citizen talking on a cell phone and going to see "Shrek IV" in 3D, maybe with a few grandchildren. It's a nice image.

The other is Tina Carr, my mother who is now officially 84 and enjoying life in sunny Florida, who will occasionally talk on a cell phone but doesn't really like it. Mom has also seen "Iron Man" and really liked that, but I'm not sure if she's seen the Shrek series, loves the color pink, would rather be on a cruise to anywhere and has five grandchildren whom she adores.

There aren't as many perks left in the newspaper business since the internet changed everything, but a shout out to a mom is still a good one. I feel I owe it to her especially since she regularly asks the reporters at the Tampa Tribune and the Highland County Sun to run my column, and then she clips them out to show people. There is no better press agent than a mother.

If you see Tina, you can sing her a rousing, (though a little belated) rendition of "Happy Birthday" and ask her how her children, and then, her grandchildren are doing. My mother has always been particularly good at fitting into a conversation whatever we were doing, what we might be selling, why you want and need it and where you can find it. Getting an open request from lots of people for an entire day would be a great gift.

I've also sent her a McDonald's gift card, which by the time this runs she'll already know, so there's no need for a spoiler alert. My mother has a particular fondness for Happy Meals, which are a saner portion size and comes with a gift, and ice cream sundaes. My late father used to take her for the sundaes all the time, so for awhile, they're on me.

Now that I've reached the ripe old age of 50 and survived a few things, I finally get that no matter how old the body gets the spirit stays somewhere in the early 20's. It's changed the way I not only see my mother today, but the way I remember some of the things she has said. We are always looking at how we can do things differently to love the people in our lives a little better. That's basically it in a nutshell.

When I was actually in my 20's I thought everything was about me, but I had so little self-

esteem that I was like a human push-me-pull-you. That's probably true of a lot of people at that age. There's angst just pouring out of us.

Now that I'm 50, it's a lot easier to remain calm when opportunity knocks, and instead, wonder how I can just be of service. I tend to stay in the moment more that way and I have to figure it's less annoying as well.

When I was younger, it was only during a crisis or a really good turn of events that I was able to see what really mattered because, instead of trying to maneuver things, I was just there as a participant. I wondered for years how to get to that space without the need for major events. All it took was finding some trust that everything would turn out OK in the long run, and since then I've pretty much lived in a peaceful place.

If you're still struggling with fears over the economy or what will become of your teenage children, who are more interested in learning how to drive than how to figure out calculus, here's a little birthday present from Tina Carr to you. When I mentioned a recent hiccup in my life to my mother, she said, "Oh, you'll be fine. You always land on your feet."

It was a great moment, because there was no advice, no questions and no doubts about the future. I was able to let go and settle back into the moment where I belonged. Happy Birthday Tina Carr! More adventures to follow.

Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.