Today is my mother's birthday, she turns 76. She was born the second youngest child of 9 other siblings at a small farm in southern Norway.
When she was 5 years old, she woke up one night to the Germans coming to get her father for illegal resistance work during the WW2. He was arrested and tortured and sentenced to death. He survived. Either because of the end of the war being so close, or by some unknown miracle. He never spoke about his time with the Gestapo, other than quietly stating that he did not break and he did not tell.
At 16 she spent a year in Denmark working as a housekeeper, when she came back, she spoke Danish to an old friend of the family she met in the city. She's been teased for this ever after.
She married and had 5 daughters. She had 6 pregnancies. One child died during childbirth. She never got to know his/her gender. It was taboo to even see a dead child back then.
She was active in the local politics and a member of the Regional board of Culture and Education and the Regional board of Energy.
When she was 45, she went back to school and got a degree as a caseworker/secretary and worked at the social office until she retired at 62.
She's seen a lot of changes during her 76 years long life. When she was young, they washed their clothes by hand. They'd take the bed sheets and lay them out in the snow to bleach them in the winter sun. She would be in charge of rinsing the laundry in the icy water in the creek from she was only 5. Her fingers and hand show marks of hard work even today.
She now has Parkinsons, she suffers from a brain tumor. She is on a lot of medicine and her memory is starting to disappear, but she still has her sense of humor. She still has a wonderful laughter and she still laughs a lot.
Happy birthday, mom. May you have many more.