Happy birthday, Mom!

Mom Diane pictured after Catholic mass on her 84th birthday in Rishikesh, India.

Yesterday she hiked 9 miles — including 3,300 feet of altitude.

The day before that: whitewater rafting on the Ganges River in northern India.

Every day: Catholic mass at the crack of dawn.

Sound like SuperWoman? Well, kind of. It’s my mother! And today is her birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

theo and mom diane at the catholic church in rishikesh, india

Once again, my wife Ellen and I are tickled to be celebrating with mom Diane. This time in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

It is the third time she has joined us overseas in recent years to escape the worst of winter in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

First was Vietnam in 2018. Then Philippines during the COVID pandemic. Now Rishikesh — the yoga and meditation haven at the foothills of the Himalayas.

mom diane and various places around northern india with some indian friends

Of course, what is most astounding as mom continues her healthy, active, international adventure lifestyle is that she is now 84 years young!

Shhhhhhhh… mom doesn’t advertise her age. But I can’t help but be proud and amazed by her. And on her birthday, I’m gonna crow about it!

I mean seriously: what other octogenarian do you know that hikes 6-8-10 miles a day, often alone, in remote corners of the earth where even communicating can be difficult? Way to go, mom! You are an inspiration to all.

In fact, yesterday during the day-long uphill hike with my wife (too much for me), mom was repeatedly lauded, photographed, and honored by others on the trail who were less than half her age. One guy was even bowing and touching her feet – an Indian sign of respect.

Of course, none of it was necessary. Mom is as humble and down to earth as you can imagine. She most likes to blend in. She will roll her eyes and scoff when she sees this blog post.

collage of photos of mom diane to celebrate her 84th birthday

Today, a break – a celebration. Mom, Ellen, and I attended Sunday morning mass at the unique Catholic Church in the Tapovan area of Rishikesh. Everyone sits on floor mats – yoga style. The service is in Hindi. 

Mom attends the same church every morn for 6:30 a.m. mass. She’s now friends with the priest. She was gifted the potted flower in the top photo by the priests for her birthday.

After mass we were invited to lunch at the home of a charming Canadian/Indian lady named Diana. She splits her time between Toronto and Rishikesh. Like everyone, Diana was wowed by mom’s vigor.

Thanks for the tasty brunch, Diana. We topped it off with a small chocolate birthday cake with candles for Mom’s birthday wish.

Later, we’ll likely stroll to a nearby cafe for an evening birthday bite and tea while we watch the sun set on the gorgeous Ganges. Tonight, there will be a Scrabble game.

diane ellen theo at the river ganges in tapovan, rishikesh, india

Of course, every moment we spend with mom is a blessing. Her visits – and birthdays – are memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We thank God for her strength, energy, and example.

Happy Birthday again, Mom! See you somewhere next year!

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

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