Mom Turns 60: A Thank You

This is my mom, Donna.


Today she turns 60.

It’s a huge milestone, and I’m really proud of her for reaching it, because she’s had a tough road, this lady.

Without going into a ton of detail, let me just say that my mom is a survivor. Her health has been a battle since her early 30’s, and she’s spent more time in the hospital, undergoing surgeries (on her bowels, her back, her arm, her hip, even her elbow), than I can begin to describe. Some of my most vivid memories from childhood are of visiting her at the Victoria General, tucked up next to her in the hospital bed, wishing I could make the IV tube taped to her wrist disappear forever.

There have been times when my brother and I didn’t know if she’d pull through. But she did. Always.

My mom is by far one of the most unique people I’ll ever know. In the eighties she wore leather pants to pick me up from kindergarten. She knew so many people everywhere we went in Saskatoon that I thought she was famous. I used to say to the kids at school, “My mom is Donna Tait. Have you heard of her?” She loves to laugh, loves to talk about the scent of things, loves to point out the variation of shades of blue she sees in the sky, in the stones. She’ll likely try to guess your astrological sun sign within minutes of meeting you. (She’s often right). She can sit down at the piano and play for hours, composing, her whole body swaying as her hands fly over the keys. She’s worked as a nurse in the delivery room, as a care assistant to mentally handicapped adults, as a foster mom. She’s crossed the desert in a van in Morocco and looked for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. One year she baked four cakes to make a life-size guitar cake for my brother’s birthday. (It was so big we had to store it in the laundry room; we were eating cake for days.) She always thinks she’s going to win money, says, “Won’t you be surprised,” when I suggest she not get her hopes up, again, for the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. She’ll stay up all night every night for a week to paint a picture she’s giving you as a gift, getting the colours just right, the feathers of the bird or the leaves on the stem of a flower. When you share something from your life with her that’s made you sad, she will cry, will feel it as though it’s her sorrow too.

On her birthday (because I know she’ll be reading this), I want to thank my mom for some of the essential things she did in raising me.

♥ Told me she loved me every single day

♥ Trusted me and gave me the freedom to make my own decisions

♥ Taught me to follow my instincts, to never settle, to say thank you when I’m a guest in someone’s home and when I leave a shop (even if I don’t buy anything), to carry my keys in my hand if I’m walking alone at night, to read medicine cards, to believe in signs, to share my feelings (and ask others about theirs), to listen and to forgive, to cut the stems of flowers on an angle, to eat peanut butter toast with salt, pepper, and cayenne for breakfast. (If you’ve never tried it, I recommend.)

♥ Encouraged me to travel, to see as much of the world as I can, to do what I love. And to write about it.

Mom, thank you for everything you’ve taught me and given me. You have earned every second of your 60 years, and I am so grateful you are here.

This girl…


is wishing you a happy, heart-full birthday!

Everyone—my mom believes in the power of thought, so if you wish, please take a moment and send some happy, healing, birthday love her way—she would really appreciate it!



  1. I love you guys. That’s some beautiful prose my friend. I love that you thought momma Tait was famous! Happy Birthday Donna!! 🐍💚

  2. Courtney, What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your wonderful mother! The two of you look so much alike – beautiful women. I so wish we have the chance to meet her. Happy Birthday, Donna!

  3. This is the most beautiful birthday card I have ever read. No hyperbole.

    Happy Birthday Donna!! To a truly inspiring, and love-filled individual who shares her loving light with every person she meets. One of the things that strikes me about Donna is that she is so very genuine. What you see is what you get. No pretense. No vibes unspoken. Just love. Donna, I’m so grateful for the wonderful and strong woman you are. You are one of the kindest souls I’ve met. Creative, supportive, loving, inspiring, STRONG, resilient, funny (!), intuitive, deeply compassionate, generous and giving…the list goes on and on. And you produced one of my favourite people on the planet, Courtney Tait!! How amazing is she?!?! So…on this fine day, your 60th birthday, I am especially grateful for your special self. May the coming year be filled with health, joy, laughter and SO much love. You deserve every moment of it.

  4. This is so special Courtney. What a lovely gift for your mom. Happy birthday to her and Merry Christmas. Thinking of her, you and Joe!

  5. To my precious daughter whom I love with all of my HEART! You are so kind and thoughtful, and I have learned many things from you too. You inspire me with your drive to complete a project so that it is perfect. I remember the day you were born, we already had an exceptional little boy and I prayed for my girl, so when after only 6 hours of hard, back labour, the Dr. said “It’s a GIRL ” I screamed, I wept, I became completely overwhelmed, I grasped at your Father with tears of joy in my eyes and cried out, it’s a girl, as though he hadn’t realized. You and Noel have been the highlights of my life! I am incredibly proud of you, as you followed through with your words of a little five year old girl, you have become an author as you always proudly said when people asked you at 5 years of age “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. I admire your courage, you left home at the tender age of 18 to backpack through Europe meeting a wide variety of people with whom you still remain friends today, when so many people are fair weather friends, you are loyal, reliable and can always be counted on! I’m PROUD! You are incredibly intelligent and independent. This was not always easy for me as I wanted to protect you, but it has indeed worked out for the best, as it has made you who you are, and I would not change one hair on the head of the woman I raised, we’ve made it through it all haven’t we Court! You truly are a shinning star. I will always be with you as we have a bond that cannot be broken, my beautiful precious daughter.
    All my LOVE ALWAYS, Mom

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