Marci Kalbfell hasn’t always been a Mom, but she has always been silly. As the youngest child, and the only girl in a family of teasers and mischievous boys, she learned early how to take it and dish it out. She doesn’t mind being laughed at, as long as there is laughter. Mom loves to have fun and is an expert at seeing humor in just about everything. Her joy towards life is infectious and she tends to draw people to her like a magnet.
Dad was drawn in at an early age. Their love story is like a fairy tale. They started dating when they were 16 and Dad proposed the night of Mom’s senior prom. They were married the next spring when they were both just 19 years old. That was almost 50 years ago, and they are still happily married. Dad will do anything to please Mom, and she is filled with appreciation for all of it. It is inspiring to see their devotion for each other.
Not only did Mom and Dad marry young, they also started a family young, having their first child (me) when they were 21. My sister, Kari, followed two years later. Those were busy years for both of them, attending college in their “spare” time. Mom earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and began teaching preschool while my sister and I were in school during the day. Mom loved teaching the eager little children. She spent countless hours at home creating flannel board stories and crafts and other unique ways of showing little ones that learning can be fun.
Fun was a key word in Mom’s vocabulary. Even though they were busy with their own small children and work, Mom and Dad made time for their own fun. They were in a bowling league, a dinner club, and were the leaders of a teenage youth group. Today, Mom has fun playing tennis. She plays just about every day of the week, and loves the game. She has a well-deserved reputation of being a sneaky player, exercising amazing control over the ball and placing it in the exact spot the opponent can’t get to. Even on the court, Mom loves to laugh and usually makes friends even with the opponents.
Mom has always had the knack of making friends. No matter where she is—on a trip, in a restaurant, a play, or even a train—she makes new friends. And the amazing thing is that she keeps them as friends. Mom has hundreds and hundreds of friends all around the world, and each one of them is special to her. She devotes a lot of time to keeping in touch with all her friends, near and far. When friends come to visit her home (and that happens a lot), she goes to great lengths to make sure they are comfortable and feel welcome, such as leaving a robe and slippers in the closet for them, and putting a mint on their pillow before they go to bed. For those friends she sees around town, she makes them feel special by baking a treat for them. Wherever she goes—baseball games, plays, or restaurants—she has something sweet for everyone from ushers, waiters, managers, and actors, to the friends she is attending the event with. Obviously, Mom’s social calendar is extremely full. After all, it takes a lot of time maintaining so many friendships.
Besides friends, Mom has also had fun trying a variety of different crafts. Our home was always filled with supplies for just about any kind of craft we could think of doing. At various times our game room has served as a ceramics studio, scrapbooking enclave, and wreath-making parlor to name a few.
Mom always made sure our home was a fun place to be, both for our family and for friends. When I was a teenager, there were activities that appealed to that age, like arcade games, a trampoline, and a pool table. Needless to say, our home was frequently filled with teenagers, and Mom loved it. When we had big overnight parties, Mom stayed up later than any of us, ever ready for one more movie or one more game of ping-pong.
Although our home was filled with fun things to do, Mom still yearned to travel and see new places and experience new things. When I was young, traveling was in the form of long motor home trips across the United States. Throughout the years we visited every single state except North Dakota. I have no idea why we never made it there, but I guess it was never along the route. As I grew older, Mom thought it would be fun to fly to farther away places. But it wasn’t until my sister and I were gone that Mom and Dad became serious world travelers. There are very few places they haven’t been, but those few places are on a list with plans to visit them soon.
Many of Mom’s vacation plans involve seeing animals. Mom has always loved animals (except bugs, especially spiders), and in recent years she has been able to indulge her love in many unique ways. She and Dad are lifetime members of the zoo, and donate to several wildlife organizations. Some of their favorite trips have been with the zoo—traveling far and wide to experience special behind-the-scenes events. They also travel closer to home, in the US, to visit friends who keep exotic animals. There are quite a few unusual animals that Mom calls friend. In fact, it is not unusual to find her welcoming a Cheetah, fox, porcupine, or any other wild animal into her home. She knows these animals by name, and her phone is full of pictures of them, ready to show to friends. Mom teases that she doesn’t have many pictures of the grandkids to show, but she sure has plenty of animal pictures!
Being so busy traveling, playing, and visiting with friends of all kinds has given Mom plenty of opportunities to let her silliness shine. It’s a good thing that she has a sense of humor and laughs at herself as often as others laugh at her, because it is that attitude that makes the crazy events and situations she gets into so memorable and fun.
Now that you know Mom a little better, I hope you have fun reading about her capers and adventures and just plain silliness.