My earliest memory of her is from my room on Forest St.
I can remember my beautiful white sheets painted in watercolor flowers and I can see her from my room standing in the kitchen.
It was in that room that I would sing “You can Fly” from Disney’s Peter Pan and in that house where I obsessively drew her “lemons” on 3×5 cards. I don’t know for sure if these memories (2.5-3 years old) are accurate but that is how I see them in my minds eye.
From there we moved to Monroe Street and to memories of her planning weekly menus, drying my bleached Keds on the window sill, growing tall snapdragons, cutting up a brown bag to lay hot, freshly baked cookies on and visiting with girlfriends at the kitchen table. Always with a cup of black coffee in a white mug. (I also remember the time she detoxed off coffee – it seemed like she slept on that little brown velor couch for a week!)
I don’t remember our home ever being a mess. A teeny cape cod with a grungy basement that we played in – my Mom always made the house a home. Money was tighter than tight but the home was always presentable – I can not even conjure up a memory of dishes in the sink. But our clean home was never a place where people felt unwelcomed. It was always described as “homey” or “cozy.” Sometimes I wonder what she thinks when she comes over and ends up unloading my dishwasher for me or worse (like the other day) taking care of a musty load that I have forgot was in the washing machine.
My mother instilled in me the love of reading and with great intention. I have had the privilege of inheriting her parenting books and her gentle handwriting in the margins shows me that she wanted to leave nothing to chance. Especially the desire the turn off that T.V. and just be still and be quiet with a good book.
Caretaker extraordinaire. Crisp clean sheets and closets that she would dive into when she just could not take it anymore were part of her routine as was Sunday afternoon pot roast and to our chagrin a “The Kitchen is Closed!” mentality on Sunday evening.
“Cereal!”was often the answer to our chorus of voices asking, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”
-Can you blame here?
I learned among other things to set boundaries from my Mom. Especially as a mother.
You didn’t mess with mom when she was on the phone, she always took time to do her makeup and hair. In this day where mothers with 1.1 children complain they don’t have time to go to the bathroom she worked out 90 minutes a day right there in the living room – with a new baby! I do not remember her stopping to accommodate us, sweaty in her pink and purple leotard. (Maybe it was that she couldn’t tear herself from Gilad the greek god! Again, can you blame her?) And in the summer – we either had to say IN or OUT. No trapsing through the house with the neighborhood latch-key children (who all dreamed of having a mom like her!).
Mom brought me to the Lord at the age of seven one Valentines Day evening after I asked her to explain the story of Nicodemus (sp?) to me. She ingrained in my head to write God’s word in my heart. She is the reason that I can recall so many Bible verses from memory today. They pop up in my mind from out of nowhere whenever I need them (100 times a day!) and I am so thankful for her pouring into me that way.
My mother passed on numerous things to me that she got from her Mom and I hope to pass those things onto my children. I have chosen to do a few things differently – in everything from diet to domestics we have similarities and dissimilarities but she NEVER meddles and has NEVER given me unsolicited advice. I have never felt coddled from her (from either parent for that matter). I feel like, to the best of her ability she did the best she could do, which was mighty fine and then gave me a swift kick out of the nest. I have been flying every since.
So Mom, on this birthday I simply want to thank you for everything you so intentionally taught me (from how to properly fold a towel to the art of sending thank you notes) and for the things you didn’t know you were teaching me – that there is no more noble a profession for me as woman than “Wifedom” and Motherhood. It was three years ago on your birthday that I told you Aidan was coming and now with the upcoming arrival of “P.R. le Deuxieme” I can not wait to become more and more like you.
I love you.
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