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Entries in Mother's Day Tribute (4)

Friday
May072010

Mother's Day:: My Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m spending this week writing posts dedicated to the mothers in my life. I’ll have a different post Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Sometimes I struggle to wrap my mind around the mother-daughter relationship and all it means. Especially now, being a mother myself, I spend every single day in awe of the awesome relationships we as women share with each other and our children! Kudos to all the mothers out there for all you do!

Today, I’m writing about my mom. Since there is literally so much I could write, I’ve decided to do a top ten list. So, here are the top ten memories that I share with my mom. Trust me, it was hard to choose just ten, there are many, many more. And, these aren’t really in any particular order. I apologize in advance for the length of today’s post!

#10:: Long locks. I love looking at pictures of my mom when she was young. She had long, dark brown hair. I’ve always thought it was beautiful. I remember it mostly from pictures, but when I think about times when I was very young that’s how I envision her. Then, I look at pictures of when I was three-years-old and had long, beautiful blonde pig-tails. Everyone always says that I look like my dad. But, when I think of ‘our’ long hair, that’s when I think I look like my mom.

#9:: Splash! Every summer when we were kids, mom bought us a family swimming pass to the local campground. It was just one country mile over and we went nearly every day. As soon as mom got home from work we’d load up and head over. We’d often get a quarter to buy a pretzel or some penny candy in the store. She usually didn’t get in, but she sat there evening after evening watching us swim for hours.

#8:: Smile :o) From kindergarten to my senior year, and every year in between, mom took my picture on the first day of school. These days are burned into my memory. I can see my five-year-old self in a dress, clutching a pink book bag and a Rainbow Bright lunchbox with all my might. I can see my teenage self in cut-off shorts and holding a large cup of Mt. Dew, heading off on my last first day of school. I had my best friend take my picture before the first day of class when we moved away to college. Something about it just wasn’t the same, but yet I still needed and wanted that picture taken.

#7:: Supper’s ready! My mom isn’t Betty Crocker {as she so often likes to remind me} but she has always fed us well. We weren’t raised on fast food. I remember my mom cooking almost every evening. Sometimes on Fridays, after our weekly trip to the grocery store, we’d order a pizza. But, for the most part we got a home cooked meal every night. I especially remember Saturday suppers. It was our big meal for the week, mom would put a roast in the oven or bake a chicken. Now, some of my favorite days are spent having supper at mom and dad’s house.

#6:: Amen. Each and every night as a kid I remember mom and us kids saying our prayers and asking God to bless our family. Before she’d tuck us in and give us our last drink of water we’d always say an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and our special intentions. Sometimes we’d try to drag it out and ask God to bless every single person we knew, but mom tried to keep it relatively short. We went to mass weekly, even on the days when I would try to pretend to oversleep, we somehow still made it on time. I’m grateful and am now doing these same things with my own children.

#5:: Sweep, dust, fold …. Every Friday was clean house day. Mom always would say, “this way it’s out of the way and we can enjoy the rest of the weekend!” I wish this is something I was still doing. My main responsibilities were folding laundry and dusting, both of which I loathed. Even though mom had worked hard all week, she still came home and worked even more. This taught me a lesson. Sometimes I really don’t know how she did it.

#4:: Discipline. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t a perfect child. I got in trouble my fair share, that’s for sure. I’m sure at times my mom wanted to pull her hair out, but she never did {that I know of any way}. She’d get mad, I’d get punished, I’d try to weasel {beg} my way out of punishment, and the cycle would continue. These definitely are some of my fondest memories, but they are evidence of mom’s unconditional love.

#3:: Co-workers. One summer in college I got a temporary job at the factory where my mom had worked for 20+ years. We were even put on the same shift, third. We ride-shared to work and talked on breaks. I got a first-hand view of the job my mom had been doing for so many years. Sometimes thankless, she always worked hard to provide for us.

#2:: I do! My wedding day holds so many special memories, not only of my husband, but of all the important people in our lives. I put my mom through a lot planning that special day and she was always very accommodating, never saying a bad word. She gave of her time, her money, her energy and patience to ensure that I had the perfect day. And, we did!

#1:: Pink! The two days in my life that I have given birth are by far the best days of my life. My mom was by my side throughout pregnancy, throughout labor, through surgery recovery and very helpful and supportive the following weeks with a newborn. She is a terrific grandmother. I will never forget, as long as I live, my mom’s reaction when I {finally} gave birth to my daughter. We were attempting a hospital vbac 16 months after my son’s c-section birth. I had labored for 29 hours never knowing if it was a boy or girl, but always suspected a boy. When I finally delivered her successfully and we realized it was a girl, I thought my mom was going to hit the ceiling jumping up and down! What a moment.

My mom is definitely one of my best friends and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. Happy Mother’s Day, I love you Mom!

Thursday
May062010

Mother's Day:: Mother-in-Law

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m spending this week writing posts dedicated to the mothers in my life. I’ll have a different post Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Sometimes I struggle to wrap my mind around the mother-daughter relationship and all it means. Especially now, being a mother myself, I spend every single day in awe of the awesome relationships we as women share with each other and our children! Kudos to all the mothers out there for all you do!

Today, I’m writing about my mother-in-law. I am fortunate enough to be married to a wonderful man and luckily, his mother is a large part of our lives. Since 1997, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her and the task of learning how to measure up to her.

Being born into a family and married into one are two very different occurrences, as we all know. Trying to figure out where and how you fit can sometimes be a challenge. I don’t think I’m alone when I’ve wondered if I have her acceptance and approval; wondered if she thinks I’m good enough for her son.

Many times in our society the mother and daughter-in-law relationship is the butt of jokes and portrayed in a negative light. I consider myself fortunate that that stereotype doesn’t apply to my life.

I’ve learned a multitude of things from my mother-in-law, and continue to on a regular basis. There of course, is the more trivial stuff like recipes and home remedies. But, there are also the more meaningful life lessons. There is a long list of things that I admire about her.

She was, and is, a selfless mother! When her boys were little, they did every creative craft and project imaginable. If there was something to experience or learn, she was teaching and showing it to them. It’s still evident today that she often puts the needs of her children in front of her own.

A minister’s daughter, she has instilled the love of God in her son for which I am very grateful. He grew up praying, attending church and reading the Bible, which is a true example of her love for Him and her family.


And, I also admire her as a wife. Her relationship with my father-in-law is also an example of her selflessness and extraordinary love for her family. I hope I can still be so giving and caring toward my husband after nearly 40 years of marriage.

I really do consider myself lucky to have a mother-in-law in my life that gives me extra motherly love and support. She is a wonderful person, mother and grandmother who we all adore.

Happy Mother’s Day Alice, I love you!



Wednesday
May052010

Mother's Day:: Grandma K

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m spending this week writing posts dedicated to the mothers in my life. I’ll have a different post Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Sometimes I struggle to wrap my mind around the mother-daughter relationship and all it means. Especially now, being a mother myself, I spend every single day in awe of the awesome relationships we as women share with each other and our children! Kudos to all the mothers out there for all you do!

Today, I’m writing about my grandmother K. Although she has passed on, I have several vivid and fond memories of the time we spent together when she was here on earth. It’s been nearly 14 years since she’s passed away, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

Some of my best childhood memories revolve around Sunday afternoons at grandma and grandpa K’s house. After church every week, we went home, had a quick lunch, changed our clothes and headed back in town to spend the afternoon there. It was fantastic!

If we were the first ones there, we would run to grandpa’s bedroom to gather the nickels out of the basket. My grandparents had 10 kids and at least three of them, if not more, bought their families down on Sunday afternoons. So Sundays were always spent playing with cousins. I have 18 first cousins on that side of the family.

Some of my best friends {then and now} are cousins. Those relationships were formed running around that small ranch style house, swinging on the porch and playing waffle ball in the side yard.

At some point each and every Sunday afternoon, grandma would announce it was time for chips and pop. We’d all gather around the kitchen table for Lay’s, Pepsi and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Yum!

At Christmas time the gatherings were much larger, but we all would gather at one place or another that would accommodate the constantly growing family. We still gather on Christmas, although now because of everyone’s busy lives the attendance is shrinking rather than expanding.

My grandmother was an only child. I sometimes wonder if that is why she had 10 children of her own. She didn't have a job outside of the home and she never had a driver’s license. I always was, and still am in amazement of how she managed to raise such a large family.

She was a small, petite woman who got her white hair set every Friday at the beauty shop. She and my grandpa attended mass every Saturday. When my mom was in the hospital having my baby sister, I got to spend the night at their house. I was only three, but I remember.

As she aged, her memory failed. It was sad, but I didn’t truly understand the debilitating effects of dementia until much later. Before she passed she spent time in and out of the nursing home and hospital. I remember my mom {and sometimes us kids} visiting her almost daily; holding her hand and feeding her dinner.

We all gathered together in that cramped hospital room one afternoon and said our good-byes, not sure if she’d survive the trip home. But, she did, and was able to die in the comfort of her own home surrounded by children and grandchildren. I think that must have been what she really wanted. Who could blame her?

Happy Mother’s Day, I love and miss you Grandma!




This photo was taken on Christmas, 1994. Grandma was 76 and Grandpa was 78.

Tuesday
May042010

Mother's Day:: Grandma E

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m spending this week writing posts dedicated to the mothers in my life. I’ll have a different post Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Sometimes I struggle to wrap my mind around the mother-daughter relationship and all it means. Especially now, being a mother myself, I spend every single day in awe of the awesome relationships we as women share with each other and our children! Kudos to all the mothers out there for all you do!

Today, I’m writing about my grandmother E. For most of my life, she’s lived out of state. So, unfortunately the memories we share are limited. But, that doesn’t make them any less special!

Summer vacations when I was young were pretty consistent. The fam would load up in the minivan and head south. About 10 or 12 hours later we’d arrive at grandmas, hungry, tired, hot and usually grumpy. Grandma always greeted us with a smile, hug, kiss and a hot pot of spaghetti.

That was our favorite meal made by grandma. We loved it! We loved it so much us kids asked my mom why she couldn’t make spaghetti just like grandma did. Something about that North Carolina spaghetti just tasted better.

Generally, we spent the better part of a week there. We’d swim in the pool at her apartment complex; we’d visit with family, and have a dinner at the local fish camp with all of our extended relatives. The great-uncles always gave us kids a little cash for the candy store. Good memories!

We had cook-outs, made grits and spent time with cousins. Grandma would tell us stories from when we were very little and she still lived in the same town as us. I remember wishing often that she still did.

I remember the endless games of yatzee {let’s play the whole sheet this time grandma!} and the huge breakfasts.

My brother, sister and I all took turns sleeping in grandma’s bed. Those were late nights as we would lay there talking, milking each minute we had to spend together. The week would end and we would wave good-bye out the back window of that blue Ford Aerostar until we couldn’t see her anymore. I vividly remember slouching down in my seat so the rest of the family wouldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes and overflowing.

Just out of high school, I couldn’t wait to take my boyfriend {now husband} south to meet my grandma. That was probably the most adventurous trip to NC ever. It was so different than the previous family trips. After some detours and car break downs we were still able to make it down and back in one piece.

Time passed and grandma left her apartment for the nursing home. I remember the last time we visited grandma at the apartment. I was in college. It was the last family vacation for the five original members of my family. Bittersweet.

We’ve been down to visit since. But, as grandma ages, it isn’t the same. We spend time talking and reminiscing in the larger family room because we don’t all fit in her personal room. We stay a few hours, only to return another day, or later that evening. No more long evenings playing games or laying in bed talking.

We’ll be heading down again this summer for another visit and I can’t wait. She’s my last living grandparent and my children’s last living great-grandparent. Hopefully my young children can start forming some of their own memories of grandma E.

Happy Mother's Day, I love you MaMa!