She held his hand bedside as he passed. A radio played in the distance. The 23rd Psalm had been recited over his weakened body. My Mom’s Father and her had not always seen eye to eye, but she cared for him, and was there for him until he stopped breathing. She was the only one in the room.
She was also with my Gram when she moved on, in the comfort of her own home. My Mom provided genuine care, changing suppositories, diapers, sheets and repositioning her fragile body. My Gram would moan, it was absolutely heartbreaking. My Mom looked after each detail, down to fuzzy socks and pink pjs my Gram liked, despite her awareness.
I have never seen such selflessness in action, and these are just two isolated events. My Mom had been caring for her parents almost two decades after they retired and moved in. She would clean, shop, cut fresh flowers, drive them to appointments and sacrifice her time. She would have much preferred being outside over surrounded by stale hospital air. She would have dinners, with and for them,
Transporting food from kitchen to either table. She gave of herself completely and unconditionally for years. This was after being a stay at home Mom to four kids, and helping raise four grandchildren.
My Grandparents moved in when I was in high school. I couldn’t be happier, but it came with a price for my Parents. They became caregivers about the minute they gained an empty nest. I really respect my Dad for building onto our home, and temporarily losing his wife to aging in-laws.
My Mom’s a wonder. Crazy, fun, loving and loud. She speaks without filters, and mixes up words, but would do anything for anyone.
She is one of the neatest people I know. Stubborn, yet strong, emotional and cries reading children’s books. She blows her nose like a goose, and yawns loudly. She’s as free as they come, and
knits marches to her own pigtails. She never wears make-up.
Her unmatched energy makes an impact through subbing, teaching, babysitting and volunteering. She rejuvenates playing with kids, gardening or taking hikes with her husband or Great Dane. She loves Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond. When they are wailing, you better let her be…
She rode a horse in the Macy’s Day Parade, was a Girl Scout, clarinet player, and pesky little sister. She is brave, and adopted my sister as a hungry 2 year old from Bangladesh. She saves everything and can pull props from nooks to accentuate stories.
She only sleeps a few hours a night, and cannot sit still. She speaks with a Long Island accent, adding “er” to words, and belly laughs till she cries. I love her personality, free spirit, and generous heart.
She had the greenest thumb before organic was hip. She’s the healthiest eater and most active person I know. She’s a colon cancer survivor. She fought hard to stay with us in ’96…
She can whip up a dinner for 20 with little notice. Her kitchen door is open to all. Our wooden kitchen table has absorbed years of her stories and laughter. She is always working on a project, with a buried table, that becomes visible at mealtimes.
She taught us to swim, camp, ice skate and play. To appreciate nature, life, sunshine and the rain. She’s been faithfully married to my Dad for over 45 years, her first love. She’s a tough one, you won’t win an argument.
She can knit anything fuzzy, and raise any creature with a pulse. She is as natural as they come, interested in wholesome things, oblivious to others. (She didn’t know what cellulite was – how freeing!!)
My Mom is frugal and thrifty, putting her own needs last in a family of 6. I bet 70% of her life was spent changing layers, packing, prepping, cooking and planning for others. A true giver.
My three siblings and I attended private colleges of our choice, on a single teachers salary. She researched loan and scholarship avenues, recycled clothes and utilized each penny.
She bakes bread, pancakes and waffles from scratch. Happy memories stem from warm pancakes and real syrup. Morning sunshine poured in the windows like her love into our hearts. I just didn’t know the magic ingredient back then…
On Valentines morning we woke to heart candies and cards placed at our table setting. For birthdays, we could choose our favorite meal. She would make homemade pizza and large cakes. She would hand crank homemade ice cream, surrounded by rock salt. I could invite the entire class over to sled, play and eat. It was the best day of the year.
She is so peculiar, she moves in her sleep, and carries multitudes of bags everywhere. When the crap hits the fan, I am headed to my Moms side. She could take over a small army with her ingenuity and life saving skills.
She loves playing in the dirt and taking night hikes. She is either freezing or sweaty. She cross country skis, fishes, canoes, snowshoes and swims.
She can’t always relate to my workplace rants, breakups, independence, Colitis, or lack of energy, but she is there for me, and preps SCD friendly meals for my gut. She lets me sleep if I have cramps. My body falls apart around her, as if my soul knows she will take care of me, at any age. Few things trump the comfort of a Mom, even her Rocky grip shoulder massages, she’s my unique “care” package.
I spent the first five years of my life attached to the hip of this woman, unaware the outside world existed. As I grew, she was still there for me every single night after school, for practices, rehearsals, triumphs and failures. Proms, ski races, field hockey games and crew.
She cooked 98% of our meals from scratch. Her flour drawer could engulf a small child. Her homemade cookies are as famous as her wrath if you leave the house in winter without a hat. You will be called a blasted idiot!
She loves animals, adores little kids, loves to swim and be outdoors. She coached field hockey, taught me to ski, likes traveling, and loves the beach.
She has known heartache, some caused by family, but she stands up for what she believes in, and isn’t afraid to speak.
She shows children how to live in the moment, to appreciate everything from tiny plants and animals, to an awareness of worldly issues.
She believes in God, and weeps in pews for others. She’s sensitive, yet strong as a rock, and always has a lot to say. When quiet, you know something is wrong…
She has a lot of demands and chores asked upon anyone who walks by. I felt like a tiny soldier growing up doing chore after chore, productive as the sun.
I call her in tears when life hits me hard. I often miss her. A homesickness that has not ceased since entering kindergarten feeling I was kicked in the stomach. I was far too attached, but she knew the morals and values she stood for, and for that I became grounded.
She tells great stories, nothing squeaks past Bette, the boss of us all. I love this woman with grey pig tails and a space between her front teeth. I picture her in the kitchen with flour on her apron, hair pulled beneath a red hat, juggling 12 things, keeping everyone in the room involved or entertained. In addition to my Gram, it is with her I have the strongest human connection I have known. She is one really cool Mom, whom I am blessed to call mine.
I have watched this woman spin wool, shear sheep, kill chickens, raise lambs, pluck angora rabbits, feed calves, kittens, fish and guinea pigs. She makes wooden ornaments, chops wood, does pottery, makes syrup, puzzles, stained glass, wool sweaters, personalized blankets and attends to a massive garden. She transports soil with baby seeds in protective plastic from wood stove to greenhouse, to get a kick start on spring.
She stands on our slate kitchen floor for hours kneading yeast, making homemade bread, donuts, cookies and pies. Her kitchen comes alive, it’s her domain.
She can’t dance to the beat, but dances to her own just beautifully. I have never met another human so carefree and unaware of societal pressures. She absolutely doesn’t care, nor may not be aware. Her radar is on family, food, kids and love.
She has rarely, if ever sat still across from me without doing something. Perhaps I left some of my energy in her womb when I exited 7 weeks early. I can’t hold a candle to her, nor sew a button, thread a needle and often burn eggs, but I appreciate our opposites. I am happy exploring the World without commitment, while she remains on the exact piece of property she dreamed of as a child, and by choice has not budged an inch.
She can tell when you aren’t feeling well just by looking at you. She would squeeze my forehead between her hands, compressing until headaches subsided. We never took Tylenol or medication, and like her Father, she never complains of pain.
I was that little girl screaming bloody murder with separation anxiety heading into kindergarten. My Brother would leave class and console me. That I will never forget. I thought I was dying. Literally. I was too attached to my Mom and wholesome for my own good. I went to college and was absolutely shell shocked. Blindsided. I had been living with naive blinders on for 18 years. I look back with appreciation for this, but at the time it was hard. Very hard. Life hurts. My Mom had protected me from it. I grew up without a television and didn’t get my license until 18. I have seen peers lose their Moms far too early, I cannot imagine. She can drive me insane, and bruise my ego, but this woman is part of me unlike anyone.
So on this Mother’s Day, 2015, I am not buying you a potato peeler, but I send love, appreciation and sincere gratitude for you, Mom. You are such a unique, special friend with a huge heart. Thank you for everything!!
I love you.