As I have a rare moment this Mother’s day morning to sit and peruse my facebook feed, I am happy to see so many posts about and pictures of friends with their mothers – and I am startled to realize that it’s been 10 years that I haven’t had mine around me. I am startled not because it’s been so empty without her for those years, but because I know she has been with me these 10 years.
For better or for worse, my mother has imprinted into my being and has made me who I am today. Whether it’s that second thought given when I start to throw away a plate of half-eaten food, or my utter repulsion when passing a fast food restaurant, I am the result of her labor – in more ways than one.
Although I may do some things to prove I am different, from a different generation and have a mind of my own, when my husband tells me I’m just like my mother, I don’t always take it as an insult.
I chose for this Mothers Day to dwell on what I remember about my mother versus how much I miss her.
This is what comes to mind:
Clean houses are overrated. Especially if it takes time to away from doing something more fun with your kids, like collecting shells at the beach and painting them on the patio, decorating Ukranian Easter Eggs, teaching them how to hook a rug or hand-sew bedspreads for dollhouses.
Handknit sweaters and mittens and socks are cozier than store-bought. But when it comes to down jackets and prom dresses, maybe it’s better to go to the store.
There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning.
Meat “continues to cook after you take it away from the heat”
A few pieces of classic jewelry is more classy than revolving costume jewelry and more opulent items. I think she wore her little gold hoop earrings for over 60 years.
Always know where your food comes from. As one of the first natural or co-op food consumers, I remember flexing my muscles as I stirred the stiff, natural peanut butter on rock-hard whole wheat bread, while sneaking Fritos and bologna sandwiches on white bread at my friends’ houses.
Too much screen time is not healthy. My brother and I were deprived of many of the 70s TV shows and limited to ONE show a week! And you can always tell if your kids were watching TV while you’re gone by putting your hand on the back of the TV to see if it is hot.
Hiking and getting outdoors is good for the spirit and the body. She gave me my first pair of hiking boots and I never went back to spending Sundays on the couch.
Even if you don’t believe in a specific God (or any God) you should still live by the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated. It’s that simple.
Always have at least one pet in the house.
You don’t need to go for the highest salary or job to be happy. Simply choose to want less and value your time not your money.
Most items of clothing, if you hold on to them long enough – will come back in style. And if it is LL Bean or Brooks Brothers purchased in the 60s or 70s, may have some “vintage” value and coveted by the younger generations.
Find a creative outlet (or many). For mom it was sewing, knitting, weaving, quilting, hand-dying fabric, spinning, beading…the list goes on and on. I guess for me it’s photography – although I still hopefully hold on to her looms, knitting needles, sewing machines and spinning wheels (yes, multiple ones) I still go for the camera.
A cancer diagnosis does not mean you should stop living. Try to enjoy and value every day you have. My kids were shocked to learn that their grandma had cancer for most of the time they knew her. They remember instead the blueberries they picked, the picnics they went on, the beaches they walked, the games they played, the reading of books….and the unboundless love.
And that’s what I remember as well. I love you Mom.