A slightly altered repeat from last year – I hope you don’t mind (too much!)
King James Version (KJV) Ps-16-6
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Like many of you, I’m sure, there is some sadness and longing as I think of my mother. We celebrated our last Mother’s Day together in 1997, so today I will think about all of the good years we had as mother and daughter, and later as Grandmother and mother too.
I was lucky to have her for the first fifty years of my life, as I wasn’t born until after her 41st birthday. She was an older mom, but I like to think that she had worked out all of the kinks on her older children by the time she got to me!
My mother was an enthusiastic and hands-on grandmother. She loved children, and they loved her back. I think a part of her never grew up. She taught one of my nephews to climb a tree, and my daughter to ride a two-wheeler. Cousin Kevin called her the “party maker.”
My daughter was the youngest grandchild, and very close to my mother from the day she was born until the day that her grandmother died. The year before, she and my son-in-law published a book in honor of her grandmother’s 90th birthday. We all contributed essays and tributes, but my daughter’s was the best:
When I was a teenager, I remember Grandma used to say “You never listen to me!” But Gram, you were wrong. I listened, and I watched and learned; and I believe that there’s a little magic piece of you inside me.
I know it’s that little piece that makes me stop on my walk to the train in the morning to watch the rest of the sunrise, or pull over to the side of the road to pick up a fall leaf or smell the lilacs in the spring.
Grandma used to cut fruit apart to show me the beautiful patterns inside. She watered the plants and told me to listen to them drink. She brushed the dirt off the vegetables in the garden and bit into them, telling me to taste their goodness. She sees beauty and magic everywhere. I believe she sees God all the time, in all the good and lovely things of the earth.
Gram, I hope you know how rich my life is and what wonderful memories I have because you were there for me. What a lucky child I was to have a grandmother with an endless supply of “rainy day” projects and your bottomless scrap bags and boxes full of fabric, felt, sequins, buttons, construction paper, papier mache, modeling clay, paints and brushes! You were always thinking of Kevin [her cousin] and me, planning special treats and activities for us. And you always, always had time to listen to my childish thoughts and ideas. Maybe I was “spoiled” as a child, but I think it’s great that you made me feel like the most important person in the world.
Even now, I feel your unconditional love and your prayers for me every day. When I can’t sleep, I hear your voice: “Think quiet thoughts.” When I’ve messed things up, I remember your wise, “What’s done is done.” Most important I remember your “I love you.”
Thank you for all you have given to me. Happy Birthday!
Another birthday remembrance was written by “the pesky kid next door” (his description), which ends like this:
Jessie always gave me a tour of the garden, site of the old barnyard, the reason for the ease at which things grew, I was told. It was here where Jessie’s enthusiasm for the simple things in life made an impression on me.
It was early July, the second season for some new strawberry plants from Kraft’s Greenhouse. As we walked down the row, Jessie exclaimed, “Oooh Curtie, look! A berry!” And at that moment it seemed that I had caught the contagious joy of the first berry of the season.
That thought has always remained in my mind, and I retrieve it often. It reminds me that the important things in life are the simple things, and it reminds me of my friend, Jessie.
“Curtie” is a friend, who kind of “adopted” our family. He was a pall bearer at Jessie’s funeral, and I always get a nice note from him every Christmas. He has a knack for picking a beautiful and unique card. He is also an enthusiastic gardener!
On Mother’s Day, I also think about the other women who encouraged and inspired me.
Among my earliest memories is Aunt Flossie, also my godmother, who had a house full of grown boys when I was born, and our next-door neighbor until I was nine. She said I was “my little petunia in the onion patch”, and spoiled me a bit! She also taught me about wild flowers in the woods, and made delicious pancakes, just for me, with warm syrup in a blue Shirley Temple pitcher.
My Aunt Verna was a missionary to the migrant workers in Florida in the 1950’s and 60’s, so kind, with a gentle voice. She was my mom’s youngest and closest sister, and they lived together for the last 10 years of my mother’s life.
Aunt Anna, widowed quite young in life, kept the family farmhouse open for many years, a fine Christian woman, and my mother’s oldest sister. She could be a bit stern, but had a soft heart under it all. If ever anyone in our family was in need, physically or spiritually, her home was open to them. You could always count on a chicken dinner with vegetables from the garden every Sunday after church, served to whomever appeared at the table!
I never knew my grandmother, but she raised five very fine women.
I am thankful to have had these strong women in my life, and it is a pleasure to remember them particularly today.
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Now for something a little less serious. Those of you with sons will probably appreciate this.
Never having had boys, I can’t quite relate.
Please share your memories and stories about your mothers, grandmothers, and other women you honor!