Happy Mother’s Day!

To all our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers too – I hope you have a happy and relaxing day!

A recycled post – I hope you don’t mind.

King James Version (KJV) Ps-16-6

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;

yea, I have a goodly heritage.

dividerbittersweet

This photo was taken a few months before she died; one of the last of the three of us together.

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!

Grandma Jessie & Jen

dividerbittersweet

I wrote this to my mom on her 90th birthday:

During the early years, you were just “Mom” and, to me, our family was not much different from those of our friends and neighbors. It took some time and experience for me to realize how special you, and our family, really are.

As far back as the Depression years, the family stuck together in good times and, especially, the bad times. I remember your stories about those who lived at the Farm during those years, off and on, depending on whether or not they were working. Uncle Tom also had stories about how brothers and sisters helped each other back then.

While growing up, our social lives were centered on the family. Landmark events were family reunions, weddings, and funerals. Also prominent in my memory are the visits to Aunt Sarah’s house for a week or so, a trip to visit Aunt Verna at Fife Lake, staying with Aunt Evelyn in California, camping with the family at Caseville and, of course, those trips to the farm! The welcome mat was always out for another member of our family.

During the 70’s, you and your sisters helped each other through Dad’s and Uncle Ross’ sickness, as well as your own hospitalization and surgery. You and Aunt Anna also took care of Jennifer and Kevin during the summers – more than cared for, but nurtured and adored! I can only shake my head in wonder at all the parties, special excursions, projects, and pageants that you planned for those children!

During the 70’s you organized the farm reunion of your brothers and sisters; you designed a special program, and organized special events, like worship at Duff church, and a tree planting at the farm.

Going to the farm during those days was really special to me. You always had a big garden, and you and Anna would can tomatoes, peaches, pickles, chili sauce, and whatever else struck your fancy (and don’t forget the beets – my favorite!) Then there were the excursions to pick strawberries, raspberries, and peaches. And those wonderful Sunday dinners!!! Just thinking about the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and all the fresh vegetables and fruit in season that would be loaded on the dining room table makes me hungry! How did you ever do it all?

You always knew, even if I didn’t, how important the family is. That’s why you organized the cousins’ reunion a few years back. And that’s why you have always stayed in touch, by phone and letter, with our cousins, and nieces, and nephews – indeed, every twig on this family tree!

Thanks, Mom, for doing it all. Thanks for teaching me what is important in this life. I only hope that I can do half as well, and half as much, as you have. I’ll try, anyway. Enjoy your day, and all the relations, and take pride in what you have accomplished.

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 sons 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.

Flossie & her grandchildren

Flossie & her grandchildren

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.

Sisters Anna, Sarah, Evelyn, Jessie & Verna, at the farm

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.

Proverbs 31:10

dividerbittersweet

The real reward for being a mother is, one day, to see the fine grown woman or man that grew from that tiny baby. I am one of the truly blessed to have a daughter who is a fine woman, wife, mother.

NOTE: Ryan and Cindy are a real mother-son duo and all emotions (plus the surprise!) in the video are 100% genuine. That’s what makes it so special!

PS: Me, my daughter and my grandsons on the day that the younger one was born.

Poor James! I dressed him in a shirt that was much too big for him that morning. He didn’t care – just was so proud to be a big brother.

Please share your memories and stories about your mothers, grandmothers, and other women you honor!

This entry was posted in Family, Holidays, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Happy Mother’s Day!

  1. Lucille says:

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!


    Painting by Rosalie Scanlon

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Lucille says:

    From the time I left home in 1963 and moved to the big city of Los Angeles until 1980 when Mom and Dad came to live with me in my West L.A. home, we had dinner together every Friday evening. My father passed in 1989 and so it was just Mom and me. We had so many fun times together shopping or going to plays, musicals and to church. We called our outings “just us girls having fun on the town.”

    In 1990 while at church Mom suffered a major concussion falling down some stairs and hitting her head against a block wall. Turned out she’d had a heart pause and blacked out. She was hospitalized for a week, during which time she had a pacemaker inserted. Then she was sent to a convalescent home. The concussion left her without the ability to speak properly and, at first, unable to recognize friends or family who visited her at the home. She also needed to learn to walk again. THAT was a real challenge because her brain still was not functioning well and she refused to attend rehab no matter how much she was coaxed.

    One day when I visited her at the home, she greeted me with a smile and a little story. God spoke to her directly, she said. I asked how that came about and she said she knew she must start learning to walk again and asked God what to do. God told her “no more pity parties” and for her to wheel herself to the elevator, go downstairs to the workout room and get started. God said the men running rehab were there to help her and she was not letting them do their job.

    So, Mom went downstairs and told the men her story of how God said she first off had to stop the pity party and then must place herself in their hands. From that point on she worked hard, never missed a session, and even performed the exercises on her own time in her room. Saying goodbye to the rehab guys on her last day there was rather emotional and she told them how happy she was God started her on the way to full recovery by allowing them to help her.

    That was my dear Mom…a tad stubborn but overall good-natured, kind and helpful, always loving a good laugh, and quite the character.

    Bless her memory.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Menagerie says:

      That’s one heck of a story Lucille!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Lucille says:

        And she was one heck of a woman, enduring so many hardships and tragedy, especially the death of my brother, and coming out the other side with an attitude of “overcoming.” During the last six months of her life she was bedridden and had lost her eyesight due to macular degeneration, but she never complained even once. Every night as I walked up the hall to my room after helping her get ready for sleep, she called out, “Goodnight! I love you!”

        Best of all, she loved God. I wish I were half the Christian she was. You would have loved her.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Lucille says:

    “Happy Mother’s Day” by Tim Janis

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Menagerie says:

    When I got married I really could not boil water, as the old saying goes. I melted one of those old aluminum coffee pots that you used put on the eye of the stove, and it caught on fire.

    When I married, my mother in law and grandmother in law immediately began to teach me the things I needed to know. But it was never in a superior way. I remember my mother in law telling me “When you’ve been cooking over thirty years you’ll be just as good a cook.” No ma’am, with all due respect to your teaching skills, I am not.

    When I finally did get pretty good a biscuits, a family favorite as well as being one of my mother in law’s specialties, my husband used to smile and say that I made the second best biscuits in the world. The first time I cooked them for him after his mother died he looked at me with shiny eyes and said “These are the best biscuits in the world.”

    I wanted to cry for him, and I will always happily be second best to the gentle, good woman who taught me so many ways to love and care for her son and grandsons. She welcomed a silly and immature girl into the family and helped me grow, learn, do. I never saw her be mean, or pretty, or gossip, or criticize. How many people do you know that you can say that about? For me it is one.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Mean or petty, apologies.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Lucille says:

      You were blessed with what the British call “homely” women in your life…meaning those for whom homemaking isn’t a chore but instead akin to a folk art. These women love to pass on to the next generations tried and true recipes, or home decorating on a shoestring, or DIY projects, and ways to keep a family close and happy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Pa Hermit says:

    Thanks to all who sparked a memory or two about my mom. She left us in 1980. Dad, in ’82. Strange how sometimes they go so together so quickly. My mom and dad were older also when they had me. Guess that’s what a WW II will do to ya! Memories, what makes life living for! Thanks again.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Pa Hermit says:

      I remember dad writing in a letter to my mother while in the military. “The Golden gate in 48.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Pa Hermit says:

        I should have said “reading in a letter” instead of writing in a letter. Makes it sound like I was there, LOL. I was born in ’50. This is what my mom referred to when she would say, I was so Dutch!

        Liked by 3 people

  6. FrankieZee says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the Patriotic Moms.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. nyetneetot says:

    Happy mother’s day!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. texan59 says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, y’all. Thank you for taking care of wayward souls like me. 😉

    Liked by 6 people

  9. just stevie says:

    Happy Mother’s Day!!!

    Thank you Stella for the re-post! I’ve never read it before..so beautiful! And that video made me cry and cry…..awesome post!

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply to Lucille Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.