Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another Mother's Day

Another year has passed without her. When I was a little girl, my mother sewed amazing, elaborate outfits for my dolls, including intricately knitted Barbie-size ski sweaters. But she really wasn’t a good cook. Maybe that ability, or desire, or both, skips a generation. Her mother was a traditional Southern cook whose Sunday dinners consisted of fried chicken, biscuits and fresh vegetables from my grandfather's garden. I think my mother saw food as a necessity rather than something to enjoy. She delegated much of the cooking to me by the time I was in junior high school. 

I was raised on packaged foods-canned, frozen and boxed. I never had fresh peaches, pineapple or pears, only canned. Chinese and Italian food came from a can as well. When we were growing up, my mother made us eat food that I considered inedible (and still do): creamed chip beef on toast, oyster stew and brussel sprouts. I would lock myself in my room rather than face some of these meals.

In spite of the cringe factor, food binds us together as families. Both good food and bad contribute to the memories we share. My mother would eat most anything, but she particularly despised green peas. As adults, we had an understanding. Whenever she came to visit I would serve her peas, which I love, in repayment for all the disgusting food she served me as a child. She understood and always ate every last pea in penance for the food of my childhood.

My mother died six years ago. Her departure leaves a hole in my life that can never be filled. Today, on Mother's Day, I would give anything to be serving her another plate of peas.

A good friend recently sat with her mother for most of two months as she slipped away, dying of cancer. Her mother was only 63. My mother died suddenly with no opportunity for me to say goodbye. I’m not sure which is harder. At least my mother was much older. As a 12-year hospice volunteer, I have seen many variations of loss. But today I think of all of us who have lost our mothers and reflect on their lives and how they made us who we are. And if you are fortunate enough to still have a loving mother, cherish your time together.

(Adapted from an earlier post)

4 comments:

  1. Happy Mother's Day Judi, sorry it has to be spent without your mom by your side. Sounds like you have wonderful memories of her.

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  2. Wow! What a beautiful, beautiful post, Judy! I sit here typing with tears running down my cheeks. We celebrated last night with some wonderful comfort food (homemade by my sisters and me) with my mom sitting proudly at the head of the table. (Comfort food that my mom taught us to cook...she's an amazing one.) Seeing her so skinny and frail is hard. But we all cried when telling her what an incredible, loving mom she is and how blessed we feel to have her with us this Mother's Day. What a gift to have her with us, despite her cancer battle, and be able cherish each moment. I can't imagine how profoundly painful it would be to have her gone overnight- with no warning- like you said happened to your mother. I'm so sorry!

    I had a wonderful (older) friend tell me once that you NEVER get over losing your parents. And you NEVER get over missing your mother. Your mom must have been a terrific mother, considering what a wonderful mom you are! (And that picture--adorable! She was a beautiful woman!) Hugs!

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  3. I know exactly how you feel. My Mom passed away four years ago. I still miss her every day. She, too, used to make clothes for my Barbie -- out of leftover material from when she made me my own clothes. I swear, you just wish you could turn back the clock sometimes to re-live those moments so that you could really, really appreciate them more the second time around. No one can ever replace a Mom. And no Mom can ever be forgotten.

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  4. Judy.... I'm a little behind, but your post is simply beautiful. I feel so close to my children and I desperately hope that I'm here for years and years to come. Mostly it's selfish as I don't want to miss any part of their lives, but I want to be there to help them when they need it. I'm lucky enough to have my mother only 5 miles away, and I really need to make an effort to see her more often. We talk daily, but the actual being together would be even better.
    Thanks for putting it all so nicely in this post... you've got tears in my eyes...

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