These were the days when you could count on a hug and a smile to greet you after an afternoon nap. Tears could be kissed away, playdough was entertaining, and it was okay if your socks didn't match. Bubble baths caused great excitement, and we were thrilled to each have a turn holding the backyard hose while filling up the "baby" pool. Little Mermaid swimsuits and blow-up water toys created absolute euphoria.
There was much clapping, jumping, dancing in the living room, singing in the car, and giggling at the dinner table. A bad day was when you were running low on diapers, had to administer a spoonful of medicine, or take them both to the grocery store because Dad was working late. We always came home with extra boxes of brightly colored cereal, not really needed.
We all looked forward to our evening walks, and bedtime routines included patiently listening to an endless prayer list. Everyone got a "God Bless..." including the cat, usually more than once. Bedtime stories were also insisted upon. You could never skip a page of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" (Mr. Grumps tried many times), and to this day, I can pretty much recite the entire book by heart. I'm sure each of you can add to this posting with similar memories and routines that seem like they happened yesterday. Moments that you would wish back in an instant, if it were possible. Talk about these treasured times with Mr. Grumps, and you will see little tears, along with a melancholy grin. Gets him every time.
At our little house in the early 90's, there was no pain of rejection, struggle for academic achievement, worry of social acceptance, broken hearts, or sting of high school gossip. Every game was played for fun, and we cheered for the loser. Ice cream cones were served after a bike injury, soon followed by gentle encouragement to get back on and try again. We had neighborhood friends and family who always seemed to be free on Saturday night for sleepovers, get togethers and August barbecues. Life was simple; wonderful, and it went by much too fast.
Mother's Day can be bittersweet for many of us. It can be a time of celebration or a time of fond remembrance. For me, I am blessed that it is both. I cherish this day because I am filled with pride for my girls, now grown and beginning to find their own paths. They are smart, compassionate and determined individuals; I am so proud to be their mom. Looking back to my own childhood, I was fortunate to be raised by three, loving, nurturing women. Each had a hand in helping to create who I am today, and each taught me in their own way, the importance of love and forgiveness.
This is a "four generation" picture, photographed at my great grandmother's small farm in Memphis, New York, 1961. (Yes, that's me with the sorry looking, naked doll.)
Each "mom" had her own distinct personality and belief system. Despite their differences, it was evident that they loved each other deeply, and I shared that affection as well.
I am thankful and blessed to have my mother with me this Mother's Day, and I will also take time to honor the memories, continued love and guidance from my grandmothers, now in spirit. They are close to my heart, and I can feel their presence around me each day. I believe that a mother's love, as well as a grandmother's, is neverending.
This weekend, I will be baking a pie. Why a pie? My grandmothers loved pie, and we sampled many versions over the years. No matter what the day or occasion, there was always pie to be had. I will think of them when I roll the dough as they did, thoroughly flour the rolling pin and counter, and make cinnamon jelly pinwheels with the crust trimmings. I know each of them would have their own suggestion as to the best way of doing it properly, or "secret" ingredient to add.
Thinking back on all the pies we shared, from chocolate to rhubarb (gross! ripped fresh from the backyard), the favorite family fruit pie was boysenberry. I don't even know where to buy fresh boysenberries this time of year, so I will make another fruit pie instead, and send my love and gratitude to my beautiful grandmothers, watching from heaven.