Hi Mom ~ Bliss is being Blessed with a great Mom

White flowers.

In Memory of my Mom: White flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelle says: Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

Well, Michelle, it is Mother’s Day in Canada too—and I am going to take you up on your prompt—more for me than anything else.

Hi Mom!

Well, to start, I miss you. It has been 21 years now, and not a day goes by that I do not think of the creak in the stairs. An odd memory you might think—but it is one of my most vivid.

When I would come to visit you after I was  married, with toddler Adam firmly held by one hand, and baby Tyler balanced ever so precariously in my other arm, (precarious because he was always moving) I would knock on the front door after climbing the four steps to your covered front porch. Then, I would wait to hear the creak on the stairway which led from the upstairs of our house (it was still “our” house even though I did not live there anymore) to the main floor. That creak meant you were walking down the stairs and had hit the step that produced a loud raspy groan that announced any trip down (or up) the stairs (I remember avoiding it when I came in late as a kid and young adult). That squeak meant you were making your way from your sitting room upstairs (my old bedroom) to the front door to let me in—and I knew it was my invitation to just come in.

You would take Tyler from my arms and cuddle him with one arm, and hug Adam with the other. You were always, ALWAYS, glad to see us. You would shepherd us into the middle living room (an odd house—we had a front living room and middle living room that was once a dining room perhaps?) and offer us drinks and food and good conversation. And you would play with the boys—being a grandma was an interactive activity for you. I remember my grandmas were wonderful but they never, ever played with me or took me for walks or taught me things. You did all those things with your grandchildren.

You helped keep me sane as a young mom—and when you left this world for another, I was equipped to handle it.  Equipped but not happy to handle it without you—but as there was no choice I did the best I could.

Life has been good and bad, wonderful and awful over the last two decades. Lots has happened, but suffice to tell you the most important thing: the boys have grown up into fine young men (an odd clichéd thing to say—but true.)

This letter is more for me than you, because I think from where I imagine you to be, you are helping me out along the way and are aware of what is going on in my life and that of your other kids. You know our heartaches and our triumphs and I am sure you laugh and cry for us. I will always think of you as my personal cheerleader, someone who believed (and believes) in me and my brothers and sister. You are our guardian angel—we know that for sure.

There is no proper ending to a letter like this except: I love you mom ~ Lou

Published in: on May 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm  Comments (47)  
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Unbroken Sabbatical

While I am on a sabbatical from my blog, I still have to write my weekly column for the newspaper, so thought I would share it with you. I am not going to edit it into a post–this is how it will appear in the Kingsville Reporter this week (with a fifteen year old picture of me anchoring page 5.)

ON THE HOMEFRONT

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..

Happy..Happy.. Mother’s Day (Photo credit: Thai Jasmine)

 Happy Mom’s Day

  “I got to grow up with a mother who taught me to believe in me.” ~ Antonio Villaraigosa

My hope is that my children will be able to say that they got to grow up with a mother who taught them to believe in themselves. That is one of the greatest gifts I can think of, and it is a gift my mother bestowed on me. I have been a mother for over twenty-seven years. I lost my mom when I was thirty-nine, but in those thirty-nine years she taught me a lot. And one of the things she taught me was how to be a mom.  I am still working on it  ~  it takes a lot of practice.

 Not too long after I lost my mother, I met Ida Conklin (a well known lady in Kingsville) at the bank. She expressed her sympathy at my loss. She was a bit older than my mother but she told me that one never really gets over losing their mother. And she was so right. Even as I write this today, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. As Mother’s Day approaches, I would prefer that she were still here and that I not just have memories of her. But, the memories are many and they are precious.  I always have a hard time writing my Mother’s Day column because there is such a flood of memories—and I still cannot seem to put them in words. But, if you still have your mom, honour her. If your mom has gone to what I like to think of as a “better place” honour her memory. That is all I have to say…..for now, except Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, and goodnight.

 Another topic:

            As you know if you read this column on a somewhat regular basis, I have become a blogger—which is just another name for someone who has a presence in the ethereal regions of the internet. One of my favourite bloggers is Heidi@lightlycrunchy.wordpress.com. She has a very down home but sophisticated take on life that I really enjoy. She is not into existentialism, crazy metaphysical hokum, or super analyzing her pain and angst (at least not in her blog—but don’t get me wrong—I enjoy a little metaphysical hokum at times). She is ~ dare I say it, sensible, with a deft sense of humour. Here, just in time for spring is her post on what she intends to plant in her huge garden which she tends with the help of her family. She works outside the home and inside the home. Here is a little example of her life:

Today we cleaned up, the kids did a complete clean out of the barn and there was even a chance for a nap. I sorted through the seed order and am going to use this space to write them down. Last year I neglected to record anything and lost the packing slip, so I am leaving myself a list here where I can find it again when ordering time comes around next year. I am pretty good at keeping records, but lousy at remembering where I put them.

We’ll still have to purchase our seed potatoes, green pepper and hot pepper plants, tomatoes in several varieties and some onion sets, but this will be a good start. Next weekend we’ll start planting some seed.

dill

dill (Photo credit: sweet lil’ bunny)

Here is her order:

 2013 William Dam Seed Order: Basil – Italian Large Leaf Organic/Sweet Basil; Beans (bush) – Provider; Brussels Sprouts – Jade Cross Hybrid; Carrots – Nelson Hybrid/Baltimore Hybrid; Cucumber – Eureka Hybrid & Sweet Success Hybrid; Dill – Bouquet; Lettuce – Great Lakes 659/Buttercrunch/Bon Vivant Salad Mix/ Pinares; Melons – Diplomat Hybrid/Halona Hybrid; Onions – Ramrod/Camelot Hybrid; Parsley – Green Pearl Organic; Peas – Lincoln; Pumpkins-Dill’s Atlantic Giant/Mustang Hybrid/ Spooktacular Hybrid; Radish – Raxe; Rosemary; Sage; Spinach – Space Hybrid; Sunflower (Helianthus) – Mammoth Russian; Watermelon – Jade Star Hybrid, Full Lucky Hybrid; Zucchini – Spineless Beauty Hybrid; Leek – Jolant.”

            I know this list has some of you salivating—and your fingers are just itching to get into the soil, and I know enough to realize that you have probably already done a little planting.  Others (me included) are a little confused, yet impressed with all the seeds that Heidi has gathered, particularly the Spooktacular pumpkins and space spinach.

            Left to my own devices I would probably get a tomato plant or two—but my eldest son is raring to go on this year’s garden—so,… so be it. If you only want to garden in your mind, check out Heidi’s blog—she will keep you updated on her progress as well as show you the fruits of her labour – she cans and freezes and makes spaghetti sauce—and has a husband who cooks! (I love my husband, but I think I could love him just that bit more if he cooked.)

Then and Now

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As many of you know, I occasionally include my newspaper column on this blog. It is the 14th anniversary of my column “On The Homefront….and Beyond”, so I thought I would share it with you. It appears on p. 5 of the Kingsville Reporter:

I have been writing this column for fourteen years now. It started out as a joint venture with another writer friend of mine, Liz Moore, but after about ten months she moved to London and this space became mine. A lot has changed in 14 years. I was a young (young being relative here) mother then, with a 7 year old and 12 year old. The topics I wrote about then were a bit different than the topics I write about now.

Then, I wrote about sending my kids back to the first day of class in September, and performing a ritual “happy dance” until my oldest asked me not to do it anymore because it made him feel like I wanted to get rid of him. I understood, and I stopped doing the happy dance. And I quit humming “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year” to boot. After a summer of wracking my brain to find things to do to keep my kids from being perpetually bored, I was probably ready to have them back at school, but I did not want them to know that. And if I were honest, they were pretty good at keeping themselves busy and happy.

Today, my kids are in their twenties. One is away at college and is a computer genius (which you have to realize that to me, anyone who knows the ins and outs of a computer is a computer genius— still, I think he is brilliant—but I am his mother after all.) I call my eldest son a Rock God, which he is not really comfortable with, but he is getting used to me referring to him as such. And he does play a mean lead guitar. His band is called Rodents & Rebels. Not a name a mother would choose, but hey, they like it.

Then, I would write about our adventures in the soccer field, at the baseball diamond, and on the basketball court. Today, my kids talk about being “buff”, which I think means there is a six-pack in their future, whether it be the liquid kind, or the “arrangement of six bulges in the human abdomen” kind (this definition thanks to all-knowing, all-seeing Wikipedia).

Vacations back then took the form of camping trips, which was and is not a favourite past-time of mine. But in retrospect, with the nostalgia factor kicking in, camping really was a great family time—even if you had to sleep on the ground and walk half a block to a washroom where the showers were always cold. I remember waking up in the morning to coffee and eggs and bacon being cooked over an open fire in order to get me to “stay just one more day mom” and of course I would acquiesce.

English: Camping by Barriere Lake, Barriere, ,...

English: Camping by Barriere Lake, Barriere, , Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, organized vacations take the guise of attending out-of-town weddings or celebrations together, and are not necessarily vacations, but as a mom, I will take any time together with my grown-up kids.

Fourteen years ago things were different. Fourteen years are admittedly a long time in a family’s life—we have all grown a little older—some us have to dye our hair now, some of us do not have as much hair as we did then, and some of us are not home all the time. Sometimes I would give my eye teeth to have that time back, but I also like things as they are now. We still have a long way to go on our journey, and I will continue to let you in on our lives as they change over time.