My Mother’s House


Thinking of my mother…a post written long ago in 2013

Yesterday, I said, “Good-Bye,” to my mother’s house. The one she and my father shared for over twenty years. Made of white stucco with a red tile roof, and a lovely front portico hovering over the dual wooden door. To all others, it’s a typical ‘Arizona’ house, but to me, it will forever remain my mother’s house.

My parents moved to this home sometime in 1989. I was a proud realtor back then and sold it to them. It wasn’t far from where I lived, just around the corner. My little family of three lived close enough to see. My parents followed us from their home in Michigan to escape the cold and the poor economy at the time. There were other reasons too. They had relatives who lived there, my mother’s sisters and an aunt, and my younger brother too.

I knew this day would come, and it’s time for it now. My mother’s been gone over three years. My father didn’t rush, he grieved as he should. Sand passed through the hour-glass, and things settled down as I knew they would. This is the last step in the order of things. My dad is ready now. He has moved on with his life and has a new place to go. I am happy for him. My siblings are too. He is 81 years old. What a treat it is to see him laugh and play, to sing and dance his early night away!

There is a sign in my mother’s front yard that says, “For Sale.” An offer to buy is being negotiated today. I may never step inside my mother’s house again on any given day. I knew it yesterday. I walked slowly through each and every room, soaking up memories of the past. Glancing up and down, brushing floors with fingers, tenderly touching walls with warm cheeks, and gazing at mirrors with pictures only I can see.  Memories everywhere….  The food she cooked, the holidays we spent, our children who slept on the floor in front of the fireplace. Oh, the fun we had!  The lemon pie she baked from scratch, the bird bath in the back, the wind chimes singing on the patio, and the blooming yellow roses planted everywhere.  They were her favorites flowers you know.  And, if I close my eyes ever so tight, I can almost see her there. She’s bending down to smell a new bloom or nipping a fresh bud to place in her favorite aqua-blue vase. She’s truly beautiful looking this way.  Always smiling at her carefully tended roses with the sun warming her precious porcelain face.

Memories everywhere….Sights and scents. The food she cooked, the holidays we spent, my children together with cousins who slept on the floor in front of a roaring holiday fireplace. Oh, the fun we had! The lemon pie she baked from scratch, the bird bath in the back, wind chimes singing on the patio, and the blooming yellow roses planted everywhere. They were her favorites flowers you know.  And, if I close my eyes ever so tight, I can almost see her there. Mother is kneeling down to smell a new bloom or nipping a fresh bud to place in her favorite aqua-blue vase. She’s truly beautiful. Always smiling at her carefully tended roses with the sun warming her precious porcelain face.

The big front door is closing now. As the old bronze lock clicks tight, I  shall forever be at my mother’s house, surrounded by yellow roses, soaking up the smile on her beautiful porcelain face…………

The Perfect Rose

Independent motion – can you help?


Please visit Sue’s blog to read her full post. Try to imagine your life without mobility. Surely we can all help her son to get the word out…or even do more. 🙏🏻

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

What would you give to make a dream come true if you woke to find yourself living a nightmare?

What would you feel if you could never again walk on a beach? Or go out alone in the snow…feel the stillness of a wood or cross a field?

And then, you found a way…

In 2009, my son was a successful young man with a bright future… until he was stabbed through the brain in an unprovoked attack and left for dead in an alley.

He was found almost immediately by passers-by who saved his life. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Nick was being prepared for emergency brain surgery. We were allowed to see him, for a few minutes, to say goodbye. He was not expected to survive…


Over the past couple of years, many in the blogging community have come to know my son and know…

View original post 485 more words

Oh, What a Wonderful World


Earlier, I began to write on a topic totally different from what you are reading. As I was polishing my words, editing and spell checking, a random melody of What a Wonderful World, quietly began to play from an app recently pressed on my iPhone. A small speaker of silver encased in turquoise blue sat atop the crowded corner of my half-moon desk. Suddenly, my body halted in a burgundy swivel chair. Fingers of ten lifted up, freezing in position. I was utterly still while listening to lyrics strumming from a soothing Hawaiian ukulele. I hadn’t heard this song since last month when I chose it for Eileen’s, memorial service.  Eileen, my father’s wife of 142 days who passed away from cancer.

Things happen in life that we don’t often understand at the time. Later, something may trigger us to look back with fresh eyes, opening a window to a new meaning or purpose of such. This moment of clarity happened seconds ago which I will share with you now.

Last month while flying to Phoenix for Eileen’s service, a beautiful young woman with several long, dark braids and wearing a patterned paisley scarf tied around her head sat in the window seat next to me. During the three and a half hour-long flight, I closed my droopy eyes to catch a nap. Suddenly, something cold landed on my sleeveless arm. My eyes popped open. Near my wrist, a small plastic pellet, cold as ice rested comfortably. Taken aback, I flicked it off my arm with my index finger. The girl/woman had fallen asleep, her partially covered head rested against the airplane window with braids tossed this way and that. Her scarf was twisted, revealing a cap of white underneath.

Directly in the row ahead of us, a mother was busy juggling twins, a girl and a boy who jumped up and down when a smiling flight attendant appeared carrying a tray of sweets. One at a time, she served them soft, chocolate chip cookies. The commotion woke the young woman next to me who began to talk playfully with the children ahead of us.

“Mmmm, I bet those are really good cookies,” she exclaimed! “I have twins, too,” she added, smiling at the children’s mother. “Two little girls, six years old.” “How great! My kids just turned four,” the other mom, replied.

Naturally, I couldn’t help myself. “I have twin grand-babies” I added, leaning in to my seat-mate. “Two girls, like you. They’re just over a year old.” From that moment on we bonded, sharing family photographs while getting to know one another. Shortly before landing, she explained that her family lived in China, where her husband worked for a major New York investment firm. She added that she felt extremely guilty for leaving him there while she came to America (Phoenix) for cancer treatment. My heart stopped.

“No, this can’t be, I thought to myself. “She’s too young. I can’t bear to hear this. Not on this trip. Not now.”

“What do you think,” she asked. “Is there any better place for treatment?”

Gathering my composure, I took her hand and smiled with self-determination. “I think Phoenix has some of the best treatment options available,” I answered. “As good or better than anywhere in the world,” I added with enthusiasm.

“Do you really believe that?”

“Yes,” I answered, honestly, which I did. Looking directly into her eyes, I told her not to feel guilty, that she should concentrate on getting well. For the next few minutes, I gave her a pep talk of sorts, insisting that she put herself first and foremost. I asked her to concentrate on getting well for herself, as well as her family; to never stop thinking of those precious little girls who so needed their mama.

Just before landing, she asked, “What brings you to Phoenix?”

“Oh, just a brief visit with my father,” I answered, misty-eyed, smiling slightly.

*Below is a prayer I wrote that accompanied What a Wonderful World, at Eileen’s service. Today it has a new meaning for me, a new purpose. Surely, Eileen is an Angel….yes, the young mother’s Angel. Eileen sits beside her through each and every cancer treatment. Eileen dries her tears, eases her loneliness and eventually, will reunite her with family. And, yes, the young mother will be happy and healthy, living to raise her daughters into womanhood.

Oh, What a Wonderful World.

Angel Prayer-

Before the sun shall rise again, darkness descends upon the earth

And, though I do not see, nor hear, nor touch…

What lies beyond the ink of skies above

My faith surpasses any doubt of where I soon shall fly…

Be still all earthly pain, and hush my labored breaths

Blanket weary lids, and rest ‘till morning dawn…

View these beautiful Angel wings above favorite desert peaks

For He has grasped my hand in Heaven 

So full of joy it spills forth

With light and love…

Gaze with me as glory casts golden rays

For now and all eternity.

                   ~Amen~

 

Memories of Missing and Loving…..


The earliest memory of my mother ironically is of missing her. Like I do today. She was and is away. As a child of four, I wasn’t able to reason, or understand why. I couldn’t even try.

A tiny house of six hundred square feet in pale pink. I remember the kitchen having black speckles on the floor and there was a polished white sink. Frilly curtains of sheer at the window above. Two bedrooms, I think. My little brother and I shared a room so small our fingers touched from one bed of maple lacquer to the next.

It was Christmas morning, and Mother was not there. She was in the hospital cradling a new baby sister who was born on the Eve before. Snapshots are in my mind of sitting in warm flannel near a perfect tree decorated delightfully. Full and bright in colored lights, it brushed the whole of the room. Presents galore. A galloping black rocking horse on red springs for my brother, plus a Chatty Cathy doll dressed in a blue cotton dress for me. She was like magic! Pull a ring of plastic white and she talked to me. Yes, really talked to me! Daddy and Grandpa were there too, but no Mommy to see.

My mother was a wonderful mother. Not a perfect mother but she did her very best. She raised five children, one who nearly died at birth, and struggled thereafter. Mother coped silently with severe anxiety and depression, yet pushed through to better herself personally and professionally. In spite of only a tenth-grade education, she surpassed every goal she ever set for herself and was probably the hardest working woman I ever knew. She was beautiful and creative, kind to others and loved all people.

That was then, this is now. Mother’s Day is nearly upon us. Yet, today the same feeling of missing my mother is still deep inside of me…almost tangible. It’s as if I’m a child of four kneeling at the foot of the Christmas tree whose mother is away again. Except this time, I’m all grown up. She’s not coming back. The painful perception of abandonment. For whatever reason perhaps this feeling has never left me?

The rocking horse under the Christmas tree has jumped from his springs of red to ride out to pastures of green where my mother rests in peace today. Chatty Cathy hopped upon his saddle to perhaps watch over her. Pull a string behind her neck to hear three sweet words never to forget,“I Love You.”

Happy Mother’s Day

*Dedicated to all mothers, particularly those who suffer from depression, anxiety or any other mental disorder.mom and dad

*Mother and Father. My favorite picture of them, circa early 1970’s

Birthdays with Daddy and the Mommies Behind Them


As a young girl, I remember my mother sewing me a special dress of flowered cotton just before my big day. She braided my long hair of dark blonde before tying ribbons to match near the bottom of each. Then a kiss on my pink cheek. Both, I think.

Ding-dong, the front doorbell rang. Mother made a huge production of who might be standing behind the honey colored, wooden door. I remember getting so excited until I jumped up and down in my patent leather, May Jane shoes. The bell rang again. Slowly, Mother opened the door. I clapped my hands. “Open it, open it,” I begged! My heart skipped a beat. Slowly, Mother turned the shiny brass of the round knob to open the door. It squeaked and swung inside to the right. It was Daddy! Daddy stood behind the honey colored, wooden door

I remember my father being all dressed up in his very best suit and tie, probably his only suit and tie. I was four or five years old at the time, with love spilling out of every pore. He smiled before coming inside. Within the two of his hands, he held a white box, the kind I had never seen before. Handing it to me, Mother helped the two of us open it. Inside was a corsage made of a single pink carnation accented with a beautiful satin bow. If I close my eyes tight, I can smell the sweet scent of it even now. Mother helped Daddy pin the corsage on my pretty new dress. I remember the pin was long and silver. At the end, it had a beautiful pearl of white. Seconds later, I learned my daddy was taking me on a date, just the two of us!

This soon became a birthday tradition for me. For several years, I pretended to be surprised when the doorbell rang at the sight of my father just before dinnertime. Every year he carried a flower corsage and fumbled with his fingers when he tried to pin it to my new dress. Mother rescued him from the shadows each and every year. My father was ever the gentleman, opening the car door for me, taking my arm when we went into a restaurant and helping to pick out magic music on the jukebox. I remember dancing atop his shoes in ruffled stockings on my feet……Afterward, we went to the famous Bay City, City Dairy where we gobbled hot fudge sundaes while sitting on red stools at their Formica counter.

In looking back those were treasured birthdays for me. Traditions created by my mother, no doubt. Oddly enough, I didn’t think of them yesterday which was my birthday. No, the memories flooded me today. Why? Because it’s my mother’s birthday. I’ve been thinking of her all day long. How selfless she was! It was always about my birthday, never about hers which fell the very next day. I suppose this is what all mother’s do.

Happy 80th Birthday, Mother. Thank you for who you were, for all you gave to me and others, and for the memories held deep within my heart. I love you yesterday, today and tomorrow.

pink corsage

 

Gifts That Only God Can Provide


Yesterday I was flooded with last year’s same day of memories. My ‘Babies of Two’ amazon.com/author/2babiesauthor celebrated their first birthday. A year ago they had been born into this world, taken from their mother’s womb with hopes and prayers that all would be well. It was December 18th 2014.

Last January began and blossomed just as my youngest son met and married a beautiful girl. Before long, springtime was in the air. New life sprouted here and there and everywhere. Grass turned lush and green, flowers bloomed with scents so sweet and birds began to tweet. Soon came an announcement that a new baby was expected the following year. A few weeks later, a surprise for everyone. “We’re going to have twins!”

Often, I drove my daughter-in-law to her doctor’s appointments where an ultrasound machine was in the room. Lights were tuned down low. My face felt all aglow. Directly in front of us was a large screen shining as though lit from behind. Shades of black and white appeared with undertones of dove gray. Little shapes unknown became grand-babies right before my eyes! I thought my heart would stop then and there.

‘Babies of Two’ were not due until early 2015, the time of year when snow starts to settle on branches of trees and into the tracks of animals on curving paths in between. But, from early October until nearly the end, tiny lives and that of their mother were often in jeopardy. Every precaution was taken to prevent and stop early labor until finally nothing more could be done. God had decided the day had come.

Early in the afternoon of December 18th, 2014‘Babies of Two’ arrived one by one. My son was in the delivery room where he comforted his wife while his daughters of newborn were carefully delivered. Immediately afterward they were whisked off to a Special Care Nursery to be monitored 24/7.

Exactly one week later, in the moon of Christmas night, ‘Babies of Two’ snuggled and cuddled next to each other in a cradle of their very own. Out of the hospital and under the roof of their very first home.

Gifts that only God can provide…

Celebrating Mother


rose black good

 

Five years forever whispers in my ear.  Five…five….five…five.  Warm breaths with tender lips barely brushing cheeks.  Last kisses of inevitable goodbyes.

Life-time sentiments of love between a mother and daughter.  I remember gently climbing into her over-sized bed to fluff pillows of down.  Wanting to snuggle close.  Careful now. Fragility.  With every movement of the mattress her body cried out in pain.  An agony of my own if you will yet one I prayed to never know.

Clasping hands, hers was tiny.  Blue-white from lack of oxygen, but soft and smooth. The feeling of velvet with a faint hint of lavender lotion.  I held fingers to the rose-colored lamp under the tip of my nose to breathe in the scent of her, wanting to remember it always and forever.

Looking around the room, Mother reminded me of one of her treasured porcelain baby dolls protected behind doors of glass.  So infantile she was lying in a near fetal position in order to be comfortable.  If only I could do the same for her, much like her beloved cabinet full of heart, http://wp.me/p41md8-14b.

Still, we were awarded brief moments of heartfelt joy.  Memories of thankfulness never to be replaced.   Mother’s head resting upon my shoulder while movies of color played before our eyes of four.  Laughter.  Sharing cookies and cocoa.  Crumbs in the bed.  Warm, labored breaths upon my neck.  Closeness and bonding came full circle.  Sheets of cool cotton beneath chins of two.  Understanding. ComfortAcceptanceLovePeace.  We had it all during that those last few days before she was ready to go.

When lids opened from brief respite, it was a time for conversations in the shadows of the night.  Insignificant at first, we danced around the truth before the music stopped.  “Take care of Daddy…”  Near the end of my mother’s life this was her main concern.  She feared the love of her own would be left alone.  Squeezing her hand lightly, no more words were needed.  She had her answer then.  She rested.

Prologue:

It’s ironic that today, five years after my mother’s passing my husband and I are attending a neighborhood potluck of Thanksgiving.  Before realizing the date, I searched for a special recipe to cook, one that I knew my friends would enjoy.  Digging into mother’s mixed box of handwritten 3X5 cards, I finally discovered exactly what was meant to be.  Pulling the recipe from a clear plastic container, there was her familiar handwriting, scripted in wooden pencil.   Now faded, the yellowed index card is curled in the left hand corner where it’s nearly torn.  Splashed upon it are droplets of tomato sauce, dried from my mother’s days of cooking long ago.

I’m celebrating Mother today by sharing her recipe with all of you.  An unusual one perhaps, but delicious!

Wieners in Tomato Sauce (I think my mother simply made up a name)

1 lb. wieners

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 slices of chopped sweet onion

1 large chopped green pepper

½ c sugar

Dash of salt & pepper

Bring all of the above to boil-then turn down flame & thicken with 2 T mixed flour & water.  Simmer approximately two hours, covered. *Serves 4-6

**I tend to cook in larger quantities, doubling or tripling the recipe (except for the sugar) and putting it in my crock pot to cook the whole day through.

Recipe

 

To Touch Imagination


Charlotte Family with a young child and a baby has their portrait made in an outdoor field by professional photographer.

Imagination creates wonder while touch teaches magic.”

Kim Gosselin

*photo courtesy of Google

 

Imagination

To touch imagination 

How magical it would be

If ever a child again

I’d reach out to see

Closing my lids 

To squeeze them ever so slight

While plopping upon pillows 

Praying to dream during the night

When eyes open wide 

In dawn of the morn

She’s right by my side

Grasping my hand

Skipping out the door

My dream is awake

To see wonder…

Touch magic…

Of Mother’s imagination

Butterflies are dancing on branches of trees

Feeling flutters, smiling, giggles, teaching wonders

Heaven’s softness is kissing my skin

Tilt your head now for melodies that woo

Freedom that flies in your imagination too

Motherhood Bliss


The core of Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons which began nearly two years ago.  Edited and re-posted for you.

“Who Takes The Child By The Hand Takes The Mother By The Heart” An Old German Saying

The moment I became a mother my heart was no longer my own.  On that very first day and forever more it would beat for two, together with any children born to me afterward.  Thump, thump…..thump, thump…..thump, thump.

Minutes after birthing my first child, my husband took hold of our slippery newborn who soon grasped my forefinger with his own.  Exhausted from labor yet overwhelmed with wonder, I gazed at the tiny miracle held before me.

My baby boy was pronounced perfect with an apgar score of 10!  His pediatrician ordered the prerequisite blood samples which surely guaranteed a lifetime of health and happiness.  I remember wincing when the nurse pricked his heel.  His pain was my pain.  I cried when he cried.  Later, the doctor came by to tell me his blood sugar was a bit on the “low” side.  “No big deal, nothing to worry about,” the good doctor said.   A tiny drop of glucose was given via IV.  Barely a drip, no bigger than the head of a straight silver pin.    

If an angel dressed in heavenly white suddenly appeared presenting a painted portrait of my future as a mother living with Chronic Conditions, would it have made any difference? Would diabetes have made me love my son any less?  Would it have caused me to pause in any way or hesitate on any given day?  No, never, not in a million years!  My own angel lay swaddled in tiny bed of clear where the sight, smell and touch of him melted the whole of my body and soul.  He was perfect in every way. He would be in the future and forever to come.

*Even more so today.  Such a blessed life we live!  I love you, Jay.

“Who takes the child by the hand takes the mother by the heart”  An Old German Saying

antique mother & babe