Tag Archives: moms

Saturday Night Live

Time is a figure eight, at its center the city of Deja Vu. ~ Robert Brault

Somewhere in the middle of the night last night, I dreamt that my mother and my mother-in-law were having coffee together. I’m not sure what prompted it, but I awoke with a feeling of warmth and comfort, as though they hugged me on the way out the door. I miss those hugs. It’s been only seven weeks since my mother-in-law passed away, nearly two decades since I lost my mother. Although they never met, I can certainly picture the conversations they were having in my dream, how talk of music and dancing and, of course, their children filled the time.

As I spend another Saturday night in a hospital, the sense of déjà vu cycles around again. My husband was readmitted on Monday and had (minor) surgery on Wednesday. Word from the doctor is that he should get to come home on Monday. So here I am, after many hours at his side, now watching him peacefully sleep the evening away, his gentle snoring comforting in its regularity. And on the television is Lawrence Welk.

Mom and I spent many hours watching the Lawrence Welk Show, both when I was a child and later, when my hospital hours were spent at her bedside those last two years she was alive. Familiar and harkening to happy times, the show brought her comfort and moments where she felt like “her old self,” as she would call it.

Tonight I feel that comfort, that sentimental familiarity cloak me for the hour of the show. Past and present, then and now tied up in a knot of the present. Another hospital, another Saturday night watching over someone I love. Another wunnerful, wunnerful Saturday night.

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Another Angel

Mom K

“If our family was an airline, Mom was the hub and we were the spokes. You rarely went anywhere nonstop; you went via Mom, who directed the traffic flow and determined the priorities: which family member was cleared for takeoff or landing. Even my father was not immune to Mom’s scheduling, though he was given more leeway than the rest of us.”
― Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

[Lynda’s note: Our hearts are heavy at the loss but ever thankful for the privilege of loving my husband’s mom, my second mom, who passed away last Friday evening. No daughter-in-law was ever more blessed than I was by her love. We will miss her, and her gravy, more than words can ever say. The challenge is made greater by the fact that my husband, now 5 months plus in the hospital, will not be able to travel to the services, though he will be there in spirit and in heart through me.

As we remember her, it’s inevitable that I recall losing my mother, now some 18 years ago. The parable I read at her funeral is no less true of my mother-in-law, so I’ll share this post again today. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers as we learn our new “routes”.]

In going through some of my mom’s writings and collected notes following her death, I found a notebook where she wrote down some of her favorite quotations and stories. It’s a habit I inherited and continue to this day. The story below was in that notebook, where Mom had copied it over from where ever she read it. At her funeral, we asked family and friends to read a piece or share their thoughts. This is what I read, from her notebook:

A Living Presence (A Parable for Mothers)
By: Temple Bailey

The young mother set her foot on the path of Life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her Guide said: “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”

But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed with them in the streams, and the sun shone on them, and life was good, and the young mother cried: “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this”.

Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle and the children said: “Oh, Mother, we are not afraid for you are near, and no harm can come.” And the mother said: “This is better than the brightest of days, for I have taught my children courage.”

And the morning came and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children: “A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top, they said: “We could not have done it without you, Mother.” And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked up at the stars and said: “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of difficulty. Yesterday I gave them courage, Today I have given them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth – clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: “Look up! Lift your eyes to the light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said: “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on, and the months and the years, and the mother grew old, and she was small and bent. But her children were strong and tall and walked with courage. And when the way was hard, they helped their mother; and when the way was rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And the mother said: “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.”

And the children said: “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.” And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: “We cannot see her, but she is with us. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.”

Mom K and PK

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Happy Mother’s Day

my two moms

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~ Robert Brault

Those lovely ladies up there are my two moms. The one on the left is my mother, whom I miss dearly, on this day especially.

The one on the right is my second mom, the mom I inherited when I married my husband and became part of his family, too. She reminds me so much of my mother that I often tell my husband she could have been my mom’s baby sister. And I know I’m so very fortunate to have a second mom whose love runs as deep as my mom’s.

If you’d like to read more about these wonderful women, please check out the “moms” tag for some of my previous posts.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Jezebel Doing the Town

Portrait of My Mother

My Mother, circa 1943-1944

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power ~ Maya Angelou

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know that I love sharing my mother’s stories. Not only was she a remarkable woman of great personal strength and character, she had a unique perspective on life. At the center of that was her sense of humor and her Nellie-Forbush sense of cockeyed optimism. She could also tell the best stories, often at her own expense. I’ve been saving this one, which is one of my favorites, for just the right moment, and since today is J-day on the A-to-Z challenge, it’s a perfect fit. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in…..

I met Kenneth when I was fourteen at a church convention. He was tall, dark, and handsome, or perhaps I was young, naive, and easily persuaded. When I was fifteen, he asked me to go to a church skating party, our first date, and on my sixteenth birthday, he gave me an engagement ring. We were married when I was seventeen, in June 1942. Ken joined the navy, finished boot camp and entered radio school in Chicago. I got a free ride from home to Chicago, only to arrive at 11 p.m. to find lodging, a job, and my husband. We lived in Chicago six months.

While in Chicago, she worked at the Rock Island arsenal and earned extra money singing and dancing on stage for USO Shows, at veteran’s hospitals, and for private parties. After Ken completed his tour of duty in the Pacific at the end of World War II, the couple returned home to Iowa, where Ken eventually decided to continue a family tradition and enter the seminary, eventually becoming the fifteenth minister in his family. As part of his education, he became a pastor for various churches around Iowa, which meant that housing often came with the job.

Living in a parsonage is somewhat like living in a fishbowl. Everyone told me so. Especially if you “care” what the neighbors think and care and say about you, especially in a small town. It really never upset me. I always had wonderful neighbors, and they always knew my business, whether I wanted them to or not.

The couple moved around several towns as Ken experienced working for different churches. Finally, they were able to settle into the church at Corydon, Iowa, to enjoy a nice, peaceful service to the church and community. Or so they thought…..

When we applied for the church at Corydon, Iowa, we were told one of the events of the upcoming summer was to be their centennial celebration. We accepted the call in May, planning to move in the latter part of June. Ken immediately began to grow a beard, which I think he always wanted to do and finally had an excuse with the centennial. When we moved in, the congregation was so pleased he was interested in their ventures, they wanted me to be involved in them also.

The centennial celebrations lasted several days, and on the last day, they were going to have a style show of “old outfits.” Would I wear a gown and be in it? I said sure and got out an old full-skirted formal of mine. It had a red taffeta bottom and a black, tight-fitting top.

Mom in her Jezebel dress

Mom in her infamous Jezebel dress

I gathered the back of the skirt, made of 15 yards of scarlet taffeta, up into a hoop and felt very “old” and “original” looking in this bright red bustle. When I arrived at the style show, I was handed a card and pencil and was told to fill out the following information: Name of participant, original owner of gown, date gown worn, occasion on which gown was worn, and any other pertinent information about the authentic gown.

I knew immediately I had not been properly informed, and we were to hand our cards to the announcer of the style show as we walked onto the stage. Not one to back out of anything I start, I simply wrote across my card: “Replica of the gown worn by Jezebel doing the town.” I walked across that stage with all of the authenticity I could muster. I ended up winning second place.

A newspaper reporter came to our home a week later to interview the new preacher and his wife, since I had “won” as Jezebel. He asked the usual questions, and we responded with the best and most honest answers we could. We thought everything had gone quite well, until we saw the headline in print the following week: Former Showgirl Is Now Housewife at Corydon. It took a few explanations to get over that.

As the reporter noted in the article, “up until this story gets out, they have been held in high regard by everyone in the community.”

[Note: This post is #10 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button on the right of the page for more information.
Last year’s “J” post: Jabberwocky.]

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Good Gravy

Mom K making her gravy

[Lynda’s note: I’m off today celebrating the Easter holiday at a family dinner, so I’m leaving you with a post I originally wrote back in November 2011 after our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. It’s appropriate today as well, since we’re gathering again around the table. Have a great weekend!]

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage. ~ Erma Bombeck

It’s that time of year again. That week where the focus is one of giving thanks, being thankful for all the things we have (and for those that we do not have as well). As Thanksgiving comes around, so does the remembering of holidays past.

For many, including me, a lot of those great memories revolve around the dinners that are served, the time spent with family gathered around the table. And that table — full of favorite foods and special ones, too, ones that only appear at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The sounds of cheery conversation are underscored with strains of holiday music. And wafting over all of that are the aromas of the dinner to come.

The centerpiece of many a holiday dinner, especially at Thanksgiving, is the turkey (and no, not the one crazy relative who, in all likelihood, is a turkey…..). This year we’re having another mammoth turkey. I kid you not – it looks like a young child (and not really that young!). Rumor has it the bird this year weighs in at 38 pounds! One of my brothers-in-law hosts Thanksgiving, and when his oven heard the news, it promptly died.

Quit.

On the spot.

“No way,” I imagine the conversation began, “are you doing that to me.”

For you see, back in 2009, we had another pterodactyl-esque turkey, which, if I’m remembering correctly, was about 37 pounds. We have pictures.

Thanksgiving 2009 - our 37 pound turkey

See? I wasn’t kidding on the size. The thing was huge.

But for me it isn’t so much about the bird as it is the gravy.

Good gravy.

The very best gravy.

The gravy that is so awesome and amazing that it should be classified as its own food group.

My mother-in-law makes this amazing concoction. That’s her, up in the picture at the top of this post, beginning the process, using those luscious turkey juices from the roasting pan as a base. I swear she has some magic potion, some special mother-powers, where she chants “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” and waves a magic wooden spoon, and the gravy appears. She swears not. But nobody in the family can quite replicate whatever combination of patience, spices, and stirring produces a gravy so dark brown, so smooth, and so amazingly delicious.

It’s darn good gravy.

Is there a special holiday food you look forward to?

[Note: This post is #7 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button on the right of the page for more information.
Last year’s “G” post: Gladly Beyond.]

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