I am blessed that my mom is still around. She lets a few things slip now and then (don’t we all?), but when I think back, she is in some of my most treasured memories. As the mother of nine, (I could barely handle two), she took wonderful care of us. Everything that she did was for the family. I have snapshots of her etched in my mind: sewing, shopping, cooking, washing, as well as “power” napping to get through each day.
Mom made beautiful clothes for us…with dressmaker details. We had smocked dresses w/matching scarves, embroidered dresses w/organza capes, white go-go dresses with layers of white fringe (2nd grade…eat your heart out Nancy Sinatra), adorable shifts with chain belts ala Twiggy, and gorgeous, lace-trimmed Communion gowns. And everything was lined. She even made our shorts for us–not just any shorts, but short sets. I remember one hot pink short set, with frog fasteners on the front. My sister and I looked like little baton twirlers (a Southern thing).
For holidays, Mom would go all out and we would set the table with the good china, crystal and silver. The centerpiece for Easter was always a magnolia snapped from the tree in the backyard (I don’t remember what the Thanksgiving or Christmas centerpiece looked like…I just loved the creamy white, scented magnolia flowers). At Thanksgiving, each of us would have a tiny bit of wine in a crystal goblet and either poached cinnamon pears or shrimp/red sauce in matching little crystal compotes. (Grace first, napkin in the lap, please.) Afterwards, she would bring a huge, stuffed turkey to the table and Dad would carve. In addition, we had the Thanksgiving staples of mashed potatoes w/real giblet gravy (from a roux!), peas, salad, fresh rolls, dressing, yams w/broiled marshmallows and fruit salad w/maraschino cherries and tiny marshmallows (love marshmallows!). And that was just Thanksgiving. This was repeated for Christmas and Easter (of course with different menus.), and anytime company came over. It was a family affair that you didn’t want to miss.
Mom made everyday a holiday; however, Easter was MY holiday. Mom would take us shopping for new hats (wide-brimmed for me, please), new Sunday shoes (I loved black patent maryjanes!), new gloves and a new white purse (My favorite was a small, boxy straw bag with pearl handles.). Of course, we had the requisite Easter dress that Mom made with loving care. My younger sister wasn’t crazy about all the fuss, but I absolutely loved it!
That was the glamorous stuff. Mom washed tons of laundry every week and brought us 7up or hot tea & crackers when we were sick in bed. Once, we ALL had the flu (Mom included). We camped out on the floor of Mom/Dad’s room on palettes, so she could go from one to the other to check temperatures, administer medicine and feed. She did this without complaint; for she truly loved us. She would sometimes nap in the afternoon and ask us to wake her in 15 minutes…I just never had the heart. Sundays, we got up early and went to Mass. As a family.
The point is, none of this would have happened without Mom.
And so Mom, we wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for all you have done for us. We love you.