Favorite Episodes: If you and I were able to have one last cup of coffee …

tvJanuary is a time for looking back at the prior year, our wins and losses.   Favorite Episodes is a way for me to look back at what I’ve written in 2015 that was well received by my readers while diving into my blog stats and editorial calendar.  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting little or no new original content. Instead I am reblogging some of my most popular posts from 2015 and developing a Favorite Episodes Season Three page in the process. Continue reading

If you and I were able to have one last cup of coffee …

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Image courtesy of artzenter at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If, today, you and I were able to sit at your kitchen table and talk over a cup of coffee just one last time, I would …

… tell you to pour some Sambuca (the good kind, not the generic anisette you always settled for) in our cups. Today is, after all, your eightieth birthday.

… bake you a batch of sesame cookies; the kind I cursed Stella D’Oro for not making anymore the year you were dying and kept asking for your favorite cookies. Continue reading

right number, wrong person …

My first blog post was about my mom on her birthday. Hard to believe that it has now been nearly ten years since she passed away and that today would’ve been her 80th birthday.

from the sticks to the bricks and back again

Today would’ve been my mother’s 78th birthday had she not lost her battle with lung cancer nearly seven and a half years ago.

It’s a day I try to observe in some way – some years I take the day off and honor my mom by spending time with my sisters and my nieces eating fried fish and spending some girl time together. Mom love fried seafood and over the years, we observed many of her birthdays at different clam shacks along the New England coast. Mom’s kitchen also was the original location for many of our family girls’ nights.

Other years, I observe her birthday in other ways. This year, the first entry in my new blog, from the sticks to the bricks and back again, is about her and I will visit her grave to pray and place flowers. I gave her lots of flowers while she was…

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Geraniums make me smile ….

Mother’s Day came and went. And, I did step out of my comfort zone.  In the process, I think I may have stumbled across a tradition that I could embrace going forward.

My day started out with a call from my godson Michael and his sweet six-year old daughter, Kendra wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  I eased into my day and called my sisters wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day.

Several hours passed and still I had not decided what I would do with my day.  I finally called my aunt and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day.  Casually, I mentioned that I was thinking of going shopping at our local outdoor mall and asked her if she wanted to go with me.  We agreed to leave in an hour and I nonchalantly told her not to eat suggesting we could grab lunch while we were out.  I did not want to make a big deal out of this outing.  Normally, my aunt would be at my youngest sister’s house but she was on softball mom duty – one of my nieces was playing in a tournament all weekend.

My relationship with my aunt is complicated – she is my godmother and my mother’s baby sister but we are not what I would call close.  I’ve never shared with her any of my emotions about Mother’s Day and the anniversary of my mom’s death.  On the one hand, I’m sure she can relate as my grandmother died 11 years ago and made her a motherless daughter.  But on the other hand, my conversations with my aunt just aren’t of an emotional nature.  I would describe our relationship as one obligated by birth.  The reality of my asking her to spend a few hours on Mother’s Day afternoon with me had less to do with her and more to do with my mom.  Given the circumstances of my aunt’s failing health and the unavailability of her favorite niece, my mom would want me to step up and do something nice for her sister.

So off we went shopping, it wasn’t so bad.  There were no altercations with grown daughters being excessively rude to their mothers even in the department stores.   I bought my first Christmas present for one of my nieces and actually wrapped it.  It was a great deal that I won’t get in season closer to Christmas.  This purchase is very ironic because as I have mentioned I am a procrastinator and buying a Christmas gift this early is crazy early for even the most organized person.  I was always the daughter who came rushing into the house, bags of presents in tow, an hour maybe two before our family gathered for Christmas Eve looking for wrapping paper, tape and scissors.  My mom would get a good laugh out of this early purchase and that it is already wrapped.

We went to lunch not at one of the nicer restaurants but at my aunt’s choice of Friendly’s because the wait at the other restaurants was 25 – 30 minutes.  Although my palate wanted something more than a fast food restaurant, I must concede that Friendly’s was a great choice.  It was a perfectly safe restaurant for me to be at on Mother’s Day; there were no adult women with their mothers, the clientele was either families with young children or the very elderly.

geraniumsAfter lunch, I went to Home Depot while my aunt did her grocery shopping.  I bought some potting soil and geraniums to plant in pots and planters.  Also, earlier than I normally manage to complete, usually my best is the end of May/mid -June.  I love geraniums because my mother loved geraniums.  When I walk up my walkway and onto my front porch and see the geraniums lining the stairs and the windows, even after the most difficult day, they make me smile.  Geraniums remind me of my mom and make me think of happy memories and I can’t help but smile.

My trip to Home Depot revealed to me how I could spend Mother’s Days from now on: planting geraniums and smiling.  And I know as that Sunday begins to fade, I will still feel relief in knowing that another Mother’s Day is passing and Monday is about to come once again.

Motherless Daughters on Mothers Day

Since my Mom passed away eight years ago today, Mothers Day has been difficult to the say the least. The first Mothers Day after Mom died, was more than painful falling the day after we buried her in a torrential spring storm – a bona fide New England Nor’easter complete with strong winds, rain cascading from the skies as if to wash away our tears, and flooding that prevented us from holding her services graveside.

If it is true that the first set of holidays after a loved one passes is the most difficult then that first Mothers Day was especially difficult. My childhood home that had no less than 24 hours before been filled with the sounds of people – family and friends – was excruciatingly quiet. The walls seemed to ooze with the heaviness of our grief. I was alone in the house that seemed emptier than I’d ever known it to be. This simple ranch where my parents had raised four daughters was never quiet. My parents built the house on a plot of land that three generations of my mother’s family prior to my generation had gathered for family events and gatherings and it had never known so much quiet. But that day, my three sisters were each with their families and I had sent my other half off to be with his mother; assuring both of them that if I felt like I needed company I would join them. One of my best friends invited me to join her and her family that day; which would have been perfectly comfortable as her parents were like mine. We all knew, however, that I would stay where I felt I should be holding vigil in my mother’s house.

In the Mothers Days that have followed, I have learned that is best that I stay away from places where mothers and daughters gather such as nail salons, malls, and restaurants during the days around Mothering Sunday. It is in everyone’s best interest that I am not in a place where daughters might argue with their mothers. The week before the second Mothers Day after my Mom’s death, I had to abruptly leave a Marshalls store near my house. A mother was telling her daughter to try something on that the daughter who was about my age did not want to try on. The daughter was being as rude as the mother was being stubborn. I wanted to say, “Just try it on and you can laugh at how ugly it looks on you,” but instead I blurted out, “Don’t be so mean to your mother, you are lucky she is still alive.” I dropped the items I had in my hands and darted out of the store before either the mother or daughter could react. My girlfriends who have also lost their mothers have all had similar experiences, so we motherless daughters do our best to avoid the mall in early May.

My new normal Mothers Day has been to call the people I need to acknowledge and then do my best to pretend that it is just another Sunday. Mothers Day is one of the days that I feel her loss more intensely. This year I have been feeling like I should step out of the safety of my comfort zone and do something – perhaps visit my mother’s grave although mom would prefer I give the flowers to someone living to enjoy like someone in a nursing home who doesn’t get visitors or invite my aunt to dinner because that’s what my Mom would do if she was still alive. I make no promises except that I will do whatever feels right to me even if that means staying home waiting for Monday to come once again.