Elvis, Date Nut Cookies, Sweet Dreams and the Twist

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I have been away for awhile but wanted to share this tribute to my mom, who is going through some medical issues. On behalf of myself and her, this is dedicated to all you moms for Mother's Day...I am putting this together in book form for my mom for Mother's day, so any feedback would be gratefully appreciated. It is copyrighted but hopefully that won't be a problem as in the past because I am the author and do give permission for it to be used...Take care, Martha

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    [FONT=Maiandra GD][FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Elvis, Date Nut Cookies, Sweet Dreams and the Twist...
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    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Standing next to my mother at the [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']National[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Cemetery[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] during a visit to my dad, I was momentarily silenced by a profound comment she pensively made, almost as an afterthought. The two of us were on the way home from a visit to her cardiologist where we had learned that mom had a significant total occlusion of an area of a major coronary artery which, left untreated would almost certainly result in a catastrophic cardiac event. In layman's terms that was code speak for heart attack. Earlier the previous week both of us had been momentarily sideswiped by the unexpected news that she had in the past actually had a heart attack, though the doctor could not pinpoint the timeframe. There was some good news though. Mom's heart compensated for the blockage by creating an avenue around it, or collateral circulation. It was kind of a miracle that got the ball rolling in the cardiac testing arena. Still, we were both stymied. On the way out of the office the first check out receptionist we encountered was named Faith. Mom and I decided to consider that to be a good sign. Whatever works some days. Those facts alone should have neutralized her comment, which I will share with you as we continue.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] We had decided to make a visit to the cemetery to "visit" dad's grave. It was located in the middle row within a band of impressively aligned stone structures housing the cremains of hundreds of veterans and their spouses. Each time I made the journey I was humbled because I felt I was not only visiting my father but each and every person there. I "felt" they were around me in a comfortable way, and in a manner that I have yet to figure out how to explain. When my mom made her curious statement, it seemed as if everyone there collectively sighed. At least, that is what I heard in my mind, and MY mind "speaks" to me at length and often, much to the chagrin of a family member or two.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Until that day I truly hadn't thought it possible that a simple statement could ignite such an intense desire causing me to want and even need to prove just the opposite. It certainly was turning out to be a thoughtful day. Since I had worked the night before and mom was having difficulty sleeping, we were both tired . Our level of exhaustion was magnified due to all the thinking and potential scenarios which were rapidly infusing into our minds. I think my heart actually may have skipped a few beats after mom's sentence. Let's just say as my children often do, mom was "wrongo in the [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Congo[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']." Allow me to explain and put the subject matter somewhat into perspective.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] The day was a pretty one pregnant with sunshine and fresh spring warmth that eased into the bones and warmed from the inside out. It was the type of day that dad would have loved. Had he been there he would have been planting flowers with my children, or running any number of errands that would have kept him occupied. He would have done all that in the days before he had to rely on oxygen, and while he could still walk and live life. I choose to remember him that way with his twinkling eyes and infectious smile. And, on every trip home or through the yard he would have made it a point to pass mom and touch or tease her. He was always showing his love for "his" Gini Rip. Even now, past the physical realm, we both felt his presence around us.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Birds chirped and sang in the not so distant woods and the clouds were hugely puffy balls hanging in the middle of a distinctly powder blue sky, almost like cotton fluff or cotton candy wisps of sweetness. The color of the sky reminded me, as it often did on perfect days, of my grandmother's spectacularly brilliant blue eyes. Never have I been able to adequately describe the exact hue or color that both she and the flawless spring/summer sky somehow managed to achieve. I used to like to think that God elected to create the color just for her and then share it with the sky. At any rate, the stinging cold air and rain had mercifully taken a respite and my mom, dad and I were smack in the middle of a serenely special day because we were all together.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Mom and I were walking around the stone edifice reading comments carved on many of the stones. As we did so I paused to ask her what she would like me to have carved on the stone designated for her and dad. Currently it was blank because in the period following dad's death, we were all either too sad or too ignorant to consider it. Not ignorant in a bad way. We simply just didn't do it. She told me not to worry about it and to remember we could add a saying when she died. I felt a pinch at my midsection when she added that she wasn't sure what she would like for her own funeral, but that she had loved the service we had for dad, and thought we should probably go discuss options with the funeral director. Surprisingly and thankfully, having just sat through my second session with mom and her doctor, I was more relieved than upset or reluctant to talk about the subject of death. I knew it had troubled her that my dad could not bring himself to talk about final plans and mom, ever pragmatic and practical, would need someone who not only could but would do so. I knew it would necessarily have to be me. And I was honored to be entrusted with such an important task. Still, I wasn't in any hurry to entertain the idea. Not by any stretch of the imagination but, facing a routine yet potentially dangerous procedure in the upcoming week, mom simply wanted to be prepared. She enjoyed that she shared the same philosophy as the Coast Guard, which would have cracked up my dad.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] So, undaunted, we continued on our trek around the site noting that some comments were funny, such as "Finally, a home on the Cape," and "Return to Sender," which we both agreed my post office dad would have loved. Others were religious and encompassed just about every known faith and many more spoke to the depth of love and devotion shared by couples united for long periods in life and eternity in death. Most spoke to some important aspect of the individual(s) resting there and I often felt that I was visiting everyone and not just my dad. A social butterfly, it hadn't escaped either mom or I that dad, who was smack dab in the middle of his section, was exactly where he would have loved to be in life; the center of attention surrounded by friends of like interest and varied backgrounds. Sometimes I even spoke with them and on more than one occasion started my conversations to dad with "Hi Everyone." It just seemed right. Still does actually. Despite that and all the poignancy attached to both the place and the words, nothing remotely prepared me for the profound effect of my mother's simple statement. Quite simply, I was floored.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] "I can't imagine there is anything in my life anyone would want to write about." As she said it a lone tear slid slowly down her beautiful cheek etched with lines of time and worry. I stared as it bumped her nose and precariously hung until splashing and dropping to the ground lightly dampening the stone walk. I wondered if I had heard her correctly and drew her close as I wiped the tear residue from her face with my free hand. Not one known for hugging, she allowed me to hold her close only momentarily (damn Yankee) but just as quickly recovered and withdrew. We continued our little walk around the stone structures, not really wanting to stay but not really wanting to leave.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] "How in the world can she even THINK that?" I wondered silently. I certainly hope she doesn't believe it. Countless visions of so many moments began racing through my mind. I would spend much of the rest of the day trying to decipher ways to let mom know that if anything, there was so MUCH to talk about that no one human (at least no human acquainted with HER) could ever do her appropriate justice. Now I was committed to make it my mission to at least try.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] As we prepared to leave the cemetery , we both had a talk with dad. We did that a lot, the two of us, together and separately. Both of us could talk to each other about him as though he were standing there before us. She knew she could tell me how she felt and we talked about dad often. We didn't have to watch what we said, or try and figure out who was comfortable talking about what, or who would be sad or angry or shocked or anything else. She could talk about how much she missed her husband and I could share just how much I missed my dad. We would cry together. Sometimes we would laugh as well. Often we would do both. Always we could share with each other. We could just have dad in the moment with us in conversation, mind and heart. That's a very special place to be. Thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] "I love you Bobby," said mom softly, but if it's all the same to you I'm not ready to join you just yet." With a mix of tears and laughter she gently touched his stone, tracing his name with her fingers. The letters in "Crowninshield" had to be sized smaller because of the length of the name. "Leave it to you to be different Bob," she finished. I asked dad to consider that it would just be too difficult to deal with mom having any other outcome but positive but acknowledged that either destination would be something not controlled by me. Around the time I finished I noticed an errant silk red poinsettia lying unclaimed on the ground nearby. There were no similar bouquets or singlet flowers so with apologies to whoever had lost it, I attempted to secure it to dads stone using a combination rough engineering anchor of pennies piled there and a polished stone furnished by my children during a previous visit. Red was dads favorite color and Christmas his favorite [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Holiday[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']. The symbolism wasn't lost on either of us. Just before leaving I touched his stone and asked that he be there with mom during her angioplasty and that although either outcome meant that mom was going to a good place, none of us was ready for her to leave the immediate present. "If you could dad, please show us a sign that you're listening." We turned toward the car and just at that moment (I swear) a whoosh of warm breeze kicked up and blew the flower between us. "Ok dad," I said with a knowing smile, "we hear you." Mom and I glanced at each other, laughing, scooped up the flower and continued to the car.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Returning home after dropping mom off, I was exhausted because I had worked the night before and was expected back in at seven. I knew I would need sleep to function but sleep eluded me. I could not get her comment out of my mind. How in the world could she even imagine that there would be nothing to write about? What would even cause her to think that way? I was puzzled that my mother would even inadvertently reduce the story of her amazing life to something too trivial to chronicle. I knew that whatever I wrote would only barely scratch the surface but I also knew I at least had to try, so here goes...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] When I was a little girl I LOVED LOVED LOVED Elvis Presley. I can't remember how that came to be; only that it was so. I had seen a movie or two and of course, back then (so long ago), he was all the rage and he was so darn cute! In fact, except for my dad, who was definitely cuter and cooler, Elvis was a very big deal. As the only girl in a family of five kids AND a Catholic school girl (really), the only person I could talk with regarding this all encompassing crush, was mom. The nuns were just not on the same page on the subject and well, daddy was daddy and I was his little girl. Forget about him and any sort of confession from me. I knew he would tease me and I just didn't want anything to do with that possibility. At the time we were living overseas in [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Taiwan[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'], where my dad was stationed in the Air Force. Elvis was not exactly readily available to me. The only two English-speaking shows I can remember were Bugs Bunny and Bat Masterson. Any movies we attended were usually Saturday matinees and more often than not starred famous cowboy Roy Rogers. While Roy and wife Dale were an amusing and occasionally exciting way to pass a Saturday, [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Roy[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] had nothing on Elvis. So what was a girl to do?
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] You know those snippets of memories that remain with you always? They don't necessarily include the entire scene of the event but rather, tiny captured vignettes that bring you right back to the time and place. I love those sorts of memories. Sometimes they are connected and triggered by certain smells, sights and sounds. If you're lucky, you can transport yourself back and you are there in the moment. This is my recollection of such a memory...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Mom and I are walking down a quiet street or path and talking. She is wearing a dress although I cannot recall the color. Her hair is short, cut in a pixie style and her eyes are sparkling. She is beautiful and she is laughing, which only magnifies her beauty a thousand fold. I feel safe as we stroll because she is holding my hand tightly as we walk. The air is not exactly steamy but balmy and the scent of tropical flowers wafts on the wind, tickling my nose and lightly lifting strands of my long blonde hair. The breeze is not unlike a caress as it tumbles through the early evening and wraps us snugly in warmth. My mom is as excited as I am or at least that is how I remember it, and we are walking toward the movie theater. We are talking animatedly and going to see an Elvis movie! And, it is just she and I. No brothers, no daddy, no bother. How wonderful is that? I don't remember the specific movie we saw though Blue Hawaii comes to mind, as does this scene every time I watch it. All I remember is that it was mom that made it special. Thank you mom.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Once, when I was in first or second grade I wrote a poem about my grampa. It was only one stanza and it rhymed. The teacher thought I should show it to my parents. Of course I showed it to mom who beamed with pride and showed it to everyone, "Look what Martha wrote!" "Isn't it wonderful?" I didn't think it was such a big deal but it was a very big deal to me that she thought so. It might be lost forever and my interest in writing and poetry a wisp of the past had she not sat me down and insisted that I sign it with pride and date it because, as she emphatically informed me, some day you will look back and remember where you were and what you were thinking. You will have a record of what you did and some day people will know who you are when you touch their hearts with words. I've always been grateful for that advice and have signed and dated everything I've ever written. While I am not great about keeping all of it together and have given many things away, I do have to say I am vigilant about that advice and proud that my mom loved and loves my work. Most people think I got all my interest and whatever talent I have from my dad, who also loved literature and writing, but it was my mom who taught me to respect and celebrate my talents. She ignited the flame and with the help of dad and so many others, urged the embers to continue to burn by consistently patting me on the back literally and figuratively all throughout my life. For that I am forever grateful and blessed. Thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Ever had a cookie so superbly delicious that you remember long after your childhood eludes you? I have. Date nut cookies made all the more wonderful by mom allowing me to help create them. My job was to press a fork around the periphery of the cookies after they had been stuffed. The design had to be perfect so the filling would stay in. Any screw-up would result in an oozing cookie. Plus, it looked pretty neat. I imagine my cookie making paled in comparison to moms but somehow being allowed and even invited to take part in the preparation markedly heightened the taste. That recipe is long lost but recently through a search on the internet, I found it, or what I believe to be a reasonable facsimile. I am going to attempt it and have all three of my youngest children assist in the construction of what I remember as a culinary delight. Then we are going to appoint gramma as a judge to determine if the new recipe rivals the old. Of course, I will have to relinquish my fork flattening duties to a younger generation, but its ok if the cookies don't taste the same or aren't as good as I remember in my minds eye. Truthfully there is a lot to be said for the statement that it's the thought that counts. It really does. Thank you mom.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Then there was that time that Chubby Checker traveled to [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Taiwan[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] and performed a show at the club on base. I didn't go because I was too little but mom and dad surely talked about it. The Twist was all the rage back then in the sixties and my parents could party with the best of them. My dad was handsome, my mom beautiful and both were young and full of life, so how I ever could have thought MY mom would not know how to do the twist continues to escape me, but I do recall she allowed me to "teach" her the new craze and it was an evening where we both nearly collapsed in laughter. I went to bed that night, as on so many other nights after time with mom, tired but happy. Not until years later did I figure out that of course my mom was up on dancing and actually an amazing twister. That's how she was. That is how she continues to be. She was and is a mom who realized that children thrive when their essence and free spirit is allowed to be expressed through imagination and play. And she encouraged us to get out there, get dirty and have fun. Way to Go! Thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] We benefited in so many ways from mom's life experiences. For instance, she once took a self defense class in which she learned some pretty thrilling judo moves. When she arrived home from her class she demonstrated by flipping my brother Tim and I over her shoulder (or so it seemed at the time) over the bed. Believe me THAT was impressive.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Over the years we made villages out of painted milk cartons, lining them up and concocting countless stories of the occupants, who were usually imaginary but still very real. We constructed entire worlds in our imaginations and played in discarded mattress boxes in which little children such as me and my brothers could fit inside and play for hours. She made the best forts, both in summer AND winter. No one could build a snowman like she could and not even dad possessed such an accurate aim, as evidenced by many snowballs thrown by her that rarely missed their target. THAT I do recall. And, did you know there is a specific way to pile and then jump into a pile of raked leaves? Well, if you're curious, just go ask my mom. She told me that grown ups did not have to grow their hair but that kids were supposed to have long hair. This in response to my query as to why she had short hair and I had to suffer with grueling ponytail arrangements every morning that felt as though my eyeballs were being squeezed. Stories and teeny little fibs like that which I totally believed became the basis for some pretty tall tales I have told to my children, some of which have backfired...Thank you mom...(hee hee)
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] My mom dressed up and went trick or treating with us on Halloween and when I got older, it was more than a little distressing to have the "hot babe" mom. What daughter wants to admit or even see that her mom is more beautiful than she is? Well, she was certainly that. And that little someone packed a gigantic wallop when crossed. As petite as she was, my brothers were definitely fearful to incur her wrath, as was, on occasion, my father. Of course, as the daughter, I often fueled the flames between us. What is it about that mother daughter thing? I have yet to figure that one out. I'm still trying to get it right with my own daughter.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] One of my favorite memories is special because I LOVE the concept of irony and mom could invent things for us to do that both intrigued and occupied us but were full of little ironic twists, as I call them. With dad at work all day and AWAYS a baby or two in tow, mom had to find methods to keep us out of her way. One day she elected to keep us busy by giving us a geological project. She outlined that we should go to the far side of the yard and locate a special spot where we should begin digging to [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']China[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']. She was sure we could do it but cautioned that it could take quite some time. Apparently that was supposed to be a neat thing to do but I was not fooled. I knew we already lived near [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']China[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] and said so. Without missing a beat mom informed me that since we lived on an island even though it was indeed close to [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']China[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'], it wasn't connected to the mainland and therefore, still possible. So much for savvy little me. Skeptical, I recall asking how I would know when I got there. Nonplussed and cool as a cucumber (however cool that is), mom replied "You'll know because you will discover that you can magically speak AND understand Chinese." "Hmmm," I thought, "that might be kind of interesting since I didn't understand a word beyond a few swears (supplied to me of Course, by my dad) and the numbers one through ten. I heard the language in the city and at school all day long and often felt left out of conversations for that reason, so the project began to sound like it would have a great outcome. I had taken to watching the Chinese Opera on TV but didn't understand a word of it. This could be a wonderful thing I decided. That was it. She had hooked me and she knew it. Off I went with my little brothers to dig. Well, we never actually made it to [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']China[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'], despite numerous attempts and at least one brush with near disaster when dad returned home from work and discovered the gaping hole in the yard. Thankfully, mom saved the day by explaining the etiology of the project and we continued digging furiously, to no avail, for several days after that even thought the holes mysteriously filled up overnight...(daddy?) She would never tell. Eventually the project was scrapped and I never did learn Chinese but now that I look back on it I think that particular instance may have fueled my interest in archeology, which is a discussion for another day. Thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Mom was a bit of a trickster. Either that or she was an expert in child psychology. Maybe both statements are true. For instance, when I was ten she gave birth to my fourth and youngest brother John Daniel (Danny to the immediate family). I had considered three brothers to be three more than enough. I was furious. I was not only angry with her but with God and the world in general since I had been to church and specifically prayed for a sister. No one came through though. There was a problem with my prayer channel. I was out numbered and pretty ticked off. I knew she would want me to help her with the baby but I would show HER. I would tell her exactly how I felt. It was November and even though it was very cold that dreary [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']New Jersey[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] afternoon I decided to wait on the sidewalk on the corner of our street to intercept them on the way home. I think my dad knew of this plan and tipped her off because as they went by they waved cheerily and I realized I had to eventually return home. They got out of the car with a little blue blob of a bundle. Worse even than that, it was making noise! And worse still, people were fawning over it. No one was paying attention to me, not that I cared or anything. It was a miserable sight. There was NO way anyone was getting back on my good side.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Mom and dad saw me trudging back into the yard and as I passed her, mom asked me sweetly, "would you like to meet your new little brother honey?" I SO do NOT!" I huffed and off I stamped into the house, done with the lot of them. Mostly I felt hurt and confused. Those days I felt that way more often than not. Sometime after that I was still trying to figure out why I wasn't yet in trouble for my overtly disrespectful behavior when mom came up behind me and caught me by surprise. "Would you hold your little brother for a minute sweetie?" "I have to go to the bathroom." Before I had a chance to protest or refuse, the little guy was thrust into my arms. I fell in love just as mom knew I would. Smart lady. Thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Any stoll down memory lane has places that aren't pretty or dignified and we have had our share of those as all mothers and daughters worth their salt seem to have, but there were so many more special and poignant moments. There were (and are) funny moments, such as the time I came home from working a summer evening shift into an ambush of elastics being flung at me by my parents and brothers. The entire event, I later discovered, had been orchestrated by mom.; special moments (too numerous to mention), brave moments (it was mom I called at two o'clock in the morning to rescue me from an imagined prowler and she arrived stick in hand, ready to beat the daylights out of him), forgettable moments (forgotten) and just, moments, moments and more moments. These are the moments that skip by in the time it takes for a heart to cycle a beat, not unlike watching an old movie in which the passage of time is reflected by the flashing of calendar pages to indicate years flying by and fly they have...For those memories and so many others, thank you mom
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] In the early winter of 1982 when I became pregnant with my oldest son, my world stopped spinning on its axis. It felt as though I had been struck by some giant immovable force field. Much of the time I felt as though I was walking through quicksand, which dragged me down further with every step I took. Mostly I was fearful I had disappointed my family and frightened that my life was destined to take a turn I was just not prepared for. I tried to think of some of the things mom had told me as a little girl when I stayed awake thinking and couldn't sleep because I was worried or anxious. She told me to build an imaginary shelf, take all the worries out of my mind and pile them upon the shelf because they would all be back in the morning. When my mind was spinning with thoughts and ideas and sleep wouldn't come, mom told me to put both hands out and simply stop the spinning wheel. She knew how my mind worked and she knew how to help me. I still use both techniques today. I have to say that sometimes I am just TOO good at it and procrastination is a side effect of my "worry shelves." For easing my mind and helping me to sleep, thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] During the above mentioned time it was my mom who eventually convinced me my life wasn't over but just going in a different direction. I was scared of the unknown and absolutely terrified. It was my mom who grasped the reigns of the rearing horse and calmed it, steering it down a path ripe with important and impressive discoveries and opportunities along the way. It was she who encouraged me to think of my life as a highway and this wrinkle in the plans as a venture off the main drag. Through her I came to understand that the journey might not be anything like the one I anticipated originally, but it was definitely going to be an adventure. She also stressed that eventually I would find the highway and throughout my life travels, veer off the main road a time or two. Isn't THAT the truth? Mom reminded me that although my life was going to change this was a time in history that I had a choice to maintain or discontinue my pregnancy. She never judged me. She only wanted to be certain that I knew she would support any decision I made. She knew how difficult a journey it would be and embraced my decision to keep my son as she embraced me, wholly and without condition. She made my maternity clothes from scratch. Can you imagine dresses made with material celebrating whales and frogs? I loved them. Very cute mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Mom redecorated my room for baby Christopher and me and made it beautiful with a cozy blue rug, new sheets and pretty curtains. She was there to watch my (our) son Chris being born. She was there for both of us. She suffered with me when Chris's father couldn't or wouldn't be there. She held me tight and cried along with me. She understood, as I did not, that life if often unfair and unattractive, and let me have my say. She allowed me to yell, scream and agonize, all the while supporting me in any way she could. She cared for my baby and me because we were BOTH her babies. She taught me never to give up or give in however difficult the situation. She is my heroine and what she probably doesn't know is that she always was and always will be. No one else even remotely fills that role and the only reason I haven't written something before this is because there is so much to say and so little time in which to say it. To do so adequately I would have to write night and day for the rest of my life and as much as I love you mom, I just can't do that. But, I can think it and let you know that. For the strength and fortitude and keeping me going, thank you mom...
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] In high school it was mom who upon learning I had a crush on a young man, told me to get in the car and gleefully assisted me in finding the street where he lived. It was she who hugged me tight and promised that whatever happened in my life she and dad would be there for me. When I received my first kiss, I rushed home to tell her. As I recall she may have been almost as excited as I was. Well, maybe not quite.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] It was mom who constantly pushed me, helped me, bugged me and saved me over and over again. She was and is my son's other mom. She is so much a part of the reason he is an amazing young man. At one point he called us both grammamommy. And only MY mom could calm my dad and slow down the fire of a potential volatile moment with her special touch and sober viewpoint. For that and for everything else, I thank you mom.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] So here we are finally arriving at today. It seems only a speck of time from yesterday. I finally GET that thing adults tell you when you are younger and can't possibly understand or grasp the wisdom of their knowledge. Years truly do fly by. Life is short. We are only here for a moment in time. All of that is true. Yes, we waste so much time thinking we have forever when in reality we can savor only a precious little speck of time before we rejoin the cosmos in one way or another. Isn't it ironic that all the energy and emotional expense we put into arguing, disagreeing or holding grudges only blots out and obstructs the time we have left? That irony has not escaped me. I am the wife and mother I am today because of my mom. I am a strong woman and a fighter because of AND in spite of my mother. I have made mistakes and missteps and just plain messed up and she loves anyway. Isn't that grand? Thank you mom.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Want to know the single most important thing I remember about my mom beyond anything else? When my oldest son Chris, now nearly twenty five, was a baby, I found a note she had written to the parents of my son's father, who neither of us had met. In it she mentioned a little bit about the baby and how cute he was (he surely was and still is), and also that she was happy to discover that I was a very good mom. She was proud of me. I continue to carry that memory and moment with me and replay it because however old either of us is, I will always want to please her. I will always want to make her proud. I do not ever want to disappoint her and I always want her to know how blessed I have felt and continue to feel being her daughter, and I am so pleased and proud to let the entire world know it.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] Beyond that I guess there really isn't all that much to write about my mom other than I love and respect her more than life itself. I will fight for her as fiercely and as loyally as she has always fought for me. I apologize for not ever learning how to sew (it just wasn't in me), and I'm sorry I continue to hate doing jigsaw puzzles. Forgive me for being routinely disorganized and imperfect. Thank you for giving me some of your looks, some of your humor and all of your love. Though I continue to wish I might have been even NEARLY as beautiful and stylish as you, thank you for knowing all my faults and insecurities and loving me anyway. I really do love you mom. I still can't color as well as you can and believe me I have tried. You are an amazing person, wife, mom, sister, aunt, gramma and friend. You are so special that there will just be too much to choose from when it comes to writing about you. This is only a drop in the ocean compared to what I could have written. It is a situation not unlike the great American novel, which has yet to be written because there is simply too much material to fit it into one mere book. All the words in the world or even on the planet cannot begin to comprehend just how magnificent you are, at least to me and my family. So, though my mission wasn't exactly accomplished, it is an ongoing project, almost like digging to [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']China[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC'] only THIS time I just might be able to do it. I'm only sorry it took me nearly fifty years for me to tell you on paper just how much you mean to me in my heart and in my life. Thank you mom.
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Always with love,
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Martha Jean
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Written by...Martha J. Crowninshield O'Brien
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']With love for my mom
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Virginia M. (Ripley) Crowninshield
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']April 26, 2007[FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']Protected by copyright 2007
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']
    [FONT=Bradley Hand ITC][FONT='Bradley Hand ITC']
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    About Mermaid4

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 339; Likes: 30
    RN labor and delivery. previously telemetry and diabetic education