Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Great Nan Is Dead

8 May

My grandmother died a few months before her 95 birthday. I remember coming home from somewhere to my husband and youngest in arms waiting at the door. Before my foot crossed the threshold, my baby blurted out, “great Nan died”.

So many old photos with no dates.

Nan had been sitting on the bed with my mother helping to dress for the day, when her heart just gave out. I would say that it wasn’t a bad way to go, except Nan was mostly deaf and totally ornery. As her 24/7 caregiver, I’m sure that my mother had mixed feelings though she’d never admit it. She adored her mother and repeated frequently how she could never make rice pudding nor potato salad as good as Nan’s.

My mother in the front with her siblings and mother.

I was named for my grandmother which didn’t keep our personalities from clashing on more than one occasion. She once prevented my six year old daughter from joining her grandparents for weekday mass because, “you can’t go to church dressed like that.” I had been looking forward to a quiet hour sans daughter. I got mad and told my grandmother to mind her own business. Not my finest hour.

My mother to the left of center. Nan also lost a child to whooping cough and another died at birth.

This Mother’s Day I am thinking of her. She was a single mother during the Depression, working as an operator for Bell Telephone and just about any job she could find, to provide for her family. She loved to drive and frequently flirted with truck drivers by honking and waving. She always had a lifesaver or some other sweet in her purse to delight a grandchild. Nan thought nothing of inspecting me and my four siblings for dirty ears and sending us off to the bathroom if we didn’t meet her standards.

Left bottom was her 81 birthday. She wore a wig because of her thinning pate.

Today her twelve grandchildren (actually there’s two more, but that’s another story)have managed to produce twenty-six grandchildren, and forty-seven greats, as far as we know. Her Irish Catholic blood is passed down from a line of strong women. Her own mother Anna outlived three husbands and was married mother and widowed in one year.

Happy Mother’s Day out there, today and every day, however you mother, whoever you mother, and whatever you mother.

DOS TORTAS

Four generations of moms.

Rocks In My Head

8 May

When I was a kid, I grew up living on a trout stream in New Jersey called Spruce Run. It was shallow and ambled throughout Central Western Hunterdon County. My siblings and I spent many hours building dams. Hot vacation days involved stacking rocks to raise the water higher than our knees so that we could swim in the summer and ice skate in the winter.

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A painting of our 200 year old farm house in NJ. An anniversary gift for my parents made by a family friend.

When my mother died, I took her ashes to New Jersey to sprinkle in the stream behind where our house used to be. She loved it there. I hadn’t been home in years since the house was destroyed by fire.

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Rest in peace Mom.

Lisa and I currently live on the shore of beautiful Laguna Bacalar in Southern Mexico. Some days I have to pinch myself that we’re living the life we created.  To walk into the Laguna to launch the kayak or swim means a painful stumble over a rocky bottom.

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This week Luna (our dog) and I were playing in the water and I mindlessly began moving rocks to try and create a pebble beach that would be easier on the feet and paws. I was immediately flooded with childhood memories. Sitting in the water moving rocks. Life doesn’t get any sweeter.

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My dad’s favorite picture of my mom. She was twenty-something.

Happy Mother’s Day all. DOS TORTAS

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Dia de las Madres

12 May

I do not remember celebrating Mother’s Day while living in Mexico in 1974, but I do remember how children were treated. At 21 years old, my focus was not on children, but the difference between what I observed in my US life and my Mexican life was unmistakable. First, there were no crying babies. NONE! Babies were breastfed and mom was always close by. Children and babies were everywhere and were content. I’d never seen a baby at it’s mother’s breast in New Jersey. In Mexico it was the norm, but it was more than a way to feed a baby.

Second, babies were transported on the body in a rebozo, a shawl wrapped over one shoulder and under the opposite arm used to sometimes carry chickens or cabbages, but most often a baby. Little feet would be sticking out while suspended hammock-like from the front or back of the mother’s body. If older, curious eyes observed the world perched from mom’s hip. There were no bottles or pacifiers or strollers. Attachment parenting was the norm. Dads were also very involved with their children. It was not uncommon to see a man playing with his children on the bus or at the park. Children were visible. There were no baby sitters, with the exception of an older sibling. Children were an everyday part of life. A toddler running down the aisle in church was not met with rolling eyes or clucking tongues.

Recently I was introduced, from two sources to a blog Revolution from Home, written by Beth Berry, a mom raising four daughters and living in Tulum, Mexico. Her observation of the treatment of children and the importance of family tells a better story than I, and supports one more reason for our move to Mexico.

Wearing the Baby - Our Granddaughter Sophia

Wearing the Baby – Our Granddaughter Sophia

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