Tagged Mom

When Mother Knows Best

Motherhood!

The first time you hold that tiny, helpless baby in your arms, you realize you are their entire world. They look to you for love, protection and nurturing. To them, you are their everything, an all knowing supreme being.

From this exalted position, there is only one way to go.

 

Row 1

 

 

I was no different, of course, and by the time I was 21, I was desperate to escape my parents’ house and their “ignorance”. My mom was happy to see me go and even gave me a going away present when I got my first apartment.

 

Row 3

 

As I adjusted to my new life as a young adult, I started to realize my mom might know some things I didn’t.

 

Row 4

 

There was no internet back then and finding information took some work. Mom was always home and had instant answers, kind of like Google is today.

Although Mom’s rating was gradually rising, it got a big bump up when I became engaged. I had waited until June to go shopping for a dress for my early August wedding and found the selection at the mall picked over. I found an off white “maxi” dress that was too short, but since it was on sale for $19, I bought two, thinking I could lengthen one with material from the other.

It was a delusional fiasco.

 

Row 5

 

After years of languishing at the bottom of the ratings, Mom was back in action. She was at the top of her game with authoritative answers, plausible solutions and decisive plans of action.

I stopped pretending that I didn’t need her.

 

Row 6

 

In those early years of starting my own family I turned to her constantly. As the years passed, I grew confident in my own knowledge and no longer needed her for domestic consultations.

Before I knew it, our roles had reversed.

 

Row 7

 

I still thought of Mom as the matriarch of the family. I looked to her for knowledge, though now it was about family history and what I needed to know before she and the memories and stories in her head were gone forever.

 

Row 8

 

I liked knowing there was someone, generationally, “above me”. Maybe you never quit seeing your mom as that All Knowing Supreme Being who is more interested in you than anyone else on earth.

It can be a hard thing to let go.

Mom died surrounded by her three daughters on March 31, 2009. I held her hand until she was gone. It wasn’t until I was trying to discuss arrangements with Dad that the loss hit me.

 

Row 9

 

I still miss Mom, but have embraced being the “above me” person to my own children. They’re smarter that I ever was and have the internet, so my role is mostly ceremonial.

One day, I climbed into my daughter’s couch pit with my grandson under my arm. In that moment, I was struck by where I was in the generational cycle and blurted out my thoughts.

 

Row 10

 

I regretted bringing it up. She doesn’t need to think about it now and I’m hoping to keep the torch lit and waiting for a long time.

Hope you all have warm memories of your moms today. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Mom and Me 2

 

Dinners with Dad

When I remember my dad, most of my memories center around dinners with him. Growing up, it was the one time of day when the family was all together and, in later years, dinner was a part of any visit.

When I see Don Draper of “Mad Men”, I always think of my dad returning home from work. Like Don, Dad was tall, dark and handsome… the quintessential image of a 1960s businessman.

Dad and Don Draper 1

However, once Dad changed out of his suit into his “around the house” clothes, this resemblance disappeared completely. Dad and Don Draper 2

Well, maybe not completely

Dad and Don Draper 3

After Dad was out of his suit and done with his cocktail and newspaper, we sat down to dinner. Dad listened to our problems and shared his wisdom.

Dinner Table 1960s

Once summer weekends arrived, dinner meant… barbecues with the neighbors!

Barbecue 1

When he finished his round up, he’d break the news to Mom.

Barbecue 2

The barbecues lasted long into the night with the strains of Andy Williams and John Gary crooning from Dad’s patio speakers. They were a summer staple at our house for over 20 years, but ended when Mom and Dad sold the house and moved into a condo.

We didn’t eat out at restaurants much, but there was one consideration that overshadowed all overs when we did.

Restaurant

After we daughters were grown with families of our own, family dinners shifted to our homes. These were the best years. Mom and Dad were (relatively) healthy, enjoying retirement and seemed to like us more as adults than children. Conversations were funny and interesting and Dad could be counted on to add life to any gathering.

Middle Years

The years eventually took their toll. My dad lost most of his eyesight to macular degeneration and my mom lost the use of her legs to multiple sclerosis. Between the two of them, they tried to function as one person.

Popcorn

Dad was in charge of heating meals we had made for them, doing laundry, grocery shopping and taking care of Mom. He was all that stood between her and a nursing home and he did it without complaint.

When this became too much for them, Mom and Dad moved to supportive living, or “God’s Waiting Room”, as my mom called it. After Mom died, Dad’s “eyes” were gone and he was left to fend for himself. Meal times were difficult. Dad was too proud to accept help, especially offers to cut up his food. Watching him eat was excruciating.

Mealtime Disaster

As we walked out of the dining room one day, I noticed a big wad of mashed potatoes which had fallen on to the tip of Dad’s slipper. I held back tears thinking of my handsome, Don-Draper-ish dad, now a frail old man with potatoes on his shoe.

Potato on slipper

Not long after that, Dad started rotating through hospitals and rehab centers. As the clock wound down, I didn’t know if he was aware how close to the end he was. Our last dinner gave me the answer.

Last dinner

After I left Dad’s side that day, I never saw him conscious again. He died October 17, 2010. I still feel bad that his last dinner was orange Jello, but I am glad he had it with me.

Remembering my dad with much love today and wishing a very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who make happy memories for their children.