Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Day’

Still Mom

Lately, well for the past five or six years, it seems that my “mom duties” aren’t needed any longer. Once you kids grow and start having kids of their own, everyone forgets that you’ve a mom. Out in public, moms are the ones with little kids or teens; not the ones with grown kids. It seems that we loose that identity. At least that’s how I’ve been made to feel.

But when I think about it, it’s not true. My son my be in his 30’s and live three hours away but it has been more than once that he has called me from the grocery store to ask what brand he should buy for one of my recipes, or where in the store would he find a certain ingredient. And even though I lived in Santa Rosa when my daughter went to visit friends in Los Angeles, it was me that she called to ask the fastest way to get from Pasadena to Redondo Beach in rush hour traffic. And it was me that got the phone call, early last Sunday, asking to rescue my daughter whose car battery was dead way across town. I’m also supposed to be looking for a specific photo of my son from when he was one year old so I can bring it to him next weekend when we go for my grandson’s first birthday.

Yeah, I guess we sometimes forget. We sometimes leave out the older moms. We don’t include grandmoms with the group of moms.

I know I still need my mom and I’m 61; she’s 85. I’m really missing her these days. I haven’t seen her in over a year and a half and that was just for a few hours when we drove down to southern California for a funeral and swung by my mom’s. Too short of a visit. I need a mom visit.

Anyway, on this Mother’s Day, remember all the moms, not just the ones with little ones. We all count. We’re all moms.

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Mother’s Day is an emotion filled day for so many people.  Yesterday I read several Facebook status updates expressing a need/want to not see anything related to Mother’s Day. These came from women who have lost their mothers recently and the hurt is still too fresh. In one case, it came from a woman who had a miscarriage and hasn’t been able to conceive again. That’s understandable. But it’s not fair to the rest of us. I don’t want to hurt their feelings but I also need to express mine.

It occurred to me that Mother’s Day is not just the celebration of our own mothers or of particular mothers. It’s a celebration of Motherhood. So I suppose that if I didn’t have a mom to celebrate, I would still celebrate motherhood. Your motherhood, your neighbor’s, your sister’s, your mother’s, your daughter’s, and every mother’s motherhood. It’s a sacred gift to be celebrated.

I’m a mom, too. And although my kids have forgotten many times, I celebrate MY motherhood. I love being a mom and now a grand mom, which to me is still a mom. So even if no one remembers or does anything for me, it’s a special day for me…a day to reflect and be proud of the job I’ve done as a mother.

That’s a pretty special day.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, even if it isn’t Mother’s Day in your country. May your motherhood be celebrated!

If you’re in the mood to read a memoir piece I wrote about my mom some years back, click here. I hope you enjoy it.

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If we were having coffee this week, I think I might have to try some tea. Since my surgery, I haven’t been able to enjoy coffee. First I couldn’t even think of having any then when I did, it just didn’t taste good anymore. I think I have had two good cups of coffee in over three weeks. And they were only partial cups because I couldn’t finish the rest of it. Oh well, it’s a good think I also like tea. I think I’ll try some mint or some chamomile. They both remind me of growing up. We always had mint growing in our yard, wherever we lived. When we needed or wanted mint tea, it was there for the picking, nice and fresh. I also love cold, iced mint tea in the summer time. Yum! My mom always reached for the “manzanilla” tea, which is chamomile, whenever we had anything wrong with us, headache, cramps, stomach ache, anything. The cure for all was always manzanilla.

If we were having coffee today, the day before Mother’s Day in the U.S., I would ask you about your mom. Any favorite memories? Anything funny? What about something that irks or used to irk you about your mom? I miss my mom. She lives in way, way, southern California (Hemet, CA). I haven’t seen her since last summer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2013. From then on, I made it a point to go down there and spend a week or two every two or three months. However, because of my own health issues, I haven’t been able to go. I miss her. She has lived a long life and is a fighter. She’s 83 and has had two mastectomies, chemo, and radiation, all in the last 18 months.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that it’s a pretty nice day outside. At least it looks like it. I haven’t been out since Tuesday when I went to the hospital for my post-op visit. It was raining then. It seems like the nice days only come when I am confined to quarters! I’m getting stir crazy. It will probably be another couple of weeks before my abdominal muscles are strong enough to drive. And I’m still too weak to go for a walk. I’m thinking I am going to try to take a short walk with the walker today. Just a couple of houses down and back. I don’t think I’m strong enough to do much more than that without a problem. I hope the weather holds up long enough for me to do that.

Well, if we were having coffee today, I guess I would check with you and see what your schedule is. I don’t want to keep you too long. I know everyone is busy, either with work or with enjoying leisure time. I don’t want to keep you from either. What do you have going today? Tomorrow? Will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?

If you’re a mom, or a dad who has/is raising his kids without a mom, I celebrate you! I wish you a wonderful day!

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Whose Day?

When I was growing up, I learned that in Mexico Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10, regardless of which day of the week it falls on.  So we often had Mother’s Day on May 10 and then again a few days later for the American Mother’s Day.  May 10 was also my brother’s, Richard’s, birthday so May 10 was a double celebration.

Richard was very close to my mom.  When he was in middle school, he saved up the quarters that he was given for lunch at school and bought my  mother a Mother’s Day present which he gave her on his birthday, May 10.  One year, he gave her a fancy ink pen.  At least to us it was fancy.  It wasn’t a fountain pen.  It wasn’t a Mont Blanc.  It was just a silver tone Parker pen but it wasn’t one that was available at the regular store.  Richard had to go downtown to the jewelry store to buy it.  I remember my mom feeling really bad that Richard had gone hungry for weeks in order to save money for her gift.  I think it made that pen even more special because of the sacrafice my brother had made. And I think it also made Richard very proud of his gift.

Richard is gone now but I know that May 10 is still a very special day for my mom.  And for the rest of us that miss him so much.

Happy Birthday, Richard.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

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We had a gas stove in the kitchen. It was almost always on. Good things came from that stove and the best part was that my mother was always there, at the stove, near the stove, using the stove and wherever my mother was, I wanted to be.

My mother made flour tortillas for every meal. She was in the kitchen making the dough–the masa–before the rest of us were out of bed in the mornings. When I was dressed and ready, I would go into the kitchen and watch her. I sat at the red formica table and watched my mother bring the rolling pin out then she would dust the table with flour and take one of the little dough balls and set it in the middle of the flour. She’d begin to move the wooden rolling pin back and forth over the little ball, flattening it, turning it over, and flattening it some more until it grew big enough and thin enough to cook. By then the black cast iron griddle (called a comal) was hot enough to cook the tortillas and my mom would put the thin layer of masa on the griddle for just a few seconds then flip it over. She would spend the rest of the time walking the four steps between the stove and the table to flip the tortillas over as she kept rolling out more tortillas to cook. I was always scared that she would burn her fingers when she turned the tortillas over.

I loved the smell of tortillas cooking on the griddle. Tortillas, when they are cooking, smell of warmth and freshness. The smell meant that when the first one was cooked and had cooled a little, my mom would let me have it. I would be the first one to take the round flat tortilla and fold it in half, tear a piece off of it and put it in my mouth, tasting all the work and the love my mother had put into that one perfect tortillas.

I was always amazed that none of the tortillas burned while she rolled out more and more. It all looked so easy. Somehow my mother timed it just right. While she rolled out the tortillas, I would sit at the table and talk to her, asking her questions about what she was doing and why she was doing it and what would happen if she did it differently. She would answer my questions and sometimes she’d laugh and ask me why I was so full of questions. I asked her once why her fingers didn’t burn when she turned the tortillas over and she said it was because she didn’t use the fingers. She said she used her fingernails. That’s why she couldn’t ever wear pretty polish on her fingernails, because if she did, it would burn. Another time I asked her how she got the tortillas so round and perfect. My mom said the secret was to run the rolling pin over and back just one time, then to turn the tortilla a little bit before running the rolling pin over and back again. She said you had to keep doing it like that, roll over and back, flip, roll over and back, flip, until the tortilla was ready to cook. Sometimes she would tell me I should run and play outside with my brothers and sisters but I never did. I liked to be inside, with my mother, next to her, talking to her and learning from her. As she cooked on the white O’Keefe & Merritt gas stove, my mother and I kept each other from being lonely.

When the tortillas were all done, enough for the nine of us, she would put everything away and start on the food. I got to stay and watch and when I was old enough, I got to help her with the cooking. That’s how I learned to make tortillas and my three sisters didn’t. That’s how I learned to make the enchiladas, tostadas, the menudo, chile verde, and all the other foods our family loved to eat every day and my sisters didn’t. That’s how I got to spend many hours talking to my mother and listening to her, learning from her and letting her learn about me, and my sisters didn’t.

My mother did other things in the kitchen and I learned to do those, too. I remember that she used to iron in one corner of the kitchen and I remember her sewing our clothes when we tore holes into them. But one special thing that I loved most that my mother did in our pink kitchen was sing. She almost always had the radio on and when the radio was on, she would be singing. She knew the words to all of the songs and when there was a new one, one she didn’t know, she would take a piece of paper and write the words then she’d put it next to the radio until the next time they played the same song and when they did, she’d rush over to the radio, grab the paper and write down more of the words until she had them all. Then the next time the new song was on, she could sing it without looking at the paper. I loved hearing the music but I loved hearing my mother sing more! I learned the words to some of the songs and sometimes I would try to sing them too. One song I liked was called El Caballo Blanco. It told the story of a white horse that escaped and ran from one city to the next, admiring the countryside of Mexico. I liked that song because I had been to some of those places. When the white horse died in Ensenada at the end of the song, it always made me sad.

Sometimes my mother would take me by the hands and twirl me around the kitchen as the music played and as her mouth sang the words to the songs. My mother loved music. She loved singing. She loved dancing.

When I think about my mother, these are the times I like to remember. Those days were filled with wonder and love and the promise of good things.

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