The Smiles and Tears of Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day. A bittersweet day for me. I’m the mother of two sons, which is something for which I am quite grateful. And they love me–which is a precious blessing. 

Countering that joy is the sorrow of missing my Mom for the past 26 Mother’s Days and my best friend on this Earth, Grandma, for the last 9. Obviously, were it not for these two women, I literally would not be here to experience motherhood of my own. 

Jane and Janice showed me how to love when it hurts and how tough the “weaker sex” can be, when needed. I felt the warm, sunshiny feeling of their laughter. I knew heartbreaking sorrow when I made them cry. Both found it in their hearts to continue to love me. They sometimes taught lessons that were tough. Now and again, they were tempered with the Love of God. 

Each woman shared a love for dancing, which I dearly wish I had inherited. I love watching other people dance, but then end up with a less than stellar critique of my own skill. On occasion, I can throw caution to the winds and relax enough to give it a shot. I did inherit the love of the music, though. Everything from Glenn Miller, Perry Como and Roger Whitaker to Patsy Cline, Dean Martin and the Righteous Brothers. A little bit of ABBA thrown in there, too. Big band swing to rock and roll.

My Mom, Janice, was a shy and quiet child. Grandpa used to say that they didn’t even know they had a baby in the house, at times. She was an average student. I think one could say she had a bit of an inferiority complex. She was a middle child and felt that her older brother and sister, and then the two younger sisters, were more “important” than she. Her own worst critic. Mom liked to bowl. She loved Brach’s Chocolate Stars. She discovered she enjoyed banjo music, especially when performed by Roy Clark. Her favorite color was red, the color of the last car she owned. Her favorite flowers were roses. She struggled in life. Really struggled, painfully so. Her personality tended toward her father’s Sicilian temper. I sometimes pushed her too hard. What travails I have experienced with raising two, she faced with five. 

I now have outlived Mom in number of birthdays. Two months before her 46th birthday, leukemia won a fierce but temporary battle. Her God won the war and He shared His victory. I was 27 years old and a Mom of two young boys. I imagine I inherited a fair degree of determination (stubbornness?) from her. Grandma said my toes look like hers. 🙂 

Jane was my Grandma. The only one I knew. She, too, was a middle child–second of four. She loved school and excelled in her classes. She taught ballroom dancing in her youth. She admired nurses. Very seldom did I see her really angry. She had, until the end, a remarkable memory. She used to tell me useful things, such as, ‘Don’t plop when you sit; be proud of your height; keep your house clean; know where your children are; chocolate is a food group, and don’t forget to pray.’ 

She had a quick wit and a silly sense of humor. She loved corny jokes. She laughed a lot. When I think of her,  the memory often involves her laughter. She had a saying for most of life’s situations. Whenever I think of bear, I also have to think of buckwheat and what bear like to do in it. She enjoyed bowling in her later years. She called it her exercise. In the summers, she had her swimming pool. She used to hang her laundry out to dry on the clothesline. In the winter, she hung them on the clothesline in the basement. She didn’t have a dryer until she was about age 60. She resisted getting a “colored” phone because she couldn’t talk any better on it than on the black one. Her favorite flowers were lilacs. 

I perceive that I’ve inherited Grandma’s over sensitivity and ease of tears. Her love of cooking and baking (unfortunately eating it, also). For as short a time as I had Mom, God gave me a double measure of grace with Grandma. She lived a good, long life of 87 years and 11 months. Her sorrow was to outlive three daughters. I was 44 when she just had to slip away. She raised 5 and saw 19 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren born to her. And I heard her pray for all of us at night. I have hands that look just like hers. 

Many more mothers and a couple of grandmothers have succeeded Jane. My two surviving sisters and I are carrying on in our motherhood for Janice. One sister, Michelle, died in a motorcycle accident when she was just 20 years old. We all were so much younger, then. She was not a mother, but she loved her nephews like one. 

I thank God for Jane and Janice, and the ones who came even before and shaped their lives. Geri and Kim are excellent Moms. I, Robin, have my strengths and my weaknesses, but I love my sons. Fiercely.

You see, that was how I was taught. That was my example. And God’s love is eternal. He sure loves mothers! 

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~ by saginawrobin on May 12, 2013.

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