Happy Mother’s Day

I originally published this here five years ago, but feel it’s worth a second shot today. Love you Mom!

This is my mom when she was four. She gave me this picture last year on my 55th birthday.

There are so many things I love about the photograph. Mom wasn’t sure, but suspects it was taken by my Great Grandmother Powers. She was a photographer and was the one who colored the picture.

As I look at the photograph now I think of Sandra Cisnero’s story “Eleven”. It is about a young girl just turning eleven, but the day doesn’t go as she hoped. She reflects on how, sometimes, “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six and five, and four and three, and two, and one.”

I realize that never before have I thought of my mother as any age except the one she was at any given time. Today I know that she, like all of us, has carried all her ages with her through her lifetime.

I wonder how many times in her 80 years she has felt four. How many times has she gone back to that day on the beach when she was alone with her thoughts, listening to the sound of waves and laughter behind her?

I suspect there have been many of those days. Perhaps in July of 1951 when she married my father she was feeling timid and naïve, like a girl younger than she was. Or in May of 1952 when her first child was born and she held him with the same love she’d once felt for her dolls, when she was four. In November of 1963, when her first love passed away suddenly; unexpectedly, she must have wanted to crawl onto her own mother’s lap for reassurance and comfort.

When I look at my four-year old mother on the beach I see the precision she is using to place shells on the sand. It is the same precision she used when she cooked for us or when she created quilts, or rugs, or stained glass. I can see her in her forties kneading bread dough on a Saturday morning with that same concentration, and I can see her in her fifties planning lessons for her students, and in her sixties reading to her grandchildren.

Having lived as my mother’s daughter for more than 55 years I recognize that look on her young face. It is the same as mine and underneath it I know she is thinking deep thoughts, even at four. Thoughts that she may never share with anyone because then they would not be hers alone.

She seemed content to be four years old. And today, she seems content being eighty. I understand now, that when you’re four, or forty, or eighty you are all the ages that came before. You don’t leave them behind, but carry them with you, and sometimes clutch them tightly like a child clutching seashells in her hand.

Thank you Mom, for being there for me, no matter what age I am or what age I’m feeling.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Gratitude #59

This week, and all others, I am feeling grateful for my mom.


She has faced many challenges in life, yet has remained strong and true to her beliefs.

She has always had an open mind and open heart and knows the meaning of unconditional love better than most.

Mom has been my number one supporter in my life, there to share every success and every failure.

mom 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

I am repeating a post I wrote 3 years ago. For a variety of reasons it seemed timely. Enjoy and have a lovely Christmas Eve!

gift 2

Today’s post will be brief. I hope that everyone is too busy with family and friends to be spending time here, but I do hope that you’ll find some time this week to read it. I think it’s important.

My mother has perfected the art of narrowing life down to its most important components. I’m not sure how she would sum it up herself, but if I were to do it for her I think she would say live simply, be kind to others, listen to your heart, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Several years ago she and my dad began giving each of their children and spouses monetary gifts at Christmas. Their philosophy was that we could save it or buy something that we really wanted or needed. Everyone agreed it was a fine idea.

Then last year, we had word that my nephew might need to have heart surgery. This worried everyone, but it was my mother who decided that rather than give the usual gifts of money to everyone, she would open an account in my nephew’s name and put all the gift money in that account to help when he had his surgery. She had me print out notes telling people that, which she put into the Christmas cards. It turned out that several of us, in turn, made donations to that account.

My mother has decided to repeat the idea, but this year she has started a new account, not for any one person in need, but to be available to any family member who might need it at some point in their life. It’s a kind of general help fund. Here is the note I made for her cards this year:

Mom and Jack's gift

My mom ‘gets’ the meaning of Christmas better than anyone I know.

This holiday season share in the joy of giving and remember that the greatest gift you can give anyone is the gift of kindness.