Homemade Love

IMG_5862

It’s midnight and I am eating a bowl of Cream of Wheat. I put berries in it, because that makes it grown up Cream of Wheat.

IMG_2463

I am extremely nostalgic. It doesn’t take much for this mind of mine to drift back to memories of my youth. Even this very late dinner does that. It made me think of mom…and what perfect timing right before Mother’s Day.

I sometimes stay up too late by choice. I get distracted by Facebook, laundry, writing, and oh….eating. My mother often stayed up very late also. My brother and I were in awe, thinking she had some super power. That power being – never sleeping yet still amazing. There were no distractions for her, like Facebook. She stayed up late because it was the only way to accomplish everything on her list. And her list was long.

Mom basically raised us on her own. Dad worked hours away in Chicago all week and only came home on weekends. I never understood just how much my mother did for us, until I grew up. That’s motherhood though, isn’t it? The reward comes when an adult child wakes up one day and realizes, “Damn! My mother was amazing!” Until then, and forever and always, we give it our all.

My brothers and I lacked for nothing. We lived in a tiny little town in Wisconsin, population almost non existent. There was no shopping for cool clothes or convenience food, yet we had the cutest clothes and homemade everything for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every kid in town wanted to eat at our house. Those late nights mom had, produced homemade canned applesauce, pickles, candied apple rings, and strawberry jam, homemade bread, pies from scratch, and cookies. I grew up with very little preservatives. Thank you, mom.

If staying up until early morning hours to make sure we had the best food, wasn’t enough, mom was a constant presence at our school and in the community. She was the leader of not only my adorable little Brownie troop, but also for the Cub Scouts. She was president of the school board. She was ALWAYS the room mother for all of us, and often requested by the other children too! I don’t remember a school party without my mom there and her fabulous homemade treats. It was so comforting and I knew I had the mom everyone wanted.

And by the way, her hair and make were done every day. She was and is elegant and lovely. Always put together. I am thankful for that influence in my life.

What amazes me most now, at the ripe ol’ age of 45 and recently divorced…..is that my mom did all of this while living in a nightmare. Her marriage was abusive and she wasn’t able to leave until we were all grown. She made life look perfect for all of us, because that’s what mommies want – a perfect world for our children. After a certain age, even as a child I figured out it was far from perfect. Still, my mother never quit. We still had all of our needs met, above and beyond, even when at one point she had to join the workforce. The laundry, dinner, lunches for school, everything was just magically done for us. Wow mom – thank you! I wish I had the gumption as a child to try to help out more.

One of the greatest blessings of age has been my relationship with mom. She’s my best friend and confidant. At some point in my life, after raising children myself, I started to see my mother as a woman and a friend. We just don’t see our moms that way when we are young. There is a woman in there. I had to experience motherhood and marriage for myself to understand what it was like for her. Now I can imagine it, even feel it. Now I know how much she must have struggled at times, simply putting one foot in front of the other. All the while taking care of my self-centered , child’s heart.

This Mother’s Day I am looking forward to time with my mom more than ever. Thankfully she never tires of me as I have become more needy of her through the years. Always there with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and a listening ear…..this Mother’s Day will look like any other day for the two of us, because we are often together. It isn’t any other day for me though. As time goes on, we lose people we love. I live purposely with that thought, and cherish this holiday as we take a day to reverence our dear mothers who give everything without blinking.

DSC00519