In early April I received a Harry & David gift catalog announcing that “it’s not too late for Mother’s Day.” In previous years I’d sent plants and gift towers of treats from this catalog to honor Mom:
Although positive thinking is usually a strength of mine, I saw the catalog and thought, “nope, it’s too late, and Mother’s Day’s going to be very, very sad this year for me.” I remembered when I was little and Mom was young and beautiful. She was definitely the most important person my world when Dad went to Europe during WW II:
I always thought of this picture as “leavings.” This was a time defined by farewells. In addition to Dad, all my other male relatives on both sides of the family in that generation were in the military in various parts of the world. Walking a few blocks to the bus stop to meet someone and not long enough afterwards walking back and bidding the same person farewell was a regular part of my young life in Poplar Grove, IL. For many years afterwards, I found saying “good-bye” to any one or any thing very difficult–to the extent that I often tried to avoid good-bye’s altogether.
Mom, my younger brother and I lived with our beloved maternal grandmother, Anna Hahn Stocker, during that time. My strongest memory is of day-and-night listening to the wooden stand-alone radio while we sat around the dining room table.
The words “ALLIED TROOPS” on the radio grabbed our attention; every one froze and fell silent–although I know now I really didn’t get who the allied troops were. When I was five Grandma taught me to knit, crochet and embroider—in idle moments when she wasn’t gardening, cooking, baking, raising chickens in wooden cages for Sunday dinner or managing a dairy farm not far away in southern Wisconsin. Now I appreciate what a difficult time this must have been for everyone—men and women.
Once Dad returned safely from WWII and younger brother #2 arrived, our end of the day ritual was having Mom play our favorite selections on the piano (once we’d all gone upstairs to bed) and then finally she read for her own enjoyment:When she was 92, she was fascinated to see pictures of her high school graduating class from Belvidere, IL on the internet and family pictures stored on a laptop computer:My brothers and I all remarked when she was 94-1/2 and still relatively healthy that IF we ever lost her, it would be very hard for us all to grasp and accept since she’d always been there with and for us. Well, we did lose her this past November, hence I wasn’t anticipating a happy Mother’s Day.
What a surprise and gift it turned out to be this year!! Both of my children, their families and my husband were here to celebrate (one grandson by phone). And I was the mother, of course….duh!!! It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day. We were treated to a delectable spring brunch engineered by chef David (with the assistance of daughter Becka):
We laughed and had fun together, including some silliness from Renee and Becka:
Ate incredibly delicious and artfully made frittatas:
I was touched to recall a similar brunch making scene years ago when Matt, father of Justin and Nick, was the one on the high stool cooking for the first time. This time Matt rested from his work and extracurricular activities and proudly cheered Justin on:
Yes, Harry and David were right; it’s not too late for Mother’s Day. In fact, this was one of the best I can remember. I was with my kids and their families:
and we had fun together on an incredibly beautiful day, and I remembered and honored Mom in my heart: