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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Questions I Need To Ask My Mother...



Mom will be eighty-two this year but you really wouldn’t know it to look at her. She still has a bounce in her step and a twinkle in her eye and is determined to deal with whatever life hands her. Unfortunately, life has recently dealt her a blow that we’d all been expecting for some time now.

Losing my dad last month was difficult but it made me realize that after all of the times we discussed his family (mostly through humorous anecdotes) that I never really wrote anything down. There is family scattered through several states and Italy that I will probably never meet or know anything about.

The older I get the more I wish that I’d paid more attention, remembered more names and events. One of these days, very soon when mom is in the mood; we’re going to drag out the photo albums and she’s going to identify all of those relatives on both sides so that I can put faces to the names and pass down the knowledge to my own children.

Every spring, usually in May, my husband pots my mother’s herbs and plants tomatoes and peppers. This past weekend we spent a wonderful day just reminiscing while we watched hubby work. Trust me; he’d rather do the planting himself without any interference and we spent much of that time and dinner talking about some of my dad’s relatives that were originally from Iowa and Paris, Kentucky.

My mother is second generation Croatian/Polish and has her own family stories, some of them handed down from her own mother who was always ready with both humorous and cautionary anecdotes. The thing is, while growing up, I was politely listening to most of these stories without realizing the impact they were making.

What I remember most was that the happy memories were enough to balance the sad.  

I’m lucky to still have my mom. We spend a little more time on the phone these days and my niece, who lives close to mom brings her to visit so that she doesn’t need to drive so far and we all spend more time talking about the people who have influenced our lives. I watch my five year-old niece who comes with her mom and ‘gramma’ and wonder how much of our conversations she’s picking up. How much she’ll remember.

I wish her enough happy memories to balance the sad but I think that’s the message we all impart to the next generation. I’m looking forward to many more conversations with my mother, both about the past and whatever she has planned for the future because she is always up for something new and different. She called to thank us once again for coming to spend the day planting her herbs and such but she couldn’t stay on very long; she and a friend were headed to exercise class. Go mom!

Until next month, I’m sending you all a big hug. Feel free to pass it along…
Paris Brandon
http://parisbrandon.com

18 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your father's passing. How wonderful your mom is such a dynamic lady.

I think we don't write down those precious stories when we're young because we just think we have all the time in the world. If I may suggest...sit down and write out five memories about your dad. I did that for mine thinking it would be a hard five to find. By the time I was done, I had nearly a dozen pages for him and another seven for my grandmother. You know those stories, you didn't forget. {{Hug back at ya}}

Cara Marsi said...

Paris, what a wonderful tribute to your mother. I'm sorry about your father's passing. It's great you have such a good relationship with your mother.

I don't know enough about my family either. I'm only second generation in this country but I do know most of my relatives who are still in Italy and the ones in Australia. They know a lot about the family history.

Paris said...

Rose,
Thank you for the wonderful suggestion. I've been trying to remember the stories and you're right, this is the time to write them down. Thanks for the hug :)

Paris said...

Cara,
I think the older I get the more I am able to reflect on the past and put it into perspective.

How lucky you are to know most of your relatives who might remember the past that belongs to you!

Tina Donahue said...

What a sweet post, Paris. Sorry about your dad. It's always difficult to lose a parent.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Paris! I was at my mom's several months ago and was looking for photos from my childhood with my sisters at Christmas time. I picked up a small bound book of photos done way before me and noticed they were of a funeral. I passed them to mom and the photos were of her brother who died in Korea. I had no idea she had those.

I've heard to put names and dates on the pictures so that will help in remembering when you share with someone. It's so sad to see family photos in flea markets.

stanalei said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Paris.

Paris said...

Thank you, Tina. Yes, it was very difficult.

Paris said...

Vicki,

I've always wondered about family photos at flea markets. It's something I would never throw out but perhaps there was a history behind the photos that we can't guess. Who knows?

Paris said...

Thank you, Stanalei.

Melissa Keir said...

I'm glad you have such a close relationship with your mom. Those are to be cherished.

Paris said...

Melissa,
Yes, we've always been close and I'm very grateful for that.

jean hart stewart said...

I certainly wish I'd asked my mother more about my father, who died when I was six. What I do know is wonderful, but I wish I knew more..

Paris said...

Jean,
Lately I've wondered if maybe I didn't put it off for so long because I didn't really want to think about a time when I wouldn't be able to ask. I'm sure that you cherish the memories you do have. I know I do.

Rose Gorham said...

Loved your post, Paris. Thanks for sharing.

Janice Seagraves said...

(((Hugs))) Sorry to hear about your dad. At least you still have your mom and have a chance to write down some of those stories.

Janice~

Paris said...

Rose,

Thanks for all of the support over the years and especially during this difficult time.

Paris said...

Thanks, Janice! Yeah, I will be writing some things down and enjoying some memories.

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