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…