Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Special

by Leann

I don't recall many Mother's Days growing up. My mind won't let me because I had a crummy childhood. But it was a far different story with my own kids. I got the burned toast and the messy pancakes served in bed and the wonderful handmade cards. My kids were great. They still are. And how I wish they were here with me today. But as is the case these days, people are scattered, and my children live 2500 miles away--on both the east coast and the west coast. I miss them every day.

But what I am reflecting on most today is that I never gave my grandmothers those handmade cards or the hugs they deserved. Our family was too fractured, to absorbed in drama to take time to appreciate these women. I regret that. My paternal grandmother was a tiny woman--4'11"--but she was a powerhouse. She and my grandpa were poor so they took in boarders and my grandma sold wonderful homemade bread for 25 cents a loaf. That was the best bread I ever had. So I'm looking up right now and saying "I love you Grandma Hart. You were so special."

My maternal grandmother was born in Germany. She hardly ever smiled but she taught me things--like how to iron. I never knew there was a certain place to start and a certain place to finish when you iron until she took the time to spend an afternoon with me. She lived in Chicago and we lived in Niagara Falls, so this happened on one of her rare visits. She was a baker and my grandfather was a chef, so my love of cooking and baking comes from both sides of the gene pool. I was in awe of Grandma Ebeling. Her white hair and her strength and the tears in her eyes every time she left for home are things I will never forget.

Why I am remembering them today? Because I went to a tea put on by the librarians before the big signing at the Festival of Mystery last Monday. And I sat most of the time with an 82 year old woman who reminded me of those women I never knew well enough. She told me stories and made me laugh and was sweet and gentle. She even gave me a great idea for a future novel. As a writer, I've learned to listen. Mothers and grandmothers have so many important things to say.

How about you? Who are you celebrating today, whether they are alive or dead? What memories do you have?