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?

23 comments:

Mare F said...

What a great tea you must have enjoyed. Both of my grandmothers were tiny physically, but in retrospect two of the strongest women I've ever known. Neither of my grandfathers were a paragon of virtue, but at least one of them worked even if he drank. My grandmothers raised a combined 8 children with little money, but a lot of ingenuity. Thank you, Leeann for reminding me of them. I still occasionally hear my maternal grandmother's voice in my head, usually telling me NOT to do something. LOL

Mason Canyon said...

Enjoyed the post. Just want to wish all the Cozy Chicks a Happy Mother's Day.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

jbstanley said...

This was a lovely post. It made me think of my grandmother. We were very close and it's an amazingly powerful thing to be the apple of someone's eye. Children who grow up knowing someone is in their corner no matter what (and that's often a grandparent) are blessed.

I'm sorry to hear about the drama in your own. But I bet you're grade-A mom and grandma!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks everyone. Yes, grandmas are special people and often so very strong and full of great advice. But so are good moms. I'm talking to you Jennifer-no matter what you say about your trolls! LOL.

Karen Russell said...

Such nice things to remember about your grandmothers. Mine were wonderful, too, and I miss them so much sometimes -- as my own little girl grows up, I catch myself thinking, "I wish she could see that." It's good to stop and remember sometimes, so thanks for making Mother's Day about them, too.

Tonya Kappes said...

Great story. I am one of the fortunate ones who had great mother's day with my mom and my grandmother.
I'm a little sad b/c this is the last year my youngest will make me a homemade card from school. He's in fifth grade.
Today I will host my mother, my sister and my aunt (who's children have died from cystic fibrosis) and we will celebrate eachother. Happy Mother's Day.

Leann Sweeney said...

Those wonderful homemade cards. I have a bunch packed away somewhere and when we move in a year or two, and I start going through my things, I know I will find them and shed a tear of joy...and a tiny wish to go back in time for just a little while.

Kaye said...

Lovely post - just want to wish all the cozy chicks a most Happy Mother's Day.

signlady217 said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes (not fair!). It sounds like you had a lovely time chatting with that lady, and I'm sure she enjoyed it, too. I lost my maternal grandmother in 1995, but I still have such great memories of things we did together, like playing tag out in the yard (and she was in her 60's!!), working in her yard/garden, and going to Hawaii together. My paternal grandmother passed away when I was just a tiny toddler, so I never knew her, but I've heard a lot of good things about her. My mom is an awesome grandma herself, and I have a great mother-in-law, too.

Hope everybody has a great Mother's Day, however and with whomever you celebrate!

Leann Sweeney said...

Aw, thanks. My Grandma Hart lived to be 101. She was the sweetest person ever. I do miss her.

Andrea C. said...

My mother is amazing. The love she gives our family is astounding - she holds us all together and doesn't even know it. One day, I hope to be half as a good a mother as she is! Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms on the cozy chicks blog! :)

Helen Kiker said...

My grandmother made the best homemade bread. She made a batch each week & sent several loaves to our house. We would fight over getting the crust. Yum, yum.

Helen Kiker

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day to you, Leann! I enjoyed your stories about your grandmothers.

Yvonne Powell said...

Leann,

I enjoyed your post today. It was a lovely tribute to women that are important. It brought to mind my own grandmothers (who taught me much) and also my great-grandmother, a tiny woman born in Germany. Her maiden name was Anna Ebeling...!

She came to the United States at the age of two from Germany in the 1880's and settled in Michigan, so I have no idea if our families are related. But it is certainly interesting.

Great-grandma Gaedcke was much loved by all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She passed away my freshman year of college, active and alert until the end of her 91 years!

Thanks for a wonderful blog!

Leann Sweeney said...

Yvonne, you are the first person I've known who had an Ebeling in their background. My grandfather was Fred Ebeling. He was born in Germany and brought his 13 brothers and sisters all to the United States sometime after WWI--one at a time as he earned enough money. I'll bet we are related!

Dru said...

Leann,

your post reminder me of my great-grandmother who always had tea with me with her favorite Social Tea cookies and jelly and the forbidden Hershey chocolate bar that she always shared with me.

Happy Mother Days!

Leann Sweeney said...

Grandmas are great for the forbidden things, aren't they? My Grandma Hart always made real whipped cream and Jell-o at every holiday--two things we NEVER had at home. Something so simple can mean so much!

Vickie said...

{HUGS}
I am remembering my Grandma Violet who basically raised me. She was hellah awesome, gave me a great love of gardening both veggies and flowers. She had no fear, could kill a rattlesnake with a pitchfork, and stayed up all night to soothe a granddaughter who was a sleepwalker looking for her dad who was in Vietnam. She's still with me in spirit, guiding me along.

Leann Sweeney said...

wow. That's beautiful Vickie. I would have loved to meet her!

Valerie Consoer said...

That was a very tasteful, lovely post. I grew up without a maternal grandmother. She died when I was just one year old. My mom's biological mother, though, died at the tender age of 45. She was 500 pounds when she died and I'm afraid that I'm starting to follow in her footsteps. I would have loved to have known both grandmother's, though. My paternal grandmother is still alive and I don't visit her near as much as I should. Shame on me. But she and I definitely have our differences. She's a Jehovah's Witness and I don't belong to a specific religion. We still share a few things in common. I love her because she's my grandmother, but there are definitely times that it's a good thing we don't see each other that much. I spent today with my mom. She has fibromyalgia and was in a great deal of pain today. So, I split my humongous hosta that I have and took a couple starts of it to her with some marigolds, coleuses(sp?), lillies, and potting soil. I played in the dirt while she kept me company. I'm thankful to have such a wonderful relationship with my mother. I don't know what I'd ever do without her. Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely women!

Debra said...

My best memory of my Nana was watching her do the Twist with the aid of a bath towel. Everytime I hear that Chubby Checker tune, I think of her and smile!

Leann Sweeney said...

Debra what a wonderful memory. And Valerie, how great you spent the day with your mom. I, too, have fibromyalgia so I know how much that probably meant to her. Go moms and grandmas!

Lover of Books said...

I had a very busy day so just reading this now. Happy Belated Mother's Day to the cozy chicks. I didn't get to know my dad's mom till later and then she died not long after. I miss her a lot and wonder what she would think of all her great grand children.

Krista