Behind My Red Door

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A special tribute to my mom...

This is partly a repeat of a post I made last May as a tribute to my mom. It really captured what I wanted to say about her but I have updated it a bit.

"A mother holds her children's hands for a moment, but their hearts forever". That is one of my favorite quotes. And I think it could be said in reverse too - don't you? I know I will hold my mom in my heart forever. That's her below with Jen recently. Jen rightfully calls her Mamma, "the most beautiful woman in the world".

This is me and mom when we went to lunch at the Mischievous Chef inside Country Mischief last year. We need to do that again, don't we Mom? My mom and I have such a nice time we make an outing and do lunch. She will follow me anywhere! hehehe

I am one of the really lucky ones in this world. I have such an awesome mom! She is one of my best friends and I would NOT be the strong confident woman I am if it weren't for her. Actually I have to tell you right off the bat that I REALLY wouldn't be the wife and mom I am if it weren't for her. In 1972, when I was a junior in high school, she fixed me up with this really cute guy that worked at the drugstore where she was a bookkeeper. He worked there after classes at a local college and she thought he was a sweetheart. And as usual MOM KNOWS BEST. That cute guy and I will celebrate our 34Th anniversary in June. And she never lets me forget it - but that's OK, she did good!

I hardly know where to begin telling you all the wonderful, clever, talented, creative things my mom did as the four of us were growing up. There were 4 of us growing up but when I was 16, we lost my brother Bobby in a car accident. I don't know how a mom handles that, but my mom did. She is just amazing. As for her creative side, I guess I can start right at the beginning because hanging in my bedroom is the Christening gown, little jacket and slip she made for me when I was baptized. The slip is cotton, and the dress and little jacket are eyelet lace with the teeniest buttons, snaps and bows. When I took them out to display them last year, there were little felt baby shoes she hand sewed for us when we were babies. She made our Easter dresses, our winter coats with matching hand muffs, our back to school clothes and even learned how to make her own lined pinch pleat draperies and slipcovers for the furniture. When the six of us traveled cross country in a station wagon pulling a pop up tent trailer that we opened each night and closed each morning for six weeks - YES SIX WEEKS - my mom and sister and I had matching clothes. She was a saint to take four kids on a trip like that but she also made clothes for the trip! One fall, every evening after we were all in bed, she sewed dozens of Barbie and Ken doll outfits and all the little accessories that went with them as well. Have you ever seen how teeny those arm holes are? That was a very special Christmas surprise for me I tell you. Well every Christmas was special in our house with her handmade decorations and Christmas stockings and all the baking and cooking she did.
Here is mom and my sister Chris.

Along with the Christening dress, also in my home are three oil paintings she did. How many people can say they own original primitive portraits done by their mom. The ones in the header and the opening picture of this post were hand painted my mom in 1987. She used the kids school pictures that year to capture their faces and used old primitive portraits as inspiration for the rest of the paintings. When our home was featured in Country Sampler and Mercantile Gatherings this spring, I was thrilled that my mom's artwork and talent would be shared with so many people all over the country. And now through my blog, people all over the world see it as well. How cool is that mom? In addition to the paintings, several family members are the lucky recipients of the quilts she made through the years- including the one she made for Jay's crib and Jen's bed. Actually my love of decorating came from my mom too. She started me on the road to colonial style as well. She would punch copper panels and use the sulphur in egg yolks to darken it. She bought classic old pieces at yard sales and refinished them and restored them. Mom always made our home a warm comfortable but stylish haven to come home to.

When there was a bake sale at school, no plain old brownies for my mom -no way! She baked whoopie pies - dozens and dozens of the best ones you have ever tasted. At Christmas time she made cookies that were works of art and so many different ones. In the summer she would make pickles and relishes and jams and jellies from the fruits and veggies in season or the ones she grew in her own backyard. I remember eating watermelon so she could pickle the rind. My mouth is watering now thinking of them. She grew strawberries and rhubarb so she could make jam and pies with them. When we had lamb, we had her homemade mint jelly to go with it. But she also grew beautiful flower gardens as well. Our front and back yard always had something in bloom during the warmer months. Are you getting the idea? I cannot think of anything my mom couldn't and didn't do. She actually went to Girl's Trade School at night and learned just about every trade they offered. I think they finally said "Beverly, we have nothing left to teach you".
Here's my folks and my brother Allan and is wife Cindy in Newport a few years back.

Of course she helped with Girl Scouts and was a Den Mother for Cub Scouts too. She always made every occasion or holiday special for our family. She made panoramic sugar eggs with little scenes inside for Easter and she blew the inside out of eggs and decorated the delicate shells and we had an Easter Tree. Of course there were never any store bought Halloween costumes in our house. We all had unique hand made ones. And every birthday, our cakes could have graced the cover of Woman's Day or Good Housekeeping. We had dolls and trains and rockets ship cakes. And Easter meant a Bunny Cake and there was a flag one on the Fourth of July with fresh berries. She did that before it was in style. And I can't forget her trademark meat stuffing for the turkey at Thanksgiving and the special Lithuanian dish we have only at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving called Potato Kugelis. Yummo!
And she didn't stop when we grew up. She made my wedding dress, her Mother of the Bride dress, the flower girl's dress and decorated all the garden hats we wore. She would have made the cake too if someone (ME!) didn't stop her! My first Christmas as a married woman, I got ornaments made from some of the leftover wedding dress lace. They still hold a place of honor on my tree every year.

When my kids were born, she started doing fun things for and with them. For a time, she and my dad lived on Cape Cod and every holiday - not just Christmas, but Easter, Halloween, you name it, she would makes cassette tapes for the kids and mail them to us. She would read the holiday stories from the magazines she bought, and she play songs on the piano and sing to the kids on the tape. We still have those tapes. Yes, she also plays the piano - very well. She plays often and her voice is as sweet and strong as ever. She painted designs on T-shirts and sneakers for the fourth of July and I know, I know, you are saying SHE IS MAKING THIS UP - no one could do all those things and be that creative and talented and I have to tell you it is the truth and I have witnesses!

When the kids got old enough, she would do crafts with them and cook with them and she would take Jason to the movies I didn't want to see and she would paint Jen's nails and toes and do her hair fancy and make jewelry with her. They would get to stay at Mamma's on the Cape for a treat, and she took them to the Herring Run and the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory and every other fun thing she could find. When they were older, she would drive back here for Jen's dance recitals and Jay's football games and their proms. That''s just the kind of Mamma she is. My kids adore her (and Bampa too.)

And now I am so excited that my mom will be able to get to know Jay's first child when Liliana is born. She is already a great Gramma to my brother's grand kids and now she will be to mine as well. I cannot wait to have a picture made of 5 generations. What a day that will be!

Well I could go on and on, but I think you have a good picture of the mom I have. Pretty special huh? Yup she sure is. As I said, I am one of the lucky ones in this world. I got to be her daughter. Happy Mother's Day Mom! You mean the world to me and David and the kids. We all love you very much. We are the lucky ones...
And before I go, here is a picture of another mother - Momma duck sitting on her six eggs that I showed you in a previous post.
The area she is sitting is right behind this little fence you see in the picture below and it is between the garage doors and the front door. It must scare her every time we come and go!
I need to get busy. Mom, my daughter Jen, my sister and my nieces are coming to dinner and then helping me put some finishing touches on the baby shower decor for Saturday. I am having a make your own salad bar before we get down to work! I'll try to get some pictures to share.
I'll be back next week sometime. Until then, I want to wish all of the moms, grandmothers, great grandmothers and moms to be that read my blog, a very Happy Mother's Day. I hope you are able to spend the day with those you love! That is what I will be doing Behind My Red Door.

Until next time - hugs, Linda