A Time I Can’t Remember

2015-12-28

I have been an adult orphan for the past seven years. Yesterday Mom (who passed in January 2009) and Dad (who passed in 2007) were on my heart and in my thoughts while spending a wonderful day celebrating my birthday with my husband, daughter and sons. I especially missed my mom. Even yesterday, with her passing almost seven years ago, I cried and I missed her.

I was mulling over how Mom must have felt the day that she was in labor and gave birth to me. I wish she had recorded in writing when she started having her contractions and the entire experience. Was Dad home to take her to the hospital? What did it feel like at that time to give birth and not have Dad with her during the delivery as was the typical case at that time? How did she feel delivering her fifth child? I would have loved reading today what her dreams for me were that day.

As a mother myself, I can easily envision my thirty-one year old mother holding me, kissing me, and loving me. Being born two days after Christmas Mom always told me that I was the best Christmas present she ever received. They were delighted to have a daughter added to their family of four sons.

I do have pictures (and Dad bought colored film for these pictures) of Mom and Dad holding me when I was an infant fifty-six years ago. And I’m also fortunate to have a copy of our silent 8 mm home movie (converted to a DVD) that my dad taped on Christmas Eve of Mom when she was nine months pregnant with me. She looked young and slim, other than her stomach, and she was admiring the homemade gifts that her sons (ten, eight, six and three years old) had made for her.

With the holiday season we miss our loved ones even more. And I felt it yesterday on my birthday. But I still had a terrific day because I feel my mom is with me wherever I go. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. With the cycle of life I also had a new generation, my adult children, to spend time with and enjoy life.

Now is the time to start Keeping Your Memories of the day that your child was born because that is one day that he or she will not remember! Pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and record in writing the emotional experience you had that day. One day your child and his or her descendants will cherish reading your memories you have on this special day.

  • When did you start having contractions?
  • Did you deliver the infant at home or at a hospital?
  • Who took you to the hospital and what was the story behind the transportation?
  • Share the emotional feelings you felt when you saw your infant for the first time.
  • What prayers or wishes did you have for this newborn child?

 

 

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A Mother’s Graduation…

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Yesterday I watched my son (pictured on the right) receive his college diploma. All graduations are special but this one was extra special as it was a moment of completion, perhaps my graduation also, as now all three of my children have finished their college education and my mission of raising my three is fully complete.

As the noted speaker was giving her commencement speech, my mind wandered reflecting on my twenty-eight year journey raising my one daughter and two sons. I fell madly in love with my newborns, adored my toddlers, was delighted with my young children, annoyed with my middle schoolers, aggravated with my high schoolers, and today respect and love my adult children.

As infants, my children were completely dependent on me to feed them, clothe them and love them. I was in love with these angels and was full of joy with each accomplishment when they rolled over, sat up, crawled, cut their first tooth, walked, and spoke their first words. My heart was filled when my babies reached their little dimpled arms to me wanting to be held and snuggled to fall asleep in my arms.

1992-07 Joanna, Michael and Jeff

The first days of kindergarten came too quickly for each of them. I was excited for their milestone, but as I watched them board the school bus and see it pull away, they would look out the window and wave. I smiled back waving holding back my tears. And when each one arrived home from school they would jump off the bus and run into the house excited to tell me everything that happened that morning in their classroom.

I attended my children’s first school concert proudly watching them and snapping endless pictures. The next few years my children were away from home with their first sleepover with a friend and eagerly picked up in the morning. My children grew and were learning to be independent but even still were willing to curl up in my lap before bedtime. As I saw each one sleep, I could still see the baby in each of them.

Then came the first day of middle school, and I started to feel the sting as the apron string was being snipped. This time they got on the bus and still looked out the window, but only smiled discreetly and for sure wasn’t going to wave. The school day was over but not coming home on the bus due to after school activities and now needed various pick up times to be set. What hadn’t changed was that I still proudly watched my children participate in multiple sports and school choir events. At this point each was spending more time with friends and sleepovers turned into hanging out all day with their friends. Now I was given a quick kiss and hug as long as it was in the privacy of home and no one was watching.

The next phase was the toughest as the apron string was close to being completely cut. On the first day of high school my children were riding the bus and now not even looking my way to acknowledge me. They were coming home late from after school sports and activities but didn’t need a ride because they would find their own means. They now had their first job and activities were now scheduled around work and school. They earned their first driver’s license and now no longer needed me for transportation. I was no longer top priority nor the most important person to them on their list and they started having relationships with others, dates and proms.

They began looking at colleges, were excited for the future and gave minimal information. But it remained strong that I still proudly watched my teenagers play in their sports and sing in the school choir. And at this point, if it was necessary, they gave me a kiss.

There was a mix of sadness and excitement dropping my children off at college and an emptiness coming home to their empty bedrooms. There were no more bus rides, no after school activities, however, I did start to hear a little bit more from them as they adjusted being on their own. It was wonderful to see how their learned life skills helped them adjust to being independent. They met new friends and had new experiences. Now they kissed and hugged when we saw each other again and when going back to school.

Yesterday I cried and was extremely proud to see how my son has transformed into a handsome man shaking hands and accepting his degree. I had to wait until the formalities were done and the ceremony was complete before I could congratulate him. When we saw each other in a crowd of people, he reached down to me and gave me a hug and a kiss.

My mission is complete with my three adult children. I am looking forward to the next stages for my three adult children as they have begun their lives on their own and praying that it will be years of joy for them.

What memorable times do you have of raising your children or someone that you have mentored? Now is the time to open up your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of the memorable times you have had with them.

http://www.keepingyourmemories.com

Write a Gift…It’s Priceless!

2015-12-05

Every Christmas I faithfully bake the fruitcake that Mom and Grandma baked. I religiously buy the ribbon candy and mixed nuts that were holiday treats for Mom and Dad. These traditional foods make us feel like Mom and Dad are still with us even though it has already been almost seven and nine years that they have been gone.

I am also fortunate to have the story of her childhood Christmas memories towards the end of the Great Depression that she wrote in 2001 for my son’s classroom project. To this day she feels close to me as I carry on some of these family traditions and read the story she wrote for my son:

“My mother was a great cook and everything always tasted good. When I was a young girl, many years ago, I remember the sight of beautiful deep red cranberries popping and spitting in a tall pan on a wood-burning stove. I can hear the popping of the cranberries as the hot syrup caused the berries to make small explosions that splattered and spit at us as I watched by the stove. I remember you had to jump back quickly. The burn from the cranberry syrup was tiny but intense. My memory of this is vivid to this day.

I liked the colors of Christmas. We went to the Nativity play at the First Baptist Church on the corner of Broad and Rhone in Webb City to see the Nativity play where the birth of Christ was retold. The children dressed in costumes and they used a doll for the Baby Jesus. I remember the pretty blue of Mary’s dress. Afterwards the children got paper sacks filled with colorful Christmas candy, an apple and an orange. This was a real treat. The colors were important for me. This was a time when we were all coming out of the Great Depression. Most of us had little and the items called for worn things and drab colors. You cannot imagine how brown everything was in our homes. At Christmas my world became brighter.

The colors made me feel thankful and there were so many colors to absorb. Christmas would not be Christmas without seeing lights on a fir tree in our house. We did not always have a tree each year because some years Pop couldn’t always afford one. One year when I was ten, my Mom let me have my heart’s desire having all blue lights on our Christmas tree. I think now she must have understood how much I loved the beauty of this holiday. This tree was my favorite. It calmed me and gave me peace. My appreciation and happiness of that moment has never been forgotten.

Christmas brings back memories of ribbon candy, the hard Christmas candy each with its own special flavor, and the candied orange peel my Aunt Jessie always made. She also brought minced meat pie. We were not crazy about the pie because it had real meat in it, but it was part of our Christmas tradition. I remember applesauce cake made from a seventy-five year old recipe. It was always so good. Mama only made her special cake twice a year – at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It had black walnuts in it – ones we gathered off the ground after the first frost in the fall.

I remember the fun of making paper chains, stringing popcorn and singing Christmas carols. We sang the same songs you sing today – “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Deck the Halls.”

The stories, including “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” reading about Santa Claus and his reindeer filled my imagination. I remember laying in bed on Christmas Eve waiting to see him fly through the sky and land on the housetop. I always fell asleep before it happened. I wrote a letter to Santa Claus about my wish list. My brothers and sisters and I would go through Montgomery Ward and Sears catalogs to figure out what we wanted. My list was not so grand. Skates. Dolls. Play dishes. Yet we knew, and without resentment, there might not be any present waiting for us on Christmas morning. It did not matter because I loved the wonder of what might be. It’s like watching a Christmas parade. You’re not a part of it but you still find it enjoyable.”

This Christmas give your family members the priceless gift of sharing your Christmas childhood memories with your children or grandchildren. You can write about your most memorable Christmas and add some of your childhood pictures to your story. One day your descendants will enjoy reading how you and your family celebrated the holidays and will cherish the stories that you left them.

If you are blessed to be with your parents and/or grandparents this holiday season, sit down with them and use the voice memo on your cell phone to record their stories .

Today, grab a paper and pen or open up your laptop and start Keeping Your Memories of your traditions.

  • What Christmas decorations did you put up every year?
  • What did you do on Christmas Eve?
  • What was your Christmas dinner and whom did you share it with?
  • Describe your favorite Christmas present .
  • What did Christmas morning feel like when you were a child?

http://www.keepingyourmemories.com