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Monday, May 9, 2011

For Mom

Dear Mom,

Yesterday was Mother's Day.
Our second one without you.

I should be used to it by now, but I still, nearly every day, think "I should ask Mom about that," or "I have to show this to Mom," or "I should visit Mom today," and sometimes "Mom will hate these curtains I put up."

With Alida's wedding on June 25th galloping closer every minute, I would love to be able to pick up the phone and talk dresses, guest list, food, protocol, flowers, music, hair, etiquette -- the whole panoply of wedding details -- over with you.  You had all the answers long before anyone ever thought of Google.

Mama, you may not have handed down to me your need to wash a kitchen floor on hands and knees every day, but you gave me life, a singing voice, a love of things cozy and old, fine muscle coordination to knit and craft and sew, a good eye for color (we won't mention your raspberry bathroom), and the countless little bits of knowledge that mothers pass on to daughters. 

Thank you.  I never wanted to have to reinvent the wheel. 

Because of you, I know how to handwash a wool sweater and soften it with a bit of Ivory bar soap in the final rinse, as your mother taught you.  Since I was 12, I've known how to iron a man's shirt like a pro . . . although I don't do it very often.  Or, at all.   I know to put top sheets on a bed "right" side down, so that when the sheet is folded over the blanket, the top hem is "right" side up.  My boiled potatoes go back on the hot stove burner after draining to bring out the elusive floury-ness.  (Yes, I keep the pot moving!)  I can make a perfect roux for gravy, I put oatmeal in my meatloaf for added nutrition, keep my towels absorbent by not softening them, I make a darned flaky pie crust, tie a perfect bow in a little girl's dress sash, and toss a piece of bread in a pot of too-salty soup to fix it.

So much of what I did as the mother of little ones I learned from you, as you learned from your mother.  When I was expecting our first baby, you told us "Don't ever expect a child to come up to your level to understand your actions; he can't.  But you can get down to his level, and understand his actions.  You've been a child.  Don't forget what it was like."

That stood me in good stead, and I tried to remember to ask, "Why did you do that?" when our girls had done something wrong -- and incomprehensible to me. 

And those childhood art masterpieces? "Ask them to tell you about it," was your advice.  "If you ask them, 'What is it?' you point out to them that they've created something that makes no sense."

I'm grateful for the years of loving care and kindness, for the courage you had to speak up if you thought I was doing something wrong -- especially with my kids -- and for your honesty always.  We didn't always agree.  What mother and daughter do? 

But I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that I could pick up the phone and run all the little details of the wedding, and so many other things, past you.  I am not sure I like the role of being the grownup all the time.

As they used to print on old postcards of vacation destinations:
Wish You Were Here.

Love, Cass

PS  Howard and I spent Mother's Day at the family beach house on Long Island, waiting for moving men to bring my Dad's furniture back from storage in New Jersey.  One more chapter finished.  The house is looking wonderful, cared-for and cherished; our parents would be pleased.


  1. I've been a bit MIA around blogs recently, I'm so glad I dropped by to read this loving testament to your mum. It's 48 years now since I lost my dear mother way too young and I still think of her everyday and like you thank her for her legacy. A hug to you.

  2. That was beautiful....Happy belated Mother's Day.

  3. Cass, now after reading this tribute to your dear mother I have to go and give my 90 year old mom another hug......I've been blessed.

    Words to live by in this post.

  4. What a beautiful and loving tribute to your mother. I too, had the same feelings as you when we were planning our daughter's wedding 3 years ago. I so missed her on that special day. The photos of your parents are wonderful. Thanks for sharing from your heart. It does get better with time but there is always something that will bring back the memories. Blessings, Pamela

  5. This is beautiful, Cass. I cherish so many of the same things my mother passed on to me. If she were only here to thank. Thanks for helping to bring back so many good memories. I hope the two have met in heaven.


  6. Oh, Cass, this is heart melting! What a lovely write for your Mother. I feel as do you ... 'if only I could ...' but she's looking down. Your love flooded me with the love for my Mother, & how terribly I miss her.

    Beautiful! Thank you ...

    Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day ~
    TTFN ~

    5 Day GIVEAWAY, pop over.

  7. ahh that was a beautiful tribute to your mother.

  8. What a wonderful tribute to your Mother, and thank you for sharing it with us.
    Enjoy your evening.

  9. What a wonderful tribute to your mother. sandie

  10. I have tears in my eyes reading this tribute to your mom, what a wonderful woman.

  11. Cass- What a wonderful tribute to your Mom- IO only hope my kids think the same way about me someday! xxoo Diana

  12. You have the most wonderful way of expressing what is in all our hearts.

  13. Cass-

    You always write so beautifully, but this post was extra special. What a lovely way to honor your mom, in your words, memories and in your actions. She must have been so proud of you and your siblings. The caring way you're updating their beach house shows that the loving bond you have with her will never die.


  14. Happy belated Mother's Day to you Cass. I was very touched by your blog honoring your mother. This is the first Mother's Day without my mom who passed this past November. So many of the things your mom taught you were things I learned from my mom and others were things I am inspired to think about now. An altogether inspiring, informational, and touching post. I'm glad I dropped by today.

  15. Cass, that was a beautiful tribute to your Mom. And I learned something new about the potatoes!

  16. I feel the same way, everything I learned was from my mom, and yes after almost ten years I still want to pick up the phone and call her:)


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