Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Forever Young

The other day I was chatting in the yard with my neighbor, Rosie. She's a fabulous gardener -- her yard blooms from early spring to late fall and I am lucky to have a window view. She said she is trying to convert most of it to perennials because gardening is hard work and we aren't getting any younger!

Rosie's Garden

I was telling her that I was going through old photo albums and the one I'd recently been through had photos of a "little boy" that I baby sat when he was about a year old, taken at his wedding 20 years ago. And now, his oldest daughter is graduating from high school and starting college in the fall. I said, "It's odd -- I don't feel any older than I did 20 years ago inside. Or even the 30 years before that! Maybe a little wiser, a little more sensible, but no older. Except for..."

With "Bobby," (now Bob) at his wedding in 2001

Except for... lungs that used to be able to belt out a song and be heard across a big theatre -- with no microphone. 

Lucy in Charlie Brown when I was 17

Except for... a back that gets tricky, read that downright painful, after being up and around for a bit. Chalk it up to bad posture, bad genes, bad neglect of core or just plain degeneration of disks. It's not fun. I am grateful every day to back patches and heating pads.

Except for...

My mother's birthday is this week. If she were living she would be 103, which I suspect wouldn't really be much of a life these days, after a year in Covid quarantine and all the worse if she was in an assisted living facility or one that wouldn't allow visitors. Going through those photos I came across some with a former colleague who now lives across the country. I checked with her daughters to see if she was still in her assisted living facility near one of them before mailing them out. They told me how hard the past year was on their mom and her memory, seeing no one but the facility staff who brought meals to her room each day. Mom wouldn't have done well with that. She liked people. She liked to travel.

Mom in Arizona, visiting her sister

She was at her very best being around people, whether it was family, friends or even strangers. She never met a stranger she didn't like.

Mom and Dad in the center. I wonder what they were talking about?

At this time of year, I think especially of the lessons I learned from her during those 25 years I was lucky I was have her with us. She taught me phonics so when I started school I was in the fastest reading group. I learned to love reading because of her.

She taught me how to draw, too. Well, she didn't exactly teach me, but she encouraged me with lots of how-to-draw books, once I showed an interest. My early attempts weren't good, but they were supported!

I draw much better now.

I developed a lifelong love of creating things from Mom. We'd sit at the kitchen table and make Holly Hobbie shadow boxes, dyed eggs together and created lovely additions to the Christmas tree. She taught me to knit when I was five and I learned how to needlepoint at her side. She and dad were photographers, too, and even did their own developing. I think she would have love digital cameras!

She loved to cook and most things met with approval, except for the liver that even our collie wouldn't eat. I still wish I could make her American fried potatoes the way she did. I have learned her scalloped potato recipe, thanks to the vintage Joy of Cooking edition she received as a wedding gift. (The recipe isn't in newer versions -- not her recipe!)

When it came to holidays, there wasn't a holiday my mother didn't like. Christmas was her biggie...

I am so grateful we had wonderful Christmases together

...but she was just as happy to make Halloween costumes, Easter egg trees or pull together Thanksgiving celebrations. I've inherited that gene, too.

I was about four here. Mom made the costume.

When I turned 18 and was on some sort of diet, she wanted me to have a pretty cake. So, she made one out of styrofoam and frosted it. (I'm trying to remember what everyone else had for dessert that year!)

Turning 18 with a styrofoam birthday cake.

 She collected things. So do I. And of course, I have many of her collections still -- Royal Doulton figurines, Christmas plates, her crystal and dishes. She was a dish nut. So am I -- with more china patterns than I'll ever be able to lose but haven't been able to let go just yet.

Mom's crystal, Fostoria Mulberry. I use them. Carefully.

My mom was my biggest cheerleader. When I would practice singing, she'd explain how whatever gestures used had to be definite. If I went flat, she'd tell me. And when I was good, she was first to praise. I think she saw every play or musical I was in at least twice. She was a good critic, constructive but always encouraging. When I look at the old Mary Berry episodes of "Great British Baking Show," I think, "She's like my mom -- honest, but positive and supportive."

I learned good family dynamics from watching my mom and dad -- we had few arguments in my home. They respected each other and knew how to pick battles wisely. 

Always photographers, Mom and Dad shared a darkroom. They were the among first to get a Poloroid camera.

 And from them I learned unconditional love. I'm an only child and I always wondered "Am I enough? After all, they have to love me, what other choice do they have?" That may have driven me to do best, be best, make them proud, but while I put that number on myself, I can honestly say they never did anything to indicate their love was complete and unconditional. It didn't mean I didn't get into some troublesome moments but discipline was meted our fairly and with love.

At my aunt's cottage. I think this is the only photo of my mom in denim, which is a wardrobe staple for me!

I've outlived my mom for more than a decade. She died when she was 58 and there is so much she didn't get to see. She didn't know Rick or his boys or the Toddler Twosome. She would have loved them. She didn't know about my time in television or the discoveries of my genealogy research. 

But every day of that short life she lived well. She lived it with joy, with optimism, with creativity and with a spirit of giving, whether it was of her time as a volunteer or with her heart. 

And if that had been her only lesson, that would be enough.

Sharing with:    Let's Keep in Touch      /     Pink Saturday    

56 comments:

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What a lovely post about your Mom. She sounds like she was a wonderful mother and wife.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

What a lovely tribute to your mom. If a person can be a good wife, a good mother, and a good friend, an encourager, a person easy to talk to...those are completely admirable traits. How wonderful to have had parents who were so great!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

What a lovely tribute to your mom!

Laurie said...

Oh Jeanie what a beautiful tribute to your mom, she was beautiful you resemble her! You had a wonderful upbringing except the styrofoam cake lol, oh my,,,, you weren’t over weight! Lol, that one made me laugh, now that’s true love to make your teen daughter a styrofoam foam cake because she’s dieting lol,, thank you so much for sharing this, it was lovely, brought tears to my eyes,

La Table De Nana said...

I have a photo of my mom and dad in a resto like yours:)I love it..

Seemed carefree and fun and I know her life was not..anyway you know all about me..mine passed at 55 when I was 19 and she was my bff..
Miss her every da♥ xx

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, this is such a sweet and poignant post. My Mom and yours could have been great friends. You are so blessed to have all these photographs of you growing up and of your wonderful parents. Being photographers, they knew how important it was to have photos. Our son is an only child and he wants to hear every family story and see every photo. Thank you for this amazing post, I shed a tear or two.

Martha said...

Such great memories for you, and what a beautiful tribute to your wonderful mother. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Valerie-Jael said...

Great memories and a fantastic tribute to your lovely mom! Hugs, Valerie

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, what a wonderful Mother's Day post. I'm so glad you were close to your Mother. I was close to mine as well. I have to say that I love that black and white photo of them sitting around the table so elegantly dressed. It reminded me of White Christmas when they all gathered around the tables in their finest clothes and watched the Christmas show. I love that Christmas photo of you and your Mom. That is a fun picture of you at the theatre, and I didn't know you liked to sing! My Mom made us all our Halloween costumes too. That was nice that your Mom collected figurines. I'm not familiar with the Royal Doulton pieces. Could you show me one through e-mail? And I just wanted to tell you that the pine panels that are seen in that picture with you and the cake.......that is exactly what I have now in my dining room. My brother didn't want to change it, cause he thought it worked nicely in this mountain home. : )

A delightful Mother's Day post, Jeanie. I enjoyed it all.

~Sheri

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
What a lovely post on your Mom. The photos are wonderful. I like your neighbors garden too, beautiful blooms. Take care, enjoy your day!

bobbie said...

Such a beautiful tribute to your wonderful Mom!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

What a wonderful Mom you had! I can certainly see the influence on you. It was so nice hearing about her.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Dearest Jeanie,
Lovely, lovely. You and I were nurtured, guided, loved and encouraged in the best of times, in the best of ways and by the best of Mother's. Such a lovely tribute to your dearest Mom. I just know she delighted in her one and only shining star!
Jemma

Thelma said...

I really enjoyed reading about your Mom and Dad. I sometimes wished I was an only child. I grew up in a large family.
It's too bad that you lost her so young. She was a beautiful lady, like you.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

What a loving tribute to your mother, dear Jeanie. You certainly paid great homage to her and her memory. You found some amazing photos of her (and you). I felt a bit of a twinge when I read about how you felt as an only child. I felt sort of that way because my grandparents raised me from birth, even though they didn't have to. That's why I also tried to do my best regardless. This post actually brought tears to my eyes, dear. Thanks for sharing it.

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for sharing your mom with us. It sounds like she was a wonderful person and parent. I loved the Christmas picture of you two.
Hugs

William Kendall said...

A wonderful tribute to your mom.

Prims By The Water said...

A wonderful tribute to your mom. I hope you still have that pumpkin bucket. Worth a lot now. Beautiful flower garden your neighbor has. Janice

My name is Erika. said...

I am sure your Mom is pleased with your life and her legacy through you. This is a touching post Jeanie. I love seeing the old photos too. And I agree. I don't feel any older. But lately, I think I am looking older. It's just weird to think about where the time has gone to. Hope May is going well for you. Hugs-Erika

gretchenjoanna said...

I love hearing about your mother. Thank you, Jeanie!

Blondie's Journal said...

The biggest takeaway I have after reading your post is that your mother treasured you and gave you every chance to find your passion. The art, writing, reading, collecting, cooking...we could all learn from this, and I think you did. I'm so sorry she passed so young. I can imagine the many things she would have guided you in, and you would have loved to show her the ways you have come into yourself.

This is so appropriate as we near Mother's Day. It makes me want to sit back and think of my own memories with my mother.

Jane ❤️

Victoria Zigler said...

Beautiful tribute to your Mom. And, for the record, I think she taught you well, and you certainly inherited a lot of wonderful qualities from her. She'd be incredibly proud of you if she could see the woman you are today.

Cindy said...

What a beautiful tribute. Your mom sounds like she was a blessing to many people.

Lisbeth said...

What a good description of being forever young. Can only agree. I don't think I ever became more than 28 years old.
Wonderful story about your mother. I think these times have made us think more on other things than the daily tasks, enjoying and fulfilling oneself. We appreciate more other things in life now, I feel, and you said it so well.

roughterrain crane said...

Thanks for your lovely post. Your good memories have made us vigorous.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I am happy that you have such great memories, Jeanie. They are to be treasured.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

wonderful, warm memories you're sharing - I understand because photos, music, and other simple things bring back a time long gone with people I miss and love. I'm glad you have such great memories.

Joanne Huffman said...

A loving and lovely description of your mom.

Divers and Sundry said...

Sweet reflections on fond memories :)

Your neighbor needs to start a blog or Youtube channel and teach us how to plant in perennials ;)

gigi-hawaii said...

Great tribute to a great mother! Loved every word of it, and your photos are incredible. But, she lived such a short life.

Sami said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Mother Jeanie, it brought tears to my eyes.
She died far too young but she was a wonderful Mother and wife and you seem to have inherited so much from her.
I have also inherited my Mom's love of reading and love of collecting, but neither of my two sisters have inherited that.
That styrofoam cake, that was funny, you were so skinny :)

Anonymous said...

Jeanie, what a beautiful post. I am so glad you had a good mom and I am glad that I did too. Whenever I have done a post about my mom, I do get comments saying how lucky I was as they didn't have a good mom. How sad!I saw a lamp in one of your photos just like one we had. The only difference was that my mom never made me do anything, she preferred to do it all herself. I was the same with my daughter and Jerry always was concerned about that, but the both of us turned out OK so I guess it was just the love and caring that turned out to be the most important part of who we are today..xxoJudy

DUTA said...

This post is such a fine tribute to your Mom!
When my Mom died I felt like a leaf detached from its branch. I still feel that way.
The picture with you turning 18, foresees the beauty you were about to become.

Karen said...

A beautiful post.

Mary Rose's said...

Well said, dear friend.
I like to think our moms are still watching over us.
Truly, who ELSE would they be interested in, hmmmm?
XOXO

R's Rue said...

Beautiful

Sandra Cox said...

Moms are the best cheerleaders, aren't they, Jeanie?

Rita C at Panoply said...

What a wonderful tribute, Jeanie. Your mom was ahead of her time! You certainly have many (if not all!) of her good qualities. You are awesome because she was awesome!

Sandi Magle said...

What a lovely post. It sounds as if we had the same upbringing. I was fortunate, my mom lived to be 84. She must have been fun, and I remember mine everytime I use, "Joy of Cooking!". Hugs, Sandi

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom, Jeanie! It's so full of love and gratitude and wonderful insights! You were surely enough -- and so was she!



Iris Flavia said...

Beautiful garden indeed.
I STILL in my mind often used to think, "remember to take this to school... ummm WORK tomorrow". Maybe cause I have no kids...

Wow you look stunning in that red!

Yes, it´s a shame with not being allowed to visit. My neighbor´s wife also suffers Alzheimer´s and he says, since he wasn´t allowed to visit for so long she had a hard time to figure out who he was when he finally came in, mask and all.

Your Mom sure was an awesome, helpful person, love the birthday-cake, very supporting and clever.
My Mom used to say, "only a real friend shows you the mirror".

Beautiful tribute. And way too young. My Dad also had no chance to meet his DIL or his Granddaughters, it´s sad.

Glad you have so many wonderful memories, Jeanie.

shoreacres said...

You're certainly your mother's daughter, Jeanie. Just as you profited from having her in your life, we've profited by having you -- bad back and all!

The French Hutch said...

Such a lovely tribute for your mom Jeanie. We clearly sound alike expressing our feeling of getting older. I think like I always have, just have to be careful not to overdo. My mom's birthday is coming soon, it's hard to believe how long she's been gone. Hope you have a lovely weekend and get to see those darling grands........

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I hate that your mom was taken from you at such a young age. I am glad you have so many memories of her and that you can see how she has shaped who you became. But it is still so unfair. I am lucky to still have my mom. She’s in good health and I hope it remains that way! I call or text when I have questions when baking and this week we FaceTimed her when Paul was sick with the flu. He was begging for something to eat and drink but had recently thrown up so I explained we had to give his tummy more time. He would not believe me so we FaceTimed my mom who was a nurse so she could back me up on what I was saying. I also learned how to care for sick kids from my mom. She was so knowledgeable since she was a nurse and was such a good care taker. I hope my boys think of me as a good care taker too!

Carol @ The Red Painted Cottage said...

Beautiful memories of your mother, Jeanie! I’m like you and truly miss my mother, but like you, I also have beautiful memories and many photos for reminiscing.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

You have done your mother proud in this post, Janie. Her love you and yours for her comes through so clearly both in your words and the photos you included. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, those here and ones who have sadly left their families.

Haddock said...

That B&W picture is so perfect. It is for keeps.

Bohemian said...

Oh what a Lovely Tribute to your Mom and Sharing those Memories with us. I am Envious of your Paper Mache' Vintage Jack O'Lantern, I Collect them and that is a particularly fantastic specimen, did you happen to keep it? If so, they are worth a lot now since not many apparently Survived over Time, probably weren't meant to and Vintage Halloween wasn't as much a Thing as the Holiday later became Commercially. Your neighbors Garden is Sublime, those Purple Flowers, what are they called?

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Good morning, Jeanie. I am playing catch-up this morning, as we have had a wild and crazy busy week.
This is such a wonderful and loving tribute to your mom. I, too, am an only child and I believe we see the world a little differently. Little things I believe matter a bit more. Your mom and my mom sound so much alike. There is nothing like a sweet childhood and you were blessed. I enjoyed hearing about your mom and the things she enjoyed, such as dishes and holidays. I love them too.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What a wonderful tribute this was to your mother, Jeanie! She sounds like a wonderful person who lived life to the fullest and passed all those wonderful talents and traits onto you.
I lost my father when I was only 18, so I share the sadness of not having a parent see my adult accomplishments. They are always with us in our hearts and spirits!

Esme said...

What a lovely tribute to your mother. Mine would be 82-It is hard to believe it has been 7 years since she died. Do I need to give you some core exercises? It is unbelievable how important a strong core is.

Miss Val's Creations said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. It sounds like she had an amazing, inspired, loving life, as short as it was. The vintage photos are wonderful!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Oh! Your Mom! Your parents! Your actor experiences! Happy, and you carry on that happiness in your life. Don't you just miss them though?....

Pamela said...

You have such wonderful family photos and stories.

Lowcarb team member said...

Jeanie, this is such a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your photographs, your memories, a lovely tribute to your dear mom.

All the best Jan

anno said...

Oh, Jeanie -- this post glows with blessings. Like those ducklings in your previous post, the qualities you cherish in your mother -- her optimism, humor, and your ability to find goodness and beauty in the circumstances around her -- are richly reflected in your own life. Anniversaries of those we love who are no longer with us can be difficult times. Sending hugs and much love. -- anno

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