Mom & Me, 1986

Mom & Me, 1986

My mom’s 67th birthday would have been tomorrow. But tomorrow is My World “Tuesday.” And since I post for the memes I do a day ahead (for me), I thought I would just honor her birthday a day ahead as well.

When my mom was 63, her caretaker decided to throw a big birthday party for her which included people writing things about their memories of her. I lived far away, but I made a scrapbook page to send. 200811-23motherdautherscrapbookpagecropped

The top picture is from 1986. (I was 21; My mom was 45.) My mom and I are wearing sweaters I knitted. It was my first big knitting project, and I wanted to make one for her to match mine. My mom was always too hot, so I modified the pattern to make a vest. (I was impressed with myself.)

The bottom picture is when Chic is about 5 months old. It is Mother’s  Day. My mother was in her 5th year of downward decline at this point. She no longer spoke, but she understood everything. She loved Chic. She would hold her for hours (and Chic would let her). My parents babysat one day a week for the first nine months of Chic’s life when we lived near them.

The bottom picture is covering an envelope. Inside an envelope is a list of things I remembered about my mother. There are so many more, but this covers a lot of highlights:

Things I remember about you…
-Waking me up every morning until I went away to school (at 15) by saying, “Good Morning Little Girl; Rise and Shine!”
-Your saying every evening, “You can set the table,” as if it were some grand privilege.
-Periodically finding a treat in my room after school.  (My favorites were “Now and Laters.”)
-Trips with just the two of us to Eureka Springs or other small towns around for shopping.
-Damming up creeks.
-Visiting you at work at the nursing home when I was very little.
-The care packages you sent when I was in academy and college.  (Did you know I never shared the things you sent?)
-That you sent me cards at least once a week in academy and college. They were usually funny, and you only signed your name; you rarely wrote a message. Sometimes you would include the baseball standings or a cartoon from the newspaper.
-Days spent in antique stores.
-That you celebrated my 30th birthday for an entire week.
-That when I got home from Iceland you gave me a gift a day for a month to make up for all the time I had been gone.
-You watering your flowers and plants—indoors and out—and keeping them beautiful all the time.
-The whole summer you wouldn’t speak to me because of the phone bill.
-Spinach casserole.
-Poppy Seed Bread and Banana Bread at Christmas.
-Cranberry tea when guests came to our house for holiday dinners.
-The Peugeot.
-The Minivans.
-The summer I turned 18, I came home from academy to find you had enrolled me in a nurses’ aide course and expected me to find a job in a nursing home for the summer. (Which I did for two summers.)
-How you never gave endless lectures on my behavior and choices that did not please you, but I still knew your expectations and when I was not living up to them.
-Always going somewhere with you to take care of elderly people.
-That you would never let me have long hair when I was little.
-Your lack of interest in cooking and other things domestic. Yet when I wanted to learn to sew, you helped me make a simple dress.
-Your “watch thing.”  I remember being in New York with Daddy where we bought the amethyst one for you.
-Alf.
-Your sense of humor and mischievousness.

Organic Mama over at The Life and Times of Organic Mama tagged me for this photo meme.

In case you are not familiar with this, it means that I was supposed to open the sixth folder in my picture file and post the sixth picture from that folder. (Like she obediently did in her post.) Well, nothing is simple for me…

The sixth folder for me was from two years ago. (Don’t even ask why that is still on my computer.) It was in October when I was visiting Missouri. It was the trip in which we put my mother in Hospice care. The sixth picture was my daughters, and I have been hesitant to put full frontal face pictures of them online. I thought about moving to the seventh picture, but the whole folder is “people” shots, and the ones of my mother at that point in her life, I am not sure I am ready to share with the world.

Sooooo… I moved to the seventh folder. The seventh picture was Chic and her gymnastics class for their Halloween party two years ago. Again, pictures of my kids, other people’s kids. I could not post that. The whole folder was filled with more of the same.

SOOOO… I moved to the eighth folder. (Why am I telling you all of this? Why did I not just pretend I was posting from the sixth folder when I really was not? I am just weird like that, I guess.) This was from Chic’s and my trip to Disneyland almost exactly two years ago…

200811-192006-11-27_7caadventure

Three or four years ago when I was at someone’s house doing a stamping workshop, there was a conversation about the grandparents taking every one of their three children to Disneyland when they turned five. I loved this idea because I thought five would be such a magical age. We knew nothing like that could ever happen in our family, so Prince Charming and I talked and talked and decided I would take Chic when she turned five, and PC would take Chicklet when she turned five. (At this point  Chicklet was ony 2, a huge handful, and I knew I was getting the best bargain!)

So Chic and I went to  Disneyland on her fifth birthday. We were not sure we were going to be able to go, even though flights, hotels and everything were arranged, because we had spent the previous two weeks in Missouri with my dying mother. We drove back here on Saturday and flew to  California on Monday. Disneyland with a 5-year-old is everything magical it should be. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Just Chic and me, and we had so. much. fun! There was a roller coaster in California Adventure that we rode 27 times in our 3-1/2 days in the parks. We saw all the Princesses except for one up-close-and-personal.

The picture above is from the afternoon we arrived. We threw our stuff in the hotel room and decided to explore as much as we could the first day. (It did not matter that we were starving.) Our hotel was closest to California Adventure, so we went there first. The ferris wheel reflecting in the water was the first thing that captured our attention. We rode it and many other things. (The ferris wheel actually made me a bit nervous, but Chic LOVED it.)

We packed so much into those 4 days and returned home on Friday. Sunday morning my mother passed away. I am not telling you this to put a pall on anything, because it was not like that. To me that is an important part of the story because we had spent every second with her possible until our trip for Chic’s birthday. We were half dreading that she would die while we were at Disneyland, but I made a decision to just enjoy my time with Chic (my mother would have wanted me to) and put the bad things in the back of my head. We did that and had such a wonderful time. Call it God (I do) or fate or whatever, but the timing of things let us have the best of everything that autumn. We had the last “quality” time that anyone would ever have with my mother. (“Quality” is a very relative term.) Chic and I had the best time of our lives as mother and daughter at Disneyland. We got back home just in time to return to Missouri for the final respects for my mother. All things work together…