Pumpkin Cottage

Pumpkin Cottage
sit and visit a spell

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

VoVo's Birthday

Today is Mae's (mother in Portuguese) birthday. I normally sleep well but for the last four years sleep has become more difficult. My brain is always trying to solve whatever problem. Lee and I have been in pre-grieving since February just waiting for the "other shoe" to drop.

Side note, have you ever noticed that we have a million channels on TV but nothing to watch.

Any way, my extended family will go home today. We had originally planned to be together to celebrate VoVo's birthday and that is what we are going to do. When my good friend's brother Jose passed away, too early in life, my friend spoke of the "dash" between his date of birth and the day of his passing. I am sure I had heard it before but this time the significance of her statement stuck with me.

Everything is about the dash for each of us. We have to make the time count, make our lives count, and give meaning to our lives. It is probably why we have an epidemic of depression in our county because every one is seeking joy outside of themselves instead of looking in. The money and prestiage will never fill the void, drugs, alcohol, spending, and denial will never fill the void.

My parents did not have formal educations but they knew how to do everything from animal husbandry to caring for the dead. They were amazingly simple people. Hard working, honest with boat loads of integrity. I say this because integrity is in short supply these days. They were not the type of people that went to church on Sunday and cheated on their taxes in April. My mother would always say that there was One watching. My mother didn't want the value of a penny if it weren't rightfully hers. If you are raising children how you behave will be much more powerful then what you say. Children watch your every step and every miss step. Believe me, if you want your children to behave a certain way display that behavior. Say thank you and please. Dress your children like they matter. keep them clean and well groomed. Set high standards. A little fear of authority and respect for others persons and property matter, too. All these things matter to my mother. So did white laundry (I mean brilliant white) and a spotless house mattered.

My parents immigrated to a foreign land at the ages of 49 and 40. Would I have the courage and tenacity to do that? No no I am a sheltered individual. Not until recently have I even considered moving out of state let alone out of country. Before my siblings started getting married and having children of their own we had our parents and each other. And those memories are what have sustained me through this time. I want to crawl back to my four year life when things felt safe. reach back to a time when I had my big sisters and brothers to watch over me.

Whenever I weaken I think of my mother's words, "We have a soul to give God" and anecdotes like:

Whatever is for us is for us.
Confront your life and move forward.
You have to love your little plants, talk to them and confide in them.
The best years of your life are when your children are small but you do not realize it.
Education and your good name are all that you take with you.
Only one man in my life; all my life.
If you have a well kept garden it adds a room to your house.

She had only one real regret and that was not having confided her passion for nursing to her own father. She preferred the company of the elderly and to garden by the moon light.

My mother has 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. On the left we have three generations represented with Christine representing the oldest grandchild from the oldest sibling and Holly representing the youngest grandchild from the youngest sibling.

Someone adapted James Matthew Barrie's quote of “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December" to God gave us memories so that we might have roses in winter and mother's forever.

We love you and will never forget the lessons you taught us and example you gave us.

Happy Birthday, Mae.

1 comment:

  1. hi tia, avo has more then just 2 great grand children your forgetting my 4


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