My Mom

My mom reads my blog every day…in fact, I frequently write posts wondering how she’ll react or what she’ll think. Not once has she commented, and I doubt she ever will. Her comments come at 5:30 PM as she’s driving home from work. That’s when she’s bored and she calls me to check in.

This weekend is Mother’s Day and today is the one month anniversary of my grandma’s death; my mom’s mom.

When I realized that my grandma was dying, I started thinking about the things that made her valuable to me. What would I miss? What was important for my children to know about this woman they would most likely not remember? It also made me realize just how valuable my own mom is. I began to recognize the things that I now take for granted; the things I would miss if it were her and not my grandma.

Did I mention she knits?

There’s the daily phone calls to check in,

the songs she sings on my voicemail for special occasions (or sometimes just to annoy me),

the constant, non-stop, incessant knitting (did I mention it’s never-ending),

and just how willing she always is to listen, help or support me in whatever I’m dealing with.

This week, because of Mother’s Day, I talked about my children and some of the things I’m experiencing as a mom.

Today, I want to recognize the woman who put up with my tantrums, kissed my owies and worked hard to make sure I grew up right.

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My mom was really young when she had me. I was born a month after her 20th birthday and by the time she was 24 she had three children. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like! I didn’t have my first until I was 24-years-old and one was hard enough.

Growing up I remember her sitting for hours in our living room, creating mix tapes from records for the jazzercise classes she taught. I also remember how proud I was when she taught the Kindergym class at my school – hopping and flying to “Bullfrogs and Butterflies.”

There were times in elementary school when she would stop by my classroom, dressed so fancy for her job as a fragrance model, and the other kids would ask, amazed, “Is that your mom? She’s so pretty!”

As a little girl I would watch her hands as she drove. Her fingers looked so long and skinny. To this day I catch myself looking at my own fingers on the steering wheel, comparing them to hers.

Throughout my childhood my mom had long, thick hair and I always wanted to braid, brush and fix it…which she hated. There were a few occasions where she allowed me to play with it, and I’m sure it took all of her patience to keep from snatching the brush from my hands.

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My mom has always stood up for what’s fair and has instilled that value in me. If I feel that myself or someone close to me is getting unreasonable treatment, I have never hesitated to address the situation. Of course, when I was young I used this on trivial issues…but as I’ve matured I’ve come to see the benefit to myself and others of knowing when an issue needs to be dealt with.

My mom gave me a love for literature. When I was young, she read the Little House series and Beverly Cleary books to my brother, sister and I before we went to sleep. As I grew she introduced me to Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of Stoneybrook Farm. I will never forget sitting and watching the A&E Pride and Prejudice mini-series with her…eagerly anticipating the latest installment each week as I was introduced to Jane Austen. Part of the reason I want to write is because of this love for words that I know she helped to foster.

Each holiday when I was young my mom would make pies: apple, cherry, pumpkin, banana cream. I never had a store-bought crust and to this day I’m definitely a pie snob. When I moved to college, I decided to take on this legacy from her. I volunteered to make the pies for the Thanksgiving meal. I must have called her at least 10 times in the course of making that first pie, but I wanted to get it just right because I had a standard to uphold.

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These are just a few of the many things that I love and appreciate about my mom. Luckily I’m able to share them with her now and thank her for the sacrifices she made, the knowledge she gave and the love she provides. I now see that, in itself, is a blessing and I need to not take it for granted.

Happy Mother

I love you, Mom!

I wish I was there to celebrate it with you,

but I’ll be up there in a little while with another grandson for you!

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Head over to The GypsyMama to see what she and others are sharing about moms today!

Will You Read Me a Story?

Courtesy of photobucket.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Where the Wild Things Are. Thomas the Train. Harold and the Purple Crayon. When You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

These are the books that have filled my life for the last few years. The names of the titles alone bring up memories of bedtime, snuggles, and “special nights.” Many of these books have been committed to memory through repetition. I love introducing my kids to the books I read when I was little and discovering new ones together.

A change is on the horizon.

The other night, instead of the usual selection, Elijah came out with Winnie the Pooh; a chapter book with minimal illustration. This fall he begins Kindergarten and he’s suddenly taken an interest in “big kid books” (i.e., chapter books). Although I’m excited for this opportunity to pull out books that I read as a child, but I’m realizing that I’m a girl…and Eli’s a boy. There are a lot of books that I read as a child that Eli will have no interest in.

That’s where you come in. I need your help. Could you suggest books for little boys? I want to make sure that I’m providing Elijah, Ezra & Baby #4 with as bountiful a reading list as I am Cora.

Just leave a comment below with your suggestion…I’d really appreciate it!

Danielle at Dancing by the Light put up a list of children’s books that she loved growing up and is what inspired me to start thinking of my own. Definitely check out her list because the majority of them are books that I too read over and over.

So, here’s my list — by the way, I’m not going to repeat the one’s that Danielle had because her list is so good. Just check out her list, and then add these additional ones to it:

{The Emily series by Lucy Maude Montgomery}

Everyone has heard of Anne of Green Gables, but I actually liked Emily of New Moon better. There are three books in this series (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest) and I still read them today; the covers are ripped off of a couple and the corners are all bent from when I was a child and didn’t use bookmarks.

{Heidi by Johanna Spyri}

This story of a little orphan girl who is unexpectedly left with her reclusive grandfather in the Swiss Alps always captivated me. The description of the Alps and the faith of the small girl in God and the people around her intrigued and inspired me. This is another one I still enjoy reading today.

{Black Beauty by Anna Sewell}

This one might do for Elijah and the other boys. I loved reading about the beautiful horse that began life in comfort and luxury and then had to learn how to live in a world where men can be cruel and work is hard.

{Books by Roald Dahl}

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a great book by, but I also loved The BFG, Danny the Champion of the World and James and the Giant Peach. I can’t wait for the kids to dive into these!

{Books by Beverly Cleary}

Anything by her made me happy. I loved the Ramona books, but I also read the Henry Huggins books. A number of the Henry books seem to be out-of-print now, but you could definitely find them at your local library. Cleary also wrote the Ralph S. Mouse books, which freak me out now, but I loved as a child!

{Books by E.B. White}

Speaking of mice…Danielle had Charlotte’s Web on her list, but another E.B. White book I loved was Stuart Little. I found a boxed set that has those two books and The Trumpet of the Swan (another favorite)! I definitely need to pick this up for the kids!

This list is getting longer than I thought it would be…just one more…then I’ll stop. I promise.

{The Borrowers by Mary Norton}

This book tells the story of a family of little people, the Clocks, who live under the floor boards of a house and borrow things from the humans above them. It’s so interesting to watch what happens when Arrietty Clock allows a human boy to see her and find their home within a home.

These are just a few of my favorite children’s books. What books did you read as a child, or have read to you? Can you suggest some good, boyish books for me to introduce to my little men?