Missing my mother

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Last night, as I sat on the floor of my bedroom surrounded by pins, needles, thread, and a sundry of other sewing notions, I was terrified at the prospects of having to cut off and hem the skirt to my new Chamber Singers gown. I wished that I had time to call Judith, (the talented lady who made my 18th century gown), but alas, my dress just arrived this last Wednesday and our first concert is this coming Sunday! I said to Steph, who was dinking around on the computer as I sat carefully hand rolling and pinning the difficult chiffon over-skirt, "If my mother were still alive I'd be over at her house right now! Together we'd have this done in no time! She even had a little foot on her sewing machine that rolled hems like this."

Mother died a few years ago after a long bout with cancer. I think of her often and miss her constantly and I wonder how different things might be if she were still here. Being the consummate homemaker and loving to entertain, Mother loved the holiday season. She could cook and bake like no one else I ever knew and she could set an elegant and lovely table. The only thing of hers that I desired when she died was her Lennox bone china. To me, that china was the epitome of her. I proudly display it in my china hutch, and every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I set the table with it and believe that when I do, Mother is there watching. I like to think that she would be happy knowing that her grandchildren continue to remember her fondly and look forward to eating off of "Grandma's" china during the holidays.

I remember the countless Thanksgiving Days in our home when the entire Erwin clan would come to our house, as well as my Grandpa and Grandma Goss. There were years when we would have as many as 35 people there! I'd awaken in the morning to the delicious aroma of a turkey already roasting in the oven, home-baked bread, pies galore, and a sundry of other culinary delights, all prepared from scratch by my mother. As I grew older, she taught me how to cook and by the time I was twelve, I was usually up early with her, helping her prepare the turkey dressing, making the cream cheese, whipped cream, and powdered sugar layer that went on the bottom of our favorite chocolate refrigerator pie, and helping her set the many tables that were scattered throughout our large living room and in the kitchen. Every year, after Dad would get home from feeding the animals in the kennels of his veterinary clinic in the early a.m., he would come into the kitchen to get a taste of the dressing which mother was preparing to put into the oven. She would always ask him if it needed anything else and he would always reply, "It could use a little more sage."

The holiday traditions in my home are very different from the ones with which I grew up. We don't have large amounts of family and our religious beliefs, which were central to everything that my family of origin was, are very non-traditional. We're an "alternative", blended family, but we are no less a family than the family from which I came. We still celebrate the holidays in the traditional ways and I have passed some of the traditions from my family of origin on to my current family. When Mother died, it seemed that much died with her, including most, if not all of our family traditions. After her passing it became very clear that Mother was the glue that held our family together. I think of Mother and miss her the most at this time of year and I wish that there was some way that I could recapture that closeness that my mother, father, brother, sister and I had during the holidays. But with my divorce and my subsequent partnership with Steph, soon followed by my mother's passing, that closeness between us died and was buried with her. However, every Thanksgiving and Christmas, when I get out her Lennox china and lovingly set my family's holiday table in the way she so carefully taught me how, I remember my mother and the way she had of making things so warm and special at this time of year.

Thank you, Mother...and I miss you.




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