Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Three Mothers

I consider myself to be very lucky that at my age, nearly 55, I still have my mother with me, living down the street in her cozy senior citizen's apartment.

But in fact, I am lucky enough to have three mothers. I am truly blessed.

My husband's parents have always treated me as the daughter they never had (DH is an only child) and I really do feel as if his mother is another mother to me.

When we were all younger, DH's parents were always helping us; when we bought our fixer-upper of a house 21 years ago, they came up regularly to help us bring it back to its former glory. They single-handedly painted many of the rooms in the house, including the seemingly endless woodwork. They even wallpapered the living room for us!

We enjoyed going on many trips with them throughout the years; Portugal, Italy, and numerous times to Hawaii. And of course they welcomed us to their home for countless dinners and barbecues.

Adventurous travelers themselves, after my father-in-law retired, he and my mother-in-law went on some great trips of their own - an Asian cruise that stopped in Bali and Singapore; a trip to China and Hong Kong; and they went skiing in the Alps every winter until about three or four years ago when my mother-in-law could no longer ski. They were great role models for us - I only hope we will be as adventurous when we are that age.

Throughout our relationship, my mother-in-law was nothing like the mothers-in-law everyone jokes about. She bent over backwards not to interfere in our lives. An immaculate housekeeper herself, she ignored the clutter in our house, and if I apologized for it she would just laugh and say it looked lovely. No white gloves ever came out to test for dust! (And a good thing, too!)

Even though she probably wished for a grandchild, she never said a word to us wondering if it would ever happen. No "When are you going to have kids?" "When will you give me a grandchild?" She was just happy to spend time with us.

DH had been married before, but you would never know it - the name of the first wife never passed her lips for the entire time I have known her. No comparisons, good or bad, were ever made. As far as she was concerned, I walked on the same water her son did, and she made me feel like her own daughter.

Sadly, as you know, my mother-in-law now has Alzheimer's Disease and is in a nursing home, but we are grateful to still have her with us on this Mother's Day.

Who is the third mother, you are probably wondering? That would be my aunt - my mother's sister. She was the sister who didn't marry, the one who ended up caring for my grandparents when they got old and frail. We were always close to her throughout my childhood and saw her almost every weekend.

When I was little she babysat for me, took me to the park, and sat on the floor and played with me when I'd come to visit. She and my grandmother would keep me entertained for hours while my mother went shopping or ran errands. One of our favorite games was "Button, button, who's got the button?" They would hide a button somewhere in the living room and I'd have to find it while they told me if I was "cold" or "warm." Kids nowadays probably wouldn't enjoy something so mundane but I thought it was great.

When I was a little older I thought my aunt was quite exotic, sort of a Mary Tyler Moore-type role model. She was the career woman of the family; she had a job down in Newark and was the supervisor of a lab at a company called Englehardt Industries, which processed and sold precious metals for industry. I thought it was quite impressive that she worked and had an important job like that. She went off on vacations with her girlfriends to the Virgin Islands and other far-off places; she took a tour of the Canadian Rockies by train; she went to Colorado and saw the Grand Canyon.

When I was in my early teens, she joined my parents and me on a trip to the British Isles and we had a grand time touring around together.

She's always been at every Mother's Day celebration because she deserves the same recognition as all the mothers out there. I always manage to find the appropriate card - "To an aunt who's like a mother to me" and we all celebrate together.

My mother and she are opposite sides of the same coin. My mother is the optimistic one who never worries; my aunt worries about everything. My mother is neat, my aunt more on the sloppy side. My mother sleeps till noon and is up till two a.m., my aunt is up at dawn and asleep before midnight. My mother is always late, my aunt is as punctual as Big Ben.

If you met them you'd practically think they were twins - two little ladies with similar features, one with wavy silver hair turning white, the other with darker, straighter hair, both with their glasses and smiling faces. But their personalities are opposites!

We always joke that I've inherited my aunt's worrying and sloppiness, and my mother's lateness and night-owl tendencies. I do think, though, that I have my mother's inherent optimism underneath my anxiety!

Since both DH's and my families were small, we always celebrated Mother's Day together. We'd have my mother and aunt, and DH's mom and dad over to our house and have one big get-together for Mother's Day.

This year we celebrated it separately for the first time.

My father-in-law brought my mother-in-law home to his house from the nursing home today for a Mother's Day brunch of waffles and ice cream. We met them there and helped Mom into the house in her wheelchair. It was her first time back at her home since she had gone into the nursing home in February. She seemed to be glad to be there and was talking a lot by the time she finished her waffles, not making a lot of sense most of the time, but I think we all understood what she meant.

After that DH and I came home and went over to my aunt's for Mother's Day dinner and had a nice evening with her and my mother.

So all in all, it was a good Mother's Day - with my three mothers.

Haiku for My Mom:

She was always there
Wielding the Mercurochrome
Whenever I scraped my knee

Then came the Band-Aid,
The kiss to "make it better,"
Off I ran again.

She made me my lunch
Peanut butter and jelly
And a glass of milk.

Oh, and carrot sticks.
Can't forget the carrot sticks.
And then a cookie.

I brought home a mouse
Please let me keep it Mommy!
It lived in a jar.

Then it got bigger.
It was time to set it free.
So we let it go.

She put up with me
When I found caterpillars
And kept them in jars.

They made their cocoons
And hibernated for weeks;
Became butterflies.

My mom loves nature
We used to go birdwatching
And hike in the woods.

She loves the Red Sox
She brought me up on baseball
It's still the best game!

When things got me down
I could always talk to Mom
She would lend an ear.

So here's to my mom
And my other two mothers
Happy Mother's Day!


Fran said...

What a beautiful and moving post.

Thank you so much for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Maui - It's amazing the impact that the things we daily have on the lives of others.

Being surrounded by love is one of the best gifts we can ever receive.

James Higham said...

Best wishes to you. I'm a bit short on the supply of Mothers just now. Fathers too.

Anonymous said...

//Who is the third mother, That would be my aunt - //

Oh, Wowser....I had one of those. When I was young my parents were in a rather horrific car accident. I lived with her for a year. When my children, my sister's children were young...she sat with them.

What a great post. Mine is gone, these last nine years. I miss her every day.

enigma4ever said...

what an amazing post- really nice to have those memories...and to treasure them...and the people that are attached to all of those memories....Mothers are special- and I love that you honor your aunt too ..( I used to do that too)...Sounds like the day was very sweet...Happy Mothers Day...

D.K. Raed said...

This was so nice to read & enjoy. I lost my mom to Alzheimers & Ovarian Cancer 10+yrs ago, so I understand the stage you are at with your mother-in-law now.

What wonderful travel adventures your family has enjoyed!

Mauigirl said...

Thanks, Fran!

0)(0) (I don't seem to have that square on my keyboard!), so very true.

L'il Jimmy, I was thinking of all those who don't still have a mother when I wrote how truly blessed I felt. My sympathies...

OKJimm, sounds like you had a great aunt too. They really are special people.

Thanks, Enigma, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I felt a need to express how I feel about them all this year, knowing they are all getting older and may not be with me that much longer. In fact, I should print it out and give it to my mom and aunt!

D.K., I'm so sorry about the loss of your mom. It is such a difficult situation with Alzheimer's. I feel bad for her, and even worse for my father-in-law, whose heart is broken. My own dad had Alzheimer's too in the last year or two of his life but he died at 92 so there wasn't as much of a sense of wasted time and lost happiness. My MIL is relatively young (she's only 79) and the contrast between her situation and my mom and aunt (87 and 89, respectively), who are still sharp mentally, is very sad.

I try to remind my father-in-law of all the good times he and my MIL shared before this terrible disease took it all away. But he had still hoped for more, as we always do, and it isn't helping.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! Revel in your MIL as we all were not blessed with that relationship. ;) I am so sorry she is sick. My friends mom had Alzheimers for 2 years and she said it was the hardest thing she's ever gone through. You are truly blessed to have 3 moms!

Anonymous said...

Do You interesting how to [b]Buy Viagra per pill[/b]? You can find below...
[size=10]>>>[url=][b]Buy Viagra per pill[/b][/url]<<<[/size]

[b]Bonus Policy[/b]
Order 3 or more products and get free Regular Airmail shipping!
Free Regular Airmail shipping for orders starting with $200.00!

Free insurance (guaranteed reshipment if delivery failed) for orders starting with $300.00!

Generic Viagra (sildenafil citrate; brand names include: Aphrodil / Edegra / Erasmo / Penegra / Revatio / Supra / Zwagra) is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction regardless of the cause or duration of the problem or the age of the patient.
Sildenafil Citrate is the active ingredient used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men. It can help men who have erectile dysfunction get and sustain an erection when they are sexually excited.
Generic Viagra is manufactured in accordance with World Health Organization standards and guidelines (WHO-GMP). Also you can find on our sites.
Generic [url=]buy generic viagra online in canada[/url] is made with thorough reverse engineering for the sildenafil citrate molecule - a totally different process of making sildenafil and its reaction. That is why it takes effect in 15 minutes compared to other drugs which take 30-40 minutes to take effect.
[b]viagra substitute unsecured loan
what if a woman took viagra
viagra oil
buy viagra online without a prescription
lady viagra testostrone libby
viagra pages generic edinburgh sample search
does viagra increase penis size
Even in the most sexually liberated and self-satisfied of nations, many people still yearn to burn more, to feel ready for bedding no matter what the clock says and to desire their partner of 23 years as much as they did when their love was brand new.
The market is saturated with books on how to revive a flagging libido or spice up monotonous sex, and sex therapists say “lack of desire” is one of the most common complaints they hear from patients, particularly women.

Blogger said...

With BullionVault you are able to buy physical gold & silver by the gram at current exchange prices.

Create a free account today and get 4 grams in free silver as a welcome bonus.