Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gifts of A Mother

Joan Kayse

A recent discussion on the Bandita loop prompted this blog post. Jo-Mama and Anna C., you can put your hankies away. This is nothing but pure celebration.

There are many individuals in our lives who have contributed to the shaping of the persons we are today. Any one of us could name dozens and dozens. Some family, some friends and the occasional enemy. But there was one person for every one of us who was there at the beginning. The one with whom we shared an exquisite moment of connection, a recognition of the miracle that is life.

Our mothers.

Now, God knows there are as many variants in this relationship as there are people in the world. I’m not about to go into a long discussion of the psychology of this most basic of human relationships. We all know those who have had good, bad and indifferent experiences. Believe me, my Mom and I both had tempers...Irish tempers. Enough said.

I can only speak of my own mother, Thelma, and the woman that she nurtured, the gifts that she gave me: passion, creativity, determination (also known among the unenlightened as stubbornness), courage and fierce independence.

Let’s start with the independent/courage part. She was only seventeen years old when she moved from the farm to the “big city” of Louisville. That was a pretty courageous thing for a girl in the ‘40’s to do. She found a job, a respectable boarding house and eventually, my father. This same courage would later manifest itself when faced with the trauma of a mastectomy, her 9 year old son being hit by a car (while she was in the hospital) and a daughter undergoing spinal surgery.

And if anybody sees me when I get upset about an injustice or an unfair situation you’ll get a glimpse of the passion that my mother had when anybody threatened her family or something she felt mattered. You may have heard writers dispute that a character cannot have “fire shoot from their eyes”? Um, well, that’s not exactly true. There are those of us in the world that have that super power...but we only use it for good. :-)

My mother knew how to create. Beautiful quilts, embroidery. She could crochet anything including a dining room suite (if pressed). She used to sew clothes for me and my Barbie doll. Her greatest disappointment, I think was that I had never latched onto that particular skill. (I still remember the pride in her voice over a jumper I made in Home Ec). And sadly, I could never use the sewing machine unless SHE threaded it.

But that type of talent was not lost on her only daughter. Besides learning all of the above, I took that love of creating into different directions: drawing, cross-stitch, cake decorating, baking and...writing.

See, I did manage to connect writing with this discussion. Because without these attributes bequeathed to me by my Mom, I might have fallen by the wayside, disheartened and wimping out at the first obstacle toward achieving publication. If I had not inherited her passion, her determination, her love of creating I’d have never written my stories. In fact, that was going to be included in my Golden Heart acceptance speech. “Thank you to my mother who gave me what I needed to survive this: the love of the written word, the stubbornness to keep at it and the hope to never give up.” She in fact had a favorite T-shirt with that quote from Jim Valvano “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

And she didn’t. Not through the death of her husband. Not through two heart surgeries. Not through that last year as her life slowly slipped away. The grief of losing her has been made bearable only by the knowledge that she gave me these gifts that live on in me. I’m passionate about my writing. I’m determined to make it to publication. I will spend my days creating stories with the HEA. And....

I won’t give up. I won’t ever give up.

What types of gifts have your mothers passed onto you? Tell me something about your mother that surprised you. (Mine? I found out right before she passed away that she LOVED the rodeo! How did I not know that?).

November 15th-Thelma's Birthday. Happy Birthday Mama!


Keira Soleore said...

YEAH! GR's mine!

Joan said...

Sheesh, Keira....I thought I felt somebody breathing over my shoulder! LOL. Congrats!

Jennifer Y. said...

LOL...you guys crack me up! What a lovely post. I have to say that my mother is my hero (well, one of them...my dad's the other). My mom passed on to me a love of reading. My mother loves romances...but only if they have a baby, kid, or pregnant heroine in them...not sure why...but if you want my mom to buy your book, put one of those on the cover...I don't think she even looks at the blurb to see what the story is about.

She also taught me compassion and determination...she is one of the strongest people I know so it breaks my heart to see her hurt or ill. She is undergoing some tests on her heart this week (she has a heart condition) and I just hope all goes well.

Well, anyway, I enjoyed the post and even though I don't quite get the Golden Rooster thing (LOL), you guys make me smile!

Keira Soleore said...

Heh! Heh! I promise I haven't been here for the past two hours refreshing my screen waiting for a new post. Scouts honor!

Happy pre-birthday, Thelma, and thank you for your daughter who writes so beautifully!

I noticed you mentioned that you used to have a temper. Hm. Does that mean you don't anymore? :)

I was stunned when my mother learned swimming for the first time at 60. Yeah, SIXTY! Humbling!

Who watched tonight's HAWT Dancing with the Stars?


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, man, I feel SO the slacker not getting the GR. I'm up working late - it's so delightfully quiet in the house when the boys are asleep! - and thought, Ah-ha! Here's my chance. Nope. Kiera snagged it. :>

Joan, what a lovely post. There are so MANY things I got from my Mama, but thankfully her temper wasn't one of them. She had that superpower you mentioned. She could scorch your be-hind from twenty paces if you were up to something. Grins. But the stubborness? Oh, yeah, check, got that one.
I also look like her. At her funeral, a woman who had never seen me as a grown-up walked in, took one look at me and burst into tears. Talk about startling. Then again, she told me it was like seeing my Mama again at fourteen. A blessing and a heart clench all in one. Smiles.
I got her love of books and words - she taught English to the most difficult students of all...eighth graders. Ugh. Ha! I don't have that patience. She loved a good story and anything that tweaked her clever sense of humor. If you could make her laugh - a triumph. She was careful with that full laugh. In her generation, ladies did not burst into mirthful splendor. Thank goodness those days are over! I inherited her bawdy laugh, and thankfully I'm not socially constrained to contain it. Snork.
There's so much...I'll catch myself saying something to my kids. Ooops, there's a "mother-ism!" but it is a fun reminder still.

Hugs to you Joan, and Jennifer, tell your Mom thanks from us for being a great reader and having a great kid in you! :> Kiera, good on your Mom, as our Oz pals would say, for learning a new skill! My Dad remarried at 80, and I'm still cheering his courage nearly 9 years later! Grins.

Donna MacMeans said...

(Sniff, sniff) Joan - That was so sweet. A lovely tribute to your mom.

My mom passed away this last April of colon cancer that had metasticized to her liver. We knew she was terminal about three years ago. I said, "Mom - you're looking good. You're feeling good. You have a window of opportunity to go anywhere you've ever wanted, but you should do it now because we don't know how long the window will last."

My mom thought for a moment and said, "I've always wanted to go to The Mall of America." That's my mom. When the gong gets tough - we shop *g*.

So I took her to Minnesota. We shared close quarters for three days, and I discovered we had much more in common than I had ever thought. It truly was a relevation. One thing I discovered was that she had written poetry in her youth. I had thought my passion for writing had come from my father - and maybe it did. But I suspect my passion for romance was instilled by my mother.

Thanks for letting me share that story, Joan. I'm off to find more kleenex now.

jo robertson said...

Congrats, Keira! Here on the west coast it's still November 12. I think I'll have to get up BEFORE myself to win the GH!

Ah, Joan, beautiful post, but you promised no hankies needed. You lied, girl!

I never really understood the greatest gift my mom left me until after she passed away. One morning (early--we rise early in the Robertson household) I was shashaying through the family room, dancing around my husband with a "good morning, sunshine," while he grumpily read his paper and drank his hot chocolate.

He paused, looked up at me, and said, "You're just like your mother." I think that's the first time I really realized what a cheerful, optimistic person my mom was in the morning, a gift BTW, which none of my seven children has acquired.

Now, get me in the late afternoon and that's a whole nuther story.

Thanks, Mom, for being such a goofy jokester!

Anna Campbell said...

Joan, what a beautiful post. And sadly I did need my hankie. I lost my mum last year three weeks after I sold Claiming the Courtesan so that time will always have a bittersweet quality for me. She was so danged proud of me for finally getting a contract after all those years of trying. Actually she was much happier at the time than I was, as I could see what was coming. Her health had been deteriorating for a long time and a little over a year before she died, I gave up work and moved home to look after her. My mother and I were always terrifically close - phone calls most days. But living with someone, you get a whole new perspective on them so it was like I got to know her all over again. I have so many precious memories of those months, including my mother, who could be a stubborn and difficult old cuss, much as I loved her, stomping around the house, growling repeatedly, "Who'd marry a writer?" Or grumbling to me in the mornings that the 'horrible' sea had kept her awake all night. You can hear the surf from our house which I think is magical but my mother always detested the sea. Didn't see it till she was 21 and then couldn't see what the fuss was about. Makes me smile to think how she endured holidays with a family full of water babies such as we were!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, and my mother gave me my first romance to read! That's pretty special!

Helen said...

What a beautiful post Joan A big Happy Birthday to your Mum (BTW that is my Dad's Birthday).
They really are wonderful people Mums I lost my Mum very suddendly nearly 5 years ago and I still go to pick up the phone to talk to her, she always worked hard was a fantastic cake and deserts cook hence my size I used to always tell her that and she would laugh. Mum gave me my love of reading it was her who gave me Sweet Savage Love to read all those years ago and I have never looked back, Mum had 5 bookshelves and all of her romance books were in alphabetical order and she had a note book with them all written in and she always knew who had what book.
She passed on her determination and caring nature to all 4 of her daughters and we as well as the 10 grandchildren loved her and we still miss her.
Thanks Joan
Have Fun
Congrats Keira on the GR

DownUnderGirl said...

Oh dear, so many tears and fond memories here today. Hugs to all of you who have lost the most influential women any of us will ever know.
Thankfully I still have my mother and I'll remember these posts next time she completely exasperates me :-)
But truly my Mum is wonderful. She lost her own mother at the age of 14(her sister a year before that) and I can't imagine how that must have been.
Then her father remarried and all the educational opportunities she'd had were taken away and she wasn't allowed to finish school or go to university. She had to get a job.
The greatest thing my Mother has given me(and there have been many) is access to the best education possible. In fact that was her mantra as we four kids grew up. "Get the best education you can and then you can do anything." The other one was "Only unintelligent people get bored - read a book!!!!"
LOL - guess where I got my love for the written word?


Christie Kelley said...

Now Joan, you're going to have all us reaching for the tissues today. What a lovely and heart-warming post.

My mother is thankfully still hanging in there. She turned 80 this year and for the most part is in very good health. It's funny to see how many people say they look like their mother. I'm another one.

My mother blessed me with the love of a good book. When I talked to her on Saturday, she'd just returned from the library where she'd picked up a book on reserve.
Although, she only started reading romance when I started writing it. She much more of a mystery reader.

Whenever my husband says how much I'm like my mother, I just smile.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Joan, you fibbed, I cried and I wasn't prepared because you said we wouldn't need tissues. To the best of my knowledge everything I am I got from my mother, which is a good thing most of the time. She worked hard, her entire life, I wish I had the stamina she had but unfortunately, I didn't get that. When she had gotten to the point she needed a wheelchair was when we had the most problems, for one thing if we went out anywhere I would "lose" her because she would take off without me and I couldn't find her in the aisles and behind the clothes racks. She did it on purpose I know because when I did find her she would have that grin that told me so.

Buffie said...

Joan, what a beautiful post! I did need a hankie for that.

My mom is the strongest woman on this earth. She has endured many hardships over her 68 years and she just keeps going. You did not grow up in her house and not learn determination! And like Joan's mother, my mom is a quilting queen. She still makes quilts the old fashion way -- everything is done by hand, a sewing machine never touches the material. She has made quilts for the Atlanta Summer Olympics and the Nagano Winter Olympics. But I have to say that the thing she has taught me the most is compassion. I vividly remember a cold winter several years ago (I was in high school at the time). Mom cooked a large meal for us and I wondered why as it was just me and my parents (my siblings were already out of the house). Before we sat down to eat my mother told my father and I that we were going out for a while. Needless to say, Dad and I had no clue what was going on, I mean the dinner was on the stove ready to be eaten. The next the I know, we pulled up to the local library (which was closed), my mother got out of the car with a blanket and a plate of hot food and handed it the homeless woman huddled by the library door. I had not even noticed the woman. But you see, my mother had. She had seen the woman the day before and my mom's heart went out to that woman. It was a small gesture, but that night that homeless woman had warmth and a hot meal in her stomach. Compassion . . . her name is Mary Ann.

Caren Crane said...

Joan, it's not fair to post tear jerkers when I'm sick and my defenses are weak. I was hanging in there, sniffles only, until I got to Buffie's post--and her mother is still alive!

Amy, your mother's story broke my heart. I have a daughter who is 14 and I can't imagine her having to shelve all her dreams and get a job. Good on her for making sure all her treasures were well-educated and had a love of literature!

Jennifer Y., be glad your mother still loves romance. My mother used to love romance, but now (at almost 68) has little use for it. But, she bought me my first romances. A couple of Harlequins (the sweet kind) that appeared with my Christmas presents when I was 11-1/2. I thought they must be for my next older sister, who was 14. Nope, they were for me! I loved them and have never looked back. Mama may be a bit chagrined by that these days. *g*

Jeanne, I grew up to look a lot like my mom, as well. Relatives who haven't seen either of us in decades do double-takes. "You must be Carolyn's daughter." No denying it! I don't look just like her, but the resemblance is strong. She has a smile that lights up a room!

Mama gave me a healthy sense of humor, a love of learning, a social conscience and unwavering love and loyalty to my family and friends.

Thank you, Joan, for helping us remember to celebrate our mothers!

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - I look like my Mom as well. Complete strangers have come up to me and said, "You must be Helen Lutz's daughter" and I am.

Christie - I remember when I first when to college, a bunch of us girls were sitting around grumbling about our mothers. The thing was, each girl clearly possessed the same trait they loudly criticized about their mother - they just couldn't see it. This made me think about my Mom, and I realized how proud I would be if I had all her loving traits. I went back to my room and wrote her a letter saying that very thing. Her response? She called me up and said, "What's wrong?" ;-)

Decades later, when she thought she was dying, she showed me where she kept her important papers and that letter was there. i'd forgotten all about it, but made me pleased that I'd had the foresight at an early age to tell my mom all the reasons I was proud to be her daughter.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Downundergirl, I SO had to laugh about the "only unintelligent people are bored" comment. In our house with a librarian for a dad and an English teacher for a mom, it was darn near sacriledge to say you were bored. "Bored? BooooRED?" I can still hear my mother nearly screeching those words. "There are at least fifteen books in this house you've never read, young lady. Until you have, don't tell me you're bored!" Snork. One time, it was the Encyclopedia Britannica, circa 1938. "If you want something to do with your time, young lady, get smarter. That's why we have those encyclopedias!" Ha! Worse yet, chores..."well, if you're so bored, then you can just help me clean, now can't you?" Oooooh, no. One never said "I'm bored" to my Mama! Ha!
Caren, I had to laugh about you looking like your Mom too. If I had a dime for everytime I heard, "Oh, you've got to be Annie Lou's girl..." I'd be rich, I tell ya', RICH! Snork.
But I am rich in friends, like ya'll, that's for sure. Thanks for the Memories Joannie, a Bob Hope would say. And congrats to all those who still have their Moms, get along with them enough to appreciate them, and get to hang out with them. Those of us without, envy you. :>

Joan said...

Good morning, all. Sorry I'm late. It's my day off, it's cloudy and rainy here in Kentucky and I slept late!

jennifery. We had a bookmobile that would visit our street every week. Mom would take us down there and we could check out books. Then when we got into school she always let us order from Scholastic. Hence, a huge toy chest full of paperbacks :-)

My prayers for good results on the heart tests.

Kiera! !!! Go, Mom on learning to swim! That's so cool.

Sadly, despite my Mom taking me every summer to the local high school for lessons, I never quite got it. If I was on a sinking ship, oh, say 2 feet from shore I'd be ok, but otherwise nada.

Oh, the temper is still there but I only pull it out when I need fire to shoot from my eyes. What can I say? We Irish are a passionate lot. :-)

You know I watched DWTS but what is HAWT?

I look a lot like my mother and grandmother too Jeanne. We have the same nose LOL.

My brother, who for years has tried to aggravate me by claiming I am adopted can't argue when I shake my head and say "The nose." He's just sore because when they brought him home from the hospital, I tried to roll his baby carriage into the back room. I couldn't help it! He was looking at MY toys!

Donna, I knew even as I wrote that kleenex would be needed but I truly wanted to talk about recognizing these gifts as a source of comfort and celebration. The women we are is a tribute to our Moms. A testment to them.

I think you are so lucky to have gotten the chance to take your Mom somewhere you knew she wanted to go. And I've been to the Mall of America...that is a challenge in itself. I think they should have cabana boys to help drag your stuff around. Hey, our guys could earn some extra money!

I came to suspect after my father's passing that my Mom would have loved to have traveled more. But between raising kids, paying a mortgage and the fact that my Daddy was a home body, she really didn't get to. There were the obligatory trips to Florida but she used to talk about going to a Dude Ranch in Colorado when she was single. She camped, rode horses and I like to think (since it was pre-Daddy)flirted with the cowboys :-)

Her one big story was riding the trail when her horse decided to sprint ahead, went into a full gallop and LEAPED over a stream! I thought about that when I rode the horse in Ireland. No excitement for me...my horse was so old and tired we had to go back LOL.

And congratulations to your Dad.

Joan said...

I'm still half asleep. The Dad congratulations go to The Duchesse.

Jo, you crack me up. Get up before yourself LOL. Talking about the golden rooster,though is making me crave KFC ;0

So you inherited your morning persona from your Mom? My Daddy was the big morning person in our household as is my brother (Thank you God I didn't inhereit THAT gene. I'm more of a mid-afternoon person LOL).

But I do remember when Mom would come to wake us up for school she used to croon "Rise and Shine Morning Glory" and when we stumbled out into the hall she'd slap a cold washrag in our face to WAKE US UP! It worked....thus my fear of cold washrags :-)

Anna there is a closeness between mothers and daughters that in some ways can't really be defined. We share so much of who we are to each other, don't we?

My mother's health also was on a downhill slide that last year. Multiple hospitalizations. The last 3 months she developed a pseudo dementia related to her poor health. My brother lived with her so he bore a portion of the burden I didn't. I will always give kudos to Steve for being there when we both needed him.

But so many times it's the daughters of the family who take on the role of caregiver. I think it speaks (most of the time) to the inherent abilities we have women...women who know our mothers inside out....to take care of things.

I remember one hospitalization when Mom had to get up to the bathroom a lot. Many times she didn't get where she needed to be in time, so I'd take care of the cleaning. She looked up at me and said "I'm sorry. Thank you."

Thank you? My, God she had been there for me in the same manner so many times in my life. I didn't consider it a thank you sort of thing...she was my Mom. I'd do anything.

It was after her passing in fact that I decided to pursue writing. I heard the song "I Hope You Dance" by LeeAnn Womack which speaks to dreams and never giving up. A message from Mom? Oh, yeah.

Helen, Happy Birthday to your Dad!

How cool that your Mom gave you your first romance. My Mom's reading ran more toward popular fiction. I can still see her in "her chair" though, lost in a book.

And isn't it interesting how many of us still want to phone our Mom's? When that happens to me, I take a deep breath, close my eyes and we "talk."

Keira Soleore said...

Joan asked, "You know I watched DWTS but what is HAWT?"

Oh, phooey! I was trying to be tres cool there. HAWT is just hot, spelled differently and uppercased, because I thought DWTS last night was smokin'

Joan said...

Amy, your mom didn't let her own diappointment shade her same hopes for you. She instilled that thirst that desire for education into her children so that they could complete her dream.

My Mom finished the eighth grade then had to work. She always wanted a high school diploma. So, in her fifties she decided to go back for her GED.

She was apprehensive and wanted me to go with her. So twice a week we'd drive out to the local high school and I would wait for "my little student" to get done with class. I can still remember how cute she was hunched over her math book. Sadly, half way through she had health problems and never got to finish.

But she still was the smartest lady I ever knew.

Christie, as someone else said, how lucky all of you who still have your Mom. My Mom was one of my best friends. On my days off...especially after Daddy passed...we spent together. Mainly going shopping and eating out. The Blue Boar was her favorite LOL. Hey, don't make fun of it! I developed quite a taste for chopped steak :-)

Dianna, that is so cute about your Mom and how she would hide from you in her wheelchair. An indomitable spirit? Mischeivous? LOL

Ok, buffie....I just went through a whole box of Kleenex. What a wonderful lady your Mom was to go to those lengths to help someone less fortunate. A single, simple act of caring that in its simplicity reflects more understanding of the need and the responsibility we all hold than any large campaign. "Feed My Sheep" a famous man once said. And she did.

Oh, Caren! I'm so sorry you're feeling bad. That kind of reminds us too, of how our Mom's are always there when we're sick.

When I was in my late 20's (yes, only last week LOL)I had a horrible stomach flu. I lived in an apartment but my Mom had me come over to her house. There she made me soup, crackers and jello. She tucked me in on the couch and yes...I watched cartoons :-)

Here's some cyber soup for you! (And a huge hug).

Donna, how cool that you did that writing a letter and letting her know THEN what she meant to you.

For my Mom's funeral I wrote out a page long (time limitations, you know) about who my Mom was, who she hoped to be and what she meant to us. Yes, her extended family should have known but I wanted them to know from ME. It ended as it should have with "you were the wind beneath our wings."

Joan said...

Ohhhhhh, Kiera.....

So THAT'S what it meant!

Joan, who obviously is NOT cool.

BTW, I'm predicting Helio...

Claudia Dain said...

I've been thinking about my mom so much lately that this post really hit me in the heart. In a good way! *G*

I'm adopted and so it's genetically impossible for me to look like my mom or to have inherited any traits from her. Except I do and I have.

I laugh like her, a loud boisterous burst of pure joy. She laughed like that, even when it wasn't the thing for women to do. She did it anyway and made no apologies. I'm like that, too. *G*

My mom never read a romance novel and never would. Genre fiction, so declasse, doncha know? But she would be my biggest fan today if she were alive because I'm her daughter and everything I do rocks her world.

I love my mom (and dad) so much; they're both long gone, but that doesn't change the love. They loved me with outrageous joy and complete inhibition and ferocious devotion. They are the only parents I ever want. They loved me, they took me in, and they told me I was the greatest gift in their lives.

I believed them. I still do.

doglady said...

What a great tribute, Joan. It is so funny that your mother quilted and you do not. With my mother and I it is the opposite. Her Aunt Icie, a formidable woman, tried to teach her to sew and tat and quilt, but it did not take. However, when Aunt Icie decided to try and pass it on to me it took. My mother loves the fact that I can quilt and tat. I love the fact that she is an incredible cook and trust me, I look it! My mother is full-blooded Native American. Growing up in the deep South in the thirties being an Indian was not a good thing. Racism did not limit itself to African Americans where my mother and her 8 siblings lived. She grew up on a tenant farm (sharecropper) picking cotton, tobacco and peanuts. Her mother raised nine children almost alone as her Cherokee husband was an abusive alcoholic. My mother's gift to me is a desire to accept all people, no matter their race, nationality, creed or religion. Education is everything to my mother. She was a star pupil, with English as her favorite subject, but they could not afford college. She taught us to read before we ever went to school. She taught us a love of books and learning. As an Air Force wife, the little (4"11) Cherokee/Creek woman who had never been outside of Alabama before she married traveled all over the world and made sure we kids got to see as many points of interest in each place we lived as possible. We sat in a station wagon in Selma, Alabama and watched the marchers cross the Edmund Pettus bridge on Bloody Sunday because my mother wanted us to see what people were willing to do to have access to the education we took for granted. We have not always gotten along, but now that we are both older we are the best of friends. She pushed me in my opera career and she is still pushing now that I have decided to try writing. She has given me an open-mind, a love of knowledge, an extremely independent nature and a stubborn never-give-up attitude. Not bad gifts at all.

Joan said...


So many of the gifts I spoke about are those taught to us both by design and by example. Nurture rather than nature.

During the course of her last months, when we thought Mom was depressed, I pushed for some counseling. We only ended up going twice because of her declingin physical health.

But...again, she wanted me in there....the therapist touched on her relationship with my grandma. Without going into a lot of detail..it wasn't good. How then, the therapist asked, did you know how to raise two children?

I just did was her answer.

She suffered through negative things and decided she wouldn't be like that. Oh, the stubborness was there (I suspect from the very first Murphy in Co. Cork at the beginning of time)but she used it to stand tall.

Now, close your eyes TICD, reach out with your heart and FEEL your Mom.

Joan said...

Wow, doglady....that is so cool!

I "do" know how to quilt and did a small wall hanging once. I can only piece by machine (when someone can thread it for me)and my stitches are no where near perfect. And tatting! I tried that so many times but never had anyone to show me. (Sometimes books, don't do it).

Your Mom also took the negatives in her life and turned them to positives and lessons for her children. A strong trait and..as with Irish stubborness...a cause of a clash or two. But even when two strong women clash, the underlying love is standing by ready to heal and strengthen.

Cassondra said...

Joanie what a wonderful tribute to your mom.

I had that type of connection more with my dad, and he's been gone --well, it'll be ten years this coming April. I was a daddy's girl--both in emotional makeup and I look more like him too. I was fortunate to have parents that allowed me to follow my own path in what I wanted to do--which was farm with my dad. I had to work, but I could choose my work, and I chose to work that cattle and house tobacco rather than do dishes as a rule. So I guess I grew closer to him because of all that time spent following him through the woods hunting ginseng and working side by side with him on whatever he was doing.

I guess the abilities I possess come from both my mom and my dad equally, as I see those gifts in what I know of both parents.

I share a birthday with my mom--this past October I turned 43 and she turned 80 on the same day. That was a really strange time for me. I'm not sure how to categorize it emotionally, and not sure I've exactly come to grips with it yet.

Over the years I've had plenty of those moments when you "recognize your own mortality"-- and that of your parents, but this, I guess, was another one--and kind of an unusual one because of the shared birthdays.

Keira Soleore said...

Joan, I'm conflicted. Helio or Mel for DWTS. SIGH! Then again, Julianne or Maks for DWTS. Julianne. So, Helio!

Joan said...

LOL, Kiera,

Yes Julianne is a cutie allright but Maxim......he's been there every season and dangit...I do so have a soft spot for arrogant alpha dancers :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Joan, buy shares in a tissue company now! They're about to go up. What wonderful posts from everybody. I'm crying in a good way. Buffie, your story about your mother absolutely made me howl. Aren't we all lucky to have had such wonderful mothers?

Susan Seyfarth said...

Joan, what a great post! I was just talking about my mom (who is still very much with us, thank god) with a friend today. Now that I'm a mom myself & am deep in the chaos of raising a couple kids, I have such a different perspective on my own childhood! Sometimes, after living through a holiday or a visit from the inlaws or a rash of strep throat, I'm moved to call up my mom & say, "Hi, Mom. I love you & I'm sorry." Because now I know what her life was like in a way I just couldn't comprehend when I was five or fifteen or even twenty. Now I KNOW what it takes to produce Christmas for an entire extended family, all of whom are suffering under the massive delusion that holidays simply happen without any forethought or planning. I couldn't appreciate what my mom did, or how much work was involved in creating the happy family that I just took for granted. For years, I thought that's just how families were. Now I know better, & I'm more & more convinced my mom is a superhuman example of patience, love & tolerance. If I do half as well by my own kids, I'll be proud.


p.s. Jennifer Y, I'm sending good vibes your way on your mom's tests! Hope all turns out well.

Joan said...


How lucky is your mom to have a daughter who is able to recognize and appreciate the work it took to raise a family?

I guess that's why the saying goes from parents "I can't wait till they have one of their own" LOL.

Kind of brings be back to one of my other regrets...that I never gave my mom a grandchild. Not from lack of wanting but just didn't happen.

I am close to my goddaughter Lauren and she was a faux granddaughter for my Mom. At Lauren's wedding my toast to the couple was preambled by one to her mother Mary "What greater gift could one woman give to another than to share the life of her child."

Anna, pass the tissue...

Christine Wells said...

Hi Joanie T, what a moving, wonderful post! Your mother sounds like a great lady. Happy birthday to her. I don't know what I'd do without my mother. I hope she's given me many gifts. I know I wish I had her patience! But I think she has helped me understand people, which is a great tool for writing.

Joan said...

I'm sure as you raise your little ones, the gifts will become more and more evident, including patience.

Jennifer Y. said...

Thanks everyone for the good thoughts for my mom!

Oh and my mom bought me my first romance when I was a teen...and the rest is history...I am now hopelessly addicted...LOL.

Aunty Cindy said...

The keeper of the Brass Sloth is here!
Joanie T. my mom's bday was last week, and I posted a thank you to her (even though I lost her to cancer in 1999) on my personal blog. Quite a coinky-dink, no??? I didn't think so either! I blubbered all over my keyboard when I wrote my thanks last week, and I blubbered again today when I read your post and everyone's comments.

I'm another Mom-look-alike, except she was short like doglady's mom. (Mine CLAIMED to be 5' but I think that was on a tall day!) I thought I grew to look like her until a couple of years ago when my aunt sent me some old pictures. One was my mom at 15 and another was me at 16. Except for our hair (hers was curly, mine straight) we looked EXACTLY ALIKE! That finally explained why my grandmother constantly called us by each other's names! I was like her all along.

Brass Sloth and PROUD :-P

Aunty Cindy said...

And just to PROVE what a sloth I am, here's a comment for Foanna's post from Saturday...

Writing IS like auto racing. You put the pedal to the metal and keep turning left! And never forget, the race is won or lost IN THE PITS!

who only really watches sports for the eye candy

Kate Carlisle said...

Jeez, people....I'm trying to pretend to work here at the day job, but I'm sniffling and wiping the tears away from my eyes at Joan's post and all of your heartfelt comments -- and the fact that KEIRA got the BIRD!! Good grief! How am I supposed to work under these conditions?? LOL

I was in a hotel room in Paris a few years ago when I looked into a mirror and first realized I looked exactly like my mother. It was a shock since I'd always taken after my father in looks and temperament, and always wished I'd inherited my mom's amazing charm and ability to talk to anyone. Maybe I'll grow into it some day. :-)

On the DWTS topic, I'm afraid cutie Cameron might get voted off tonight. Mel and Maksim are awesome, and Jenny's a sweetheart. I'm not as invested in the winner this season, just enjoying the show.

Joan said...

Brass Sloth, AC? LOL! Well, at least I have a chance for that :-)

After my Mom passed away, we found some pictures that neither my brother or I had ever seen. One was an "official" portrait type photo of my Mom from the late '40's. She was SO beautiful! My Mom had the most beautiful hazel eyes...you know, the classic green/brown with flecks of gold. I inherited my nose from her but boy those eyes would have been awesome.
Not that Daddy blue is bad, mind you :-) but she was beautiful.

Kate, pull yourself together. Your mother must have been beautiful herself if your picture is any indication. (I've always loved your "official author picture").

And if you're crying over Kiera getting the GR, what is your reaction to AC getting the brass sloth? LOL LOL LOL

As to DWTS, you might be right about Cameron though he has all those rapid soap fans to vote for him. As much as I like Maxim, I'd sure miss Cameron's...um...ok, I"ll say it...killer body VBG

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

TICD, what a great love and a great tribute. The laugh thing, I got that too. :>
Doglady, wonderful stories about your Mama. Wow, what a cool lady, thank you for sharing her with us. BTW, it is so COOL that you tat! My Mama could do that but she couldn't teach it. Too bad, because I would have loved to have learned. Neither of her sisters (only one still living) learned from their Grannie, just Mama. Like you said, Joan, some things you just can't learn from a book, drat it.
AC, the Brass Sloth. I LOVE that. Grins. That must be what makes those three-toed prints in my front flower beds which need weeding!
Kate, ha,ha on the look-a-like. I still will catch myself making a gesture like her and be totally surprised.

Keira Soleore said...

Hey Kate. So you've been secretly awarding all your votes for Cameron. Now, if you'd professed a liking for Helio, I might've been tempted to share the GR with you...

Brass Sloth?! BS?! Aunty dear, perhaps you might want to choose another acronym?? :)

Banditas, how do you do it, day after day? I have not come across a single post that's been blah since the first day you opened for business. With such a diverse group of people (posters and commenters alike) you've still created a warm and friendly community. Thank you all once again.

Anna Campbell said...

Sadly, while I definitely resemble my mother's side of the family, I don't look like her. I can remember people coming up to me and saying my mother was the most beautiful woman they'd ever seen. I think being beautiful on that scale is actually quite a burden. Beauty is an interesting thing to think about and I think about it a lot - perhaps because of my mother.

Speaking of my mother, I've just been watching a re-run of the Ken Burns Jazz documentary. My mother always loved Louis Armstrong. Always struck me as so odd when her musical tastes otherwise were so white bread in many ways. But something about old Satchmo really got her going. She hated Mozart and loved Tchaikovsky. Even if I did a blind tasting (and as someone who loves Mozart, I often did), she always really hated the Mozart and loved the Tchaikovsky. It's actually the really specific memories like this that make me want to cry. I guess because it's those specific things that make up a personality, don't they?

Jennifer, hope your mother is OK!

Keira, one of the things I love about the Banditas is that we ARE so different. Sort of like all the instruments in an orchestra! ;-)

AC, your comment is accepted, late as it is! Brass Sloth is yours!

DownUnderGirl said...

LOL duchesse. None of us were game to use the B word around our house lest we be thought of as the S word.

Another favourite mum-ism which I use with my own kids despite vowing not to is being made to look a word up in a dictionary if I didn't know how to spell it. "But if I can't spell it how am I gonna look it up?" I'd demand to know. "You know what it starts with don't you?" she'd reply.
Needless to say I learnt how to spell pretty damn fast as well.


Joan said...

Ah, Keira. Thank you so much for the thoughts.

We Banditas speak of it often on our own private mind link...er... I mean loop about the amazing synergy we have with each other.

It was fate, I tell ya. Sheer fate.

Speaking of which my man Cameron just got the boot from DWTS. (sniff). No more eye candy.

Maybe I'll teach one of my gladiators to rhumba.....

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Amy! That dictionary thing? That was SO the norm in my house. Why did I never learn? If I asked yet again, all innocence, how to spell somethign and wouldn't it be faster if she just told me and I could get my homework DONE...oh, no. Then I got the lecture and practically had to do a treatise on the word.
Kiera, ain't it great? Bucket boots and all, the Banditas Rock. (We give great thanks for the 2006 GH!)
Joan, of course your Roman Boyz can learn to Rhumba. They probably already know how to Tango - wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Snork.