Posted tagged ‘Mother’

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

February 8, 2018

Today is a beautiful day, chilly but still beautiful. Yesterday we had rain, a deluge at times. Off cape got snow so I was happy for the rain. We were just too warm for snow, 10˚ warmer than Boston.

I have nothing on my dance card for today. I’m going to stay around the house. I have some books to keep me busy, and the bird feeders need to be filled. Those are enough accomplishments for today.

My cleaning couple haven’t been here in a month. They usually come every two weeks, but they were in Florida for the second two weeks. Last night Lee called and said they couldn’t come today. I immediately panicked. Visions of the vacuum cleaner, dust rags and mops jumped into my head, and I was the one using them. It was a daytime nightmare. When I told Lee, he promised they’d come on Monday, and I was to do nothing. That’s when I stopped hyperventilating.

When I was little, the house was always vacuumed and dusted, and the dishes were always washed. When I left for school in the morning, my bed was a mess. When I came home, it was made. I never ran out of clean underwear. All day long my mother worked in the house and did the same things every single day. She washed the breakfast dishes, left them to dry in the strainer, made all the beds upstairs, collected laundry, brought the clothes to the cellar to wash, came back upstairs and cleaned the living room. Some time later, she’d go back down to the cellar and put the clothes through the wringer a couple of times. Finally she’d go outside and hang the clothes on the line.

I seldom saw my mother do all these things as I was usually in school. It seemed sort of like the elves and the shoemaker to me. Leave dirty clothes. Find clean clothes. It was a daily miracle I never appreciated until I was older.

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

October 11, 2014

It was a mirror under the nose morning as I slept until after ten. I always wonder if my neighbors will notice my paper still sits in the driveway so late and hope I’m okay or if they’ll just shake their heads and think that woman sleeps really late. I know they are up before seven every morning.

It’s raining. The house is dark, and I haven’t turned on any lights. The dog and cats are sleeping, the cats in here with me and the dog in her crate. She and I are going to the dump today because I figure the rain will keep people away, and tomorrow will be a madhouse as the dump is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Rainy Saturdays this time of year were the worst when I was a kid. It was too chilly to be outside playing in the rain, and there wasn’t a whole lot to do in the house. We could watch TV, play board games or read, and we’d try each until we were bored enough to move on to another. We often ended up fighting over the board game. It was always a he said-she said argument or accusations of cheating, and my mother would yell for us to put the game away. Most times I’d lie in bed and read. It was one of the few places where I could be by myself. I figure rainy Saturdays drove my mother crazy because she was stuck with the four of us, and we were stuck with each other. My father was usually off doing his Saturday stuff. When I think back, my mother was always around while my father worked until late every day and on Saturdays he was off doing his errands and then he’d worked outside in the yard. Sunday was the only day he was around the whole time except he went to an early mass where he was an usher. Once in a while we went with him, but it was really early.

My mother was the disciplinarian when my father wasn’t around. He was always the threat, “If you don’t stop what you’re doing, I’m telling your father.” That scared us. My mother was easy-going while my father wasn’t. We usually stopped. She never did tell.

“My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.”

May 13, 2012

Every year I post this tribute to my mother. I think about her and miss her every day and sometimes I find myself reaching for the phone to call her.

It is a warm, sunny day as Mother’s Day should be!

My mother had a generosity of spirit. She was funny and smart and the belle of every ball. She always had music going in the kitchen as she worked so she could sing along. She played Frank and Tony and Johnny and from her I learned the old songs. My mother drew all the relatives, and her house was filled. My cousins visited often. She was their favorite aunty. My mother loved to play Big Boggle, and we’d sit for hours at the kitchen table and play so many games we’d lose track of the time. Christmas was always amazing, and she passed this love to all of us. We traveled together, she and I, and my mother was game for anything. I remember Italy and my mother and me after dinner at the hotel bar where she’d enjoy her cognac. She never had it any other time, but we’re on vacation she said and anything goes. I talked to her just about every day, as did my sisters. I loved it when she came to visit. We’d shop, have dinner out then play games at night. I always waited on her when was here. I figured it was the least I could do.

My mother loved extreme weather shows, TV judges and crime. She never missed Judge Judy. She also liked quiz shows and she and I used to play Jeopardy together on the phone at night. She always had a crossword puzzle book with a pen inside on the table beside her chair, and I used to try and fill in some of the blanks. On the dining room table was often a jig saw puzzle, and we all stopped to add pieces on the way to the kitchen. My mother loved a good time.

She did get feisty, and I remember flying slippers aimed at my head when I was a kid. She expertly used mother’s guilt and, “I’ll do it myself,” was her favorite weapon. We sometimes drove her crazy, and she let us know, none too quietly.We never argued over politics. She kept her opinions close. We sometimes argued over other things, but the arguments never lasted long.

I still think to reach for the phone and call my mother when I see something interesting or have a question I know only she can answer. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was of her.

Happy Mother’s Day.

“Mothers are the necessity of invention.”

January 31, 2012

The day is warm by winter’s usual standards. It’s 49°, but there is a little breeze which makes the day feel colder. On days like today I’d love a jacket like the ones I had as a kid. With those, each sleeve had a jersey cuff inside which kept the wind at bay, and all the jackets had hoods attached. Nothing is worse than ears which are red and frozen.

We always walked to school and never thought twice about the weather. Most families had only one car, and it left early to work with the dads. In my neighborhood, the only woman who drove was a widow who had no choice. The other mothers walked to do most of their errands. The only exception was the weekly groceries. It was a Friday tradition in my house for my Dad to drive my mother to the supermarket. I never went, but I’m willing to bet my dad waited in the car. Grocery shopping was a woman’s job.

When I was a kid, there was a clear delineation between household jobs for men and for women. I didn’t know any mother who had an outside job. Every mother in my neighborhood stayed at home and took care of the house and kids. Every morning the fathers, wearing suits and fedoras, drove to work. In the winter they shoveled and switched to snow tires, in the summer they mowed and trimmed the bushes, in the spring they planted and changed tires again and in the fall they raked and burned the leaves. They took down and put up the storm windows. They got the oil in the car changed and picked out every new car. On warm Saturday mornings, they washed those cars. They read the papers on Sunday mornings and watched football on Sunday afternoons. They were the threats our mothers used to keep us in line. Everything else our mothers did.

“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.”

December 23, 2011

It is by all accounts a dreary day, dark and rainy, but being so close to Christmas, it looks, to me anyway, to be bright and beautiful. The tree is lit, and the house is filled with the scent of pine. I’ll be baking most of the day, my orange cookies, my mother’s favorite, and one more kind yet to be determined. My mother used to hide some of the orange cookies so they wouldn’t disappear too quickly. I’ll share mine with my friend because they remind her of her mother’s orange cake. That’s what Christmas is, remembering Christmases past, making new memories and carrying traditions from one generation to another.

Today is the last day before school vacation. I remember my high school kids were almost giddy. Santa hats were a common sight in the halls, and the spontaneous outbreak of carols was a lunch time treat to hear. One year a junior boy stood on a table and sang a solo. It was beautiful. Age is never an impediment to the joys of the seasons.

My sister is buried deep in snow. We’re having rain again, but I’m okay with that. I’ll just dream of a white Christmas. That’s enough for me.

I used to love my Christmas stocking. It was always stuffed and filled to the very top. Reaching my hand in and pulling out one thing at a time was the best approach. That way emptying the stocking lasted a long time. My mother was the stocking stuffer of legend. When we were kids, nothing was wrapped, but when we were older, she wrapped every single thing. Our childhood stockings had crayons, coloring books, baby bottles and a stuffed animal hanging out of the top. The rest of the little gifts were always a surprise. When we were grown, my sisters and I knew they’d be a pair of earrings for each of us in our stockings, but that was all we knew would be there. The rest of the stuff, just like when we were kids, was always a wonderful surprise because my mother found the neatest, most original stuff for those stockings.

My nephew used to call today Christmas Eve Eve.

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