My Favorite Things - Mothers

Wow, what a frustrating morning it has been.  No Internet, no cable, no phone.  So it’s straight to cleaning the kitchen – but the sink is backed up.  Not really wanting to stick my head under the sink and smell the lovely, putrid odor from a backed up pipe, I tried Draino.  30 minutes later I still have standing water in my sink. So it’s under the sink for me.  Wish me luck, it’s going to be a long, LONG day.   Phew, now I feel better that it’s off my chest.

(1977, From top left: Grandpa Bush, Grandpa Cook, Grandma Cook, my dad, my mom holding me, and my Great-Grandma Mair - Grandma Cook's mother)

So today I want to talk about another of my favorite things – mothers!  I have had several mothers in my life.

(Christmas 1978 - my mom, Great Grandma Mair, Grandma Cook, and me.)
My Great-Grandma Mair was the first matriarch that I had in my life.  Her daughters, my Grandma Cook, my Great-Aunt Evelyn and Elaine, played such a formative role in my life.  Like I said, we lived in my Great-Grandma’s house for a few years when I was a child and my dad was going to graduate school.  I spent a lot of time at my Great Aunts’ houses.  My Great-Aunt Elaine is the only one still alive, and I wish that I was living closer to her so that I could help her as much as she helped me.  My Great-Grandma Mair only lived for a few years of my young life, and unfortunately what I remember of those was her being in a wheel chair.  But she holds a high place in my heart as the mother of my Grandma Cook.

Another mother that wasn't in my life for very long was my Grandma Bush.  My mom’s mother, JoAnn, had cancer and died shortly after I was born.  So I don’t have any memories of her.  I wish that I had been able to know her.  But she gave me my mother, and that’s the most important thing she did in her life. 

(My mom with my Grandma Bush at my parents' wedding, 1975.)

(My mom and Grandma Cook at
my parents' wedding, 1975.)

Okay, now for Grandma Cook, Barbara.  Remember how I told you that I had my first cooking lesson from her? Scrambled eggs.  Nothing fancy, but it’s a formative memory of mine – she taught me that I could cook.  At 5 years old!  I remember holidays at her house – ham, turkey, stuffing (which I still make), and for my birthday it was always Clam Chowder.  There are a lot of recipes that I still use that I learned from my Grandma Cook.  She believed in hard work and family.  And that hard work usually paid off at family gatherings.  For the last year of her life, we had the wonderful opportunity to have her come live with us.  It was difficult to watch her health decline so rapidly.  But is was so wonderful to have her there with us every night at family dinner.  I really cherished having her there for the last part of her life.  One night, while she could still talk, she gave me the best piece of advice I could have ever received.  We were having family prayer, saying goodnight, and she pulled me close and whispered, “You will succeed.”  I love that woman and miss her every day.

Finally, my mom.  There is not enough I can say to show you how much I love her and am grateful for her.  But, as far as cooking goes,  she taught me just about everything I know.  I’ve told you how she taught me to cook as a girl because she had morning sickness for most of her pregnancies.  I remember making “fancy” dinners for my parents – first course: salad, second course: spaghetti and breadsticks: dessert: cake and ice cream.  She taught me how to make frosting and pies, lasagna and twice baked potatoes, deviled eggs (which was always my responsibility at Easter) and Grandma Cook’s stuffing.  She wanted to make sure I knew how to cook so that I could take care of myself and a family someday.  It’s because of her that I can blog every day about the wonderful meals that I make for my family. 

(1977, my mom and I, right after coming home from the hospital.)

But perhaps my most favorite part of mothers is that I get to be a mother myself.  K1 and K2 bring me such
joy.  Every night I love to hear, “Mom, you are the best cook ever!”  Nah, I’m not, but I still love to hear it.  And I feel very blessed to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day every year because of these 2 sweet little girls.  They are the best thing that ever happened to me.

(Me, K1, and K2, 2012)

There’s a long line of good women in my family, and fortunately I can say that there will be more to come.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the women in my life – thank you for your examples.