Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This One's For The Girls

This has been a different kind of Mother's Day.  My own mother is MIA - I have no idea where she is.  I've tried the home phone, I've tried the cell, and there's no answer.  I had plans, I really did.  I was going to take her for a manicure or pedicure, and then to lunch.  But she and my dad were not going to be here - they were going to my brother's in Utah, so we made loose plans to do the same thing once they're back in town.  I happened to call her a couple of days later, and the plans had all changed: now they weren't going to leave until after the weekend, but it was too late to make the manicure appointment adjacent to mine by then, and she said they were busy getting ready to go anyway.  But I at least wanted to call and maybe go by with a little gift, and I can't get hold of her  at all.  It's like she's a ninja.  I'll keep trying...
I've come to the conclusion that Mother's Day, besides being the day to honor the person who did most of the heavy lifting during the formative years, is also a day to honor and show love to all of the special women in our lives.  In my case, that includes a special aunt, my daughter (who is my special "schister"), my daughters in law (who are, in my mind, like actual daughters) my granddaughters, many nieces, and a few good friends.

My mother has always shown me the way to care for my own family.  When my babies came, I was astounded at her genius.  She knows everything there is to know about soothing a crying baby, showing infinite patience to toddlers, and yet tolerating no nonsense.  From her I learned the joys of eating together as a family, of knowing that every morning there would be breakfast on the table before school.  My clothes would be washed, dinner would be cooked, the house would be clean, she was always home after school.  And if I was sick?  Soft boiled eggs, plain jello, and 7Up.  Maybe some toast.  I learned from her how to be my favorite thing: a mom.  I am currently enrolled in the class of Grandmothering 101, which she teaches to perfection.  I honor her.

My Aunt Margie is my mom's sister.   She would come over after work, and on weekends and play with us, take us to the beach, and let us ride in her little Triumph with the top down. (My love of convertibles comes from her.)  She has always treated us as if we were her own.  When I struggled with math homework, she would help me.  My dad is a math genius, but he lacks the teaching gene.  And my mind doesn't make logical pathways.  It's more like a freestyle dance.  First here, then there, then 5 steps ahead, back again, and sometimes it just does the hokey-pokey.  Math doesn't thrive in my head, and I was a major math thorn in my dad's side.  So Margie would patiently explain over and over again until I understood it enough to complete the homework.  She was a godsend, and she has become a fixture in the lives of my children as well, attending graduations and celebrations of all kinds.  I honor her.

My daughter taught me how special the mother daughter bond is, and how your heart both swells with pride when they are big girls and leave home for the first time, and how it also breaks just a little bit.

She is spunky and bold.  She is tender and sweet.  She is a mother herself, with two sweet daughters who love to please her.  Just yesterday, Mia had her pick a "flower" from her handmade Mother's Day card (the flowers each one represent a separate chore) and then she spent the next hour dusting the house for Katie so Mommy could take a little nap after coaching soccer all afternoon.  Then, as a special bonus, she got Hayden dressed and ready to go to the playground.  It makes my heart happy to see how these little girls are learning from her and from each other how to love, and how to be mothers.  I honor Katie and her sweet girls.

In addition to a daughter, I'm blessed to have such special daughters in law.  Ronna and Ashley are the icing on the cake.  They love my sons (I'm so thankful for that!) and Ronna is also an excellent mother.  Her three children are loving and sweet, and Lexi is the little mother hen watching over the other two.  She is helpful to her mommy, and she carries on sweet conversations with Mema every time I call.  Ashley never fails to make me feel special and like an essential part of her life.  The two of them are a wonder.  I honor both of them, and also little Lexi and Skylee, who are learning all about being great mothers from Ronna.

I have nieces galore - both in my family and L's who are my idols when it comes to great mothering and/or being amazing women.  If I'd been like them when I was their age, I'd be miles ahead of where I am today.  I don't know whether they realize it or not, but I watch them, and learn so much from their beautiful examples of kindness, righteousness, and devotion to good.  I've also learned how to shed my shell a bit, and put myself out there.  They've taught me the joys of cutting loose through their total acceptance of me.  I honor them for the women and mothers some are, and the women and mothers the others will yet be.  (Thank you Sarah, Emily, Sherri, Margot, Ariana, Krystal, Kandace, Kaylene, Karina, Brittany, Kassidy and Madison!)
Good friends.  Where would we be without those good women friends?  I have one who has been with me since the early days.  Since we were 11.  She knows me inside out: the good, the bad, the ugly.  She's seen me at my childish worst, and at my stupidest.  She's seen me make my dumbest mistakes, and she's been with me in my high points.  She lets me get away with not seeing her for great lengths of time, and acts like it was just yesterday when we do connect.  She has taught me everything about being a great friend, and about handling horrible adversity with great grace and courage.  I honor her most directly and with such high esteem and gratitude.  She is the gold standard of friends.  She is the sister I never had.
I've been blessed with other great women in my life who have had powerful influence on me as well.  They teach me about acceptance and patience.  About putting others first.  About appreciating the diversity and great quirkiness in all of us.  It's what makes this world go around - it's the spice in our lives, and I do like a lot of spice.  Mucho caliente.  Some I've known for awhile, and some of you (as in my great blogging sister friends) I've only known for a short while.  But know this: if I come and read about your lives and take the time to answer and comment, you are important to me.  I think about you when the computer is off, take joy in the good,  and pray that your life's problems will resolve.  A couple of you I've actually met in real time and knowing you has blessed my life like no other.  (You know who you are!)  I hope to eventually meet all of you - wouldn't that be fun?  But no matter what, I honor you.  For the women you are, for the choices you make, for the example you lay out in front of me.  You've taught me a thing or two along the way, and I've tried to emulate the courage and faith and pure gutsiness I've seen. You're all - each one - a wonder.

So to great women who play such important roles in our lives - whether they are here with us, or have been gone awhile; whether they are mothers, sisters, friends or other relations - I honor each and every one of you.


  1. Hi, karen! This is a very special Mother's Day post acknowledging the women and girls in your family. Each one has unique qualities. Each one is lucky to have you in her life. You and I have similar memories. My mother was the nucleus of the family. We all gathered around the dinner table and shared a meal and conversation. You could always count on breakfast being on the table when you emerged from your room in the morning. Mother fed us toast and 7-Up when we were sick. Women of that generation were typically strong, hard working, self sacrificing and uncomplaining. They gave their all for their families. I'm happy to see that the women in your family are teaching these values to their children and grandchildren.

  2. What a lovely, good, and beautiful post. Your pictures are gorgeous, and I particularly loved the ones with the hands.

    Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

  3. I enjoyed this post. The pictures are beautiful. I especially love the last picture. I got it. You were totally talking to your granddaughter, so cute!

  4. What a great tribute to ALL the important women in your life!

    I love the picture of the hands. Might need to do that when my Mom gets here

  5. This is really a terrific post, Karen, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I love the photo of the hands.

    And that last one of you being one of the cutest grandmas ever!


  6. And to think you weren't going to post about Mother's Day! Love this post and pics :)

  7. Thank you for the image of Grandma as a ninja. And I sympathize (but not empathize) with you on being bad at math with Grandpa as your dad! Also, great post!

  8. That last picture is my fave. I love it! You both have the best expressions on your faces and body language is priceless. :)

    I love this post. You are blessed to have so many great women in your life. You are surrounded by amazing people. ...They are pretty lucky to have your love as well.

    Happy Belated Mother's Day. :)

  9. Thanks for this post, Karen. I love how you showed appreciation without making out perfect people.
    And I too count you as my friend. Won't forget Hyrum and Mia sitting on the hearth at Tia Rosa.

    And Katie has the most beautiful hair. Lucky girl.

  10. Wow Karen, I loved this post. You have such a wonderful family and I loved the sketches you gave of so many of them. Your pictures were really fun too.

    It sounds as if you had a nice Mother's Day. I do hope though that you and your mom get together when they get back. You are so lucky to have her. I lost mine when I was 35. I wish I could have had her a lot longer as we were so close.

    I loved the last picture. You and your darling granddaughter seem to be having such an inteesting conversation. You are both so darned cute!!!

    Also loved the picture of the hands. What a great idea this was!

  11. OK- Made me cry- Buckets, to be honest. It's been a very hard year. Thank you for being there. What I've learned is the big decisions made with my heart were right. The ones I made with my brain, not so good. Your friendship comes from my heart!

  12. Sweet post, and I love seeing all the beautiful pictures of your precious family :) Thanks for bringing a smile to my face!

  13. beautiful pictures! you are blessed to have these wonderful women in your life.

  14. Great post, and you have the best pictures. I feel like I"m there.

  15. Karen,
    Such a beautiful post! I love the hands picture!You have some wonderful women in your life!


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