Love’s Labor Lost?

labor, mother, grandmother, babyWhen my friends first learned I was going to be a ‘grandmaw,’  some of them guffawed at me, as if my freedom, feistiness, and femaleness would soon be out the window. After all, what does a grandmother do but bake cookies, babysit and bring out the photos of her grandbabies too often?

In protest, a month before my first grandbabe was born, I participated in a 10k run and my guy and I flew off to Italy to share a villa with friends. No old biddy waiting for grandchildren was I! Continue reading

As Easy As Peanut Butter and Jelly

peanut butter and jelly, mothers and daughters, family, breakfastWe are always children to our parents.

No matter our age.

I find that comforting.

This past week I flew across country to visit my mom. I have adult children now. I have grandchildren, but my mom waits on me as if I’m still her (young) child whom she must care for and nurture.

You know how tenderly we parents watch over our 3-year- old, our 11-year-old, our 16 and 20-year-old? Well, guess what? We do the same when they’re 29, and 45, and yes, even older.

“I bought a wheat bagel for your breakfast, just what you like,” my mom chirps at 8 a.m. our first morning. I don’t eat bagels. I munch on wheat toast with organic peanut butter and blueberry jam every morning, but I so appreciate the thought that I slice the (just thawed) bagel and search for the toaster.

wheat bagel, breakfast

“I don’t own a toaster,” Mom explains five minutes into my opening and closing cabinets.

“Oh.” I turn on the oven to Broil.

“I’ve never used Broil. Do you think it works?” Mom asks, her voice tinged with wonder and curiosity.

I never use Broil either, at least not for toasting bread, so we stand in front of the oven and wait for four minutes.

I open the door. Bagel’s still soft.

Mom rinses some blueberries and raspberries, throws a few on her cereal, and makes me a bowl. “Sit down and eat,” she demands. “I’ll watch the bagel.”

I ignore her and open the oven – bagel’s still soft.

She pours milk into her bowl and I order her: “Eat before your cereal gets mushy!” She ignores me, and we check the oven.

Bagel’s still soft.

Simultaneously, we hit the Broil button off, and then I select Bake at 450 degrees. “Really, Mom, start breakfast. I’ll be right there.”

Mom stares longingly at her now soggy shredded wheat waiting for her on the dining room table but says, “Let me get the peanut butter out for your bagel,” as if I can’t reach up to the cabinet and pull out the Jiffy jar.

I check the bagel – it’s actually getting a little toasted. Nonchalantly I ask, “Do you have some jam?” but inwardly kick myself as soon as the words are out of my mouth.

Crestfallen, she opens the refrigerator and responds, “How about Seville Orange Marmalade?”

“Um, no, I really don’t like marmalade.”

“How can you NOT like marmalade? Here, try it.”

I hate marmalade. Don’t know why, but I have since I was a kid. So like a kid, I shake my head no. I probably pout too.

Mom pulls out another jar. “Oh, here’s Apricot Preserves.”

whole wheat bage, peanut butter, breakfast“Isn’t that like marmalade?” I ask. By now, I’ve pulled out the crispy browned bagel and start spreading it with peanut butter.

“Try it!”

“I really don’t…”

A spoon with some apricot preserves is suddenly swung in front of me, so I place a smidgen on my bagel and take one bite, making a face. “Nope, don’t like it. I’m fine with just peanut butter. Now, let’s eat.”

Her head is still in the refrigerator. “Aha! Red Current Jelly! Want to try that?”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

I walk to the table with my plate of, by now, cold toasted bagel. “Mom – come on.”

She makes a noise and produces another glass bottle from the refrigerator. “Look! Fig Butter. That could taste good…?”

“Why the heck do you have fig butter?”

She shrugs. “I bought it for a recipe. Umm, that could have been quite a while ago.”

I give her a peanut buttery smile. “Join me.” Her cereal is now indistinguishable from overcooked oatmeal that is dotted with some red and blue berries.

Giving up, my mom sits down at her place, only to pop up with an excited exclamation. She races back to the refrigerator and presents me with her find:


I groan, “Noooooooooooooo.”

She shrugs.

I begin to laugh so hard I can’t take another bite of baked bagel.

How wonderful is it to have a mom who still treats you like her special little girl, the daughter she still wants to keep happy?

But still, I don’t touch the cherry pie jelly.

My mom, making me dinner as I watch and admire.

My mom, making me dinner and still taking care of me.

Turning Into An Age

age, mothers, daughters, birthdays

Blowing away age myths.

My mom just turned ______.

Well, I’m not going to fill in the blank. Let’s just say she turned yesterday.

When we celebrate a birthday, why do we exclaim that we’ve “turned”? Like, “Joe just turned 60 and he’s so grumpy.” Or Jilly turned 13 last week and is now a true teenager.”What happens to us, when we “turn” into a new age? Do the wrinkles around our eyes suddenly crease deeper? Do our muscles turn stiffer, or weaker, on our birth date?

Or is it more ethereal than that. Do we suddenly turn into a “new” person, a different person,because the calendar says we’re now one year older?

All I know is that if I filled in the blank in the first sentence of this post , my mom would never talk to me again. Or worse, she’d talk to me, but believe me, her words would not be loving or kind.

And I understand that  –  now.

age, age discrimination, birthdays, mothers, daughters

Cute as a button, at any age.

When I was a child, I never knew my mom’s age. She never revealed it to my brother and me. Of course, at 5, or 10, or even 15, who cares how old our parents are? They’re ancient and we’ll never be that old.

But I do remember the time, when I was in my 20s, when my mom turned a certain number, let’s guess 53, and she told everyone at the birthday party that she’d just “turned” 43. I did the math, and wondered if she really gave birth to me when she was only a teenager. Because all along, I’d been told she didn’t have her first child until she was almost 30.

I approached my dad with the sensitive subject. He kind of smiled nervously, shrugged his shoulders, and suggested I ask my mom. From the nervous tic in his shoulders, I figured that was a bad idea.

For years after, I noticed that my mom gave a different number to her age anytime my bro or I asked her. One month she was 51, another time 48, three months later, maybe 52. And we were in our late 30s by then!

By the time I was 40 and lying about my age as competently as my mom, I snuck up to my dad and begged  him to tell me how old mom was. He shook his head at me in disappointment.  As sagely as the good witch telling Dorothy that all along, all she had to do was click her red heels to go home, my father said, “All you’ve had to do is check out her driver’s license.” After a pause he added, “but don’t ever tell her I gave you that advice!”

birthday, birthday party, greatgrandchildren, parents, mother/daughter

Sharing her wish with great-grandson, not her age.

So, I’m ashamed to admit right here, to my readers across the world, that I did just that. Me, a parent, an upstanding citizen with no arrest record (and just one speeding ticket…or two), flew across the country to supposedly “visit” my mother. Then I sent her off for an errand, and like a thief lusting for a hidden diamond ring, I peeked into her purse and found her driver’s license.

There it was – in black and white and I felt sorry all over.

mother, grandmother, age, birthday

Teaching her grandson that attitude is everything.

What did it matter how old she was? Age is only a number. Attitude is everything. She looks at least 20 years younger than her “licensed” age, she acts 30 years younger (I’ve been known to whisper to friends who ask: “my mom is 80 going on 18”). She’s beautiful and trim, laughs a lot, surrounds herself with delightful friends, yells at me if I try to carry her suitcase when she visits (“I’m perfectly capable, thank you!”), and reads voraciously.Honestly, I can’t keep up with my mom – her energy is friskier than a puppy’s, yet her wisdom hits the mark whenever I need a mother’s words to get me through life’s kinks.

 “People have perceptions of what 60 is supposed to be, and 70, and 80 and beyond. I don’t want to be categorized,” she insists.

Mom, I salute you.

And I’m so glad you didn’t “turn” into anything other than your most wonderful self on this birthday.

mother and daughter, birthday, age

Mother and Daughter – Ageless


appreciation, blog, readers, writers, daughters, babysittingWhat does it mean, to be appreciated, or to appreciate something? Dictionary definition says:


1. gratitude; thankful recognition:

2. the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value.

3. clear perception or recognition, especially of aesthetic quality: a course in art appreciation.

4. an increase or rise in the value of property, goods, etc.

5. critical notice; evaluation; opinion, as of a situation, person, etc.

      I like the #5 definition best, and it reminds me of the time I babysat for my daughter – her 1-year-old and 1-month old babies – for 8 hours, yet she picked them up after a long day kind of grumpy and well, non-appreciative, in my mind.
     So, being exhausted after the day, and feeling a bit weepy, I told her straight out as we strapped the kiddies in her car: I DON’T THINK YOU APPRECIATE ME!
     And you know what? My daughter stopped in the midst of the babies crying and asking for their bottles and dinner and stared me straight in the eye – her blue intensity gazing into my green regard and said strongly and full of love, “Mom, yes, I do! I do appreciate you!”
     I believed her. And felt loved and appreciated, and I let go of my tiredness and instead appreciated how much I loved and enjoyed these grandbabies, and how much I loved my daughter.
     That was three years ago, and still on every birthday card and Mother’s Day card and Christmas card my daughter sends me, the botton line always, ALWAYS says: I Appreciate You!
     So that’s what I first thought about when a fellow blogger nominated me this week for the “READER APPRECIATION AWARD.” She didn’t know how much this sweet award would mean to me – much more than the one word seems to imply.
     We all love to be appreciated, and I thank you, my readers, for enjoying my posts, for commenting, for smiling when I say something funny (or even when I don’t!), and mostly, for being here, allowing me to enjoy my weekly wighting writing.
     Besides telling you something about myself (see above) to accept this award, I also have the honor of nominating six other blogs. Here they are:
THANK YOU – I appreciate you all!


We greet each other with serene soft smiles.

“How was yours?”

“Fantastic. How was yours?”

“Unbelievable. I never had one of these before. This is so amazing.”  Another smile and I laugh.

A special day out, just the two of us, away from other family members and work and stress and the daily detritus of living.

We walk slowly to the locker room, touching each other’s faces. “Wow, yours is so soft,” she whispers.

I peer into the large, round blue eyes of my daughter. Everything about her is soft – her lips, her smile, her heart. I touch her skin. “And warm,” I reply.

“Hot towels. The lady placed these hot towels over my neck and my checks and my forehead until only my mouth, nose, and eyes were exposed. It’s rainy and windy and cold outside. Do you know how good that felt?”

I giggle. “Not to mention the heated sheets we laid on, and the flannel blanket on top of us.”

“I didn’t want to get up,” my daughter, mother of two little ones, admits.

We stand in front of the mirror in the well-appointed locker room, checking out our newly puffed pink faces. Our eyes catch each other’s during mid-primp, and we grin even wider.

Mother/daughter joy.

mother, daughter, joy, facial, spa

Soft faces, happy hearts