Friday, January 23, 2009

Time passes

Tomorrow marks a strange anniversary for me. It will be two years since my mom died. She was 59. It was breast cancer. I could blog for an entire year about the incredible woman she was and what she taught us even in her greatest hardship. I could, but I won't. It's funny the things you remember about someone after they're gone, the things that sneak in and become a part of you. I meant to do a different Friday Favorite, but it just seems right to tell you one of my favorite memories about her. It's nothing profound, but it makes me smile, and that's welcome today.

Both of my parents were deaf, which I've mentioned before. But they were really high-functioning. Excellent speech, excellent lip-reading, all that. Well, let me amend that. My mom had mostly excellent speech. Her W's and R's got a little tangled up sometimes. It was always easy to figure out what she meant, so no big deal.

One year for her birthday, my brother the thoughtful gift-giver, got her a framed picture of a rooster. It was done in the primitive folk art mode, her favorite style, and was painted like it had been made from patchwork quilt pieces, then mounted in a rustic red frame. It was a little on the country-kitchen end of the spectrum for me, but she liked it and hung it...in our kitchen. It must have been up there for about five years when she casually commented that she liked it, too, but wasn't sure what prompted my brother to give it to her. I was surprised. "I thought you told him you liked rooster art," I said.

It was her turn to look surprised. "Sure, I guess," she said, and shrugged.

It wasn't until months later that it hit me: she hadn't told him she liked rooster art. She'd been telling him she liked the art work of Jane Wooster Scott but had only come up with the Wooster part of her name, which to him sounded like "....folk art....rooster...." and voila! We had a rooster in our kitchen for five-ish years.

It started a tradition in our home for gift-giving. Every occasion after that, whether it was her birthday or Mother's Day or Christmas, she got something she wanted and could use, and she got rooster paraphenelia whether she wanted it or not. Rooster dishes, rooster dish rags...it was an impressive collection. That she never wanted and was powerless to stop.

When we settled their estate and sold off a lot of stuff, it was with great glee that we watched her rooster stuff get snatched up. But I it is always with a little pang that I see a gad-awful rooster accessory now. I have no one to buy it for. I miss my mom.

30 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Your mom sounds like an amazing woman!

And I love the rooster tradition. It sounds like when we were kids and would always buy my dad these crazy ties, that he wore faithfully, every Sunday. I'm sure he hated them.

Becky said...

What a great story!

I hope tomorrow won't be too hard for you. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman.

Sandi said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with us- it is a great story and memory-gotta love the ones that make you laugh!

Kenny, the husband said...

I miss your mom too.

I also think of her when I see roosters, just like I think of your paw-paw when I see hummingbirds. But I don't think of you when I see frogs...just so you know.

When Baby-G was born, I had this nagging realization that lasted about six months about how short our lives really are. I was sad that Baby-G (or any subsequent children) would never get to know their Grandma and Grandpa Bennett in this life. I was bummed that I would probably only see my own grandchildren for a little while, and unless I lived to 100, I'd never see a great-grandchild. I also wished your paw-paw could have seen Baby-G. That would have made him pretty happy I think (not that he wasn't already a pretty happy guy!)

OK, I'm making myself really sad right now. When you come home from the Weight-Watchers and the Costcos and give you a big unexplicable hug, you'll know why...

Herb of Grace said...

Awwww. That's such a sweet story. :)

Josi said...

LOL--that is awesome! I love that it took 5 years to figure it out. So, who has the woosters now?

Emily said...

Oh, how sad! Your brother trying to be all thoughty . . . and she got stuck with rooster stuff!

Nancy said...

My mom collected golf shirts - she had a ton. She played golf too, but it really was hard to clean out her closets. I probably got rid of stuff that I shouldn't have because there was so much STUFF! I miss my Mom too. She died Nov. 11, 2003 - Poppy Day!

Chris said...

I'm so glad you shared this story! What a completely wonderful memory.

Sue said...

Awww... Now I want to buy you something roostery. What a great story. It tells us a lot about your family - your mom, your brother and the whole lovingly teasing dynamic.

My Diary said...

Poor mom, all those roosters, with no rooster love.

Melanie's Sister said...

I completely forgot that it is our mother's two year anniversary tomorrow! And had I not read your blog, I don't know that I would have remembered. Thanks for picking up my slack.

You should do a Friday Favorite about our Pawpaw since his death anniversary is the day after Mom's.

Stephanie and Co. said...

I like this story/memory. It is such a sweet remembrance of your mom.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

you know what Melanie? I don't really know what to say, but this is a very well written post that makes me feel like I knew your mom, which makes me a lucky person.

CaJoh said...

It's always nice to find something that reminds you of someone who passed. Every time I make a recipe that my mother-in-law used to make with me I am reminded of her.

Kazzy said...

To me the saddest stories always have some humor in them. It makes the character real, and I love that. I am so sorry about your mom. I hope you are ok with the upcoming anniversary.

Mina said...

Great memory. Rooster kitchens are quite the thing now. SHe was ahead of the pack. I hope tomorrow goes as well as it can for you.

myimaginaryblog said...

When my mom dies (may it be many years from now) I don't know whether we'll be squabbling over who gets her great stuff or overwhelmed because there's too much of it. Maybe the two sentiments will balance out. But I don't think we'll be arguing over who gets to keep the sloth plush toy. My mom is nearly phobic about sloths -- truly disgusted by them -- so my sweet younger sibs bought her her own sloth toy. So thoughtful of them.

myimaginaryblog said...

I forgot to thank you for sharing this sweet story.

Annette Lyon said...

That's the kind of fun, sweet story I hope to have pop into my head when it's my parents time to go.

(Which I hope won't be for a very long time.)

Andrew & Sarah Clawson said...

I miss her too! This post made me smile! Thanks! Now I am going to wonder about what my kids really think about the way that I talk... puts things in a different perspective for me......Thanks!

Heather of the EO said...

This is definitely memorable. I'm so glad it can pop up and make you smile, even while you miss your mom.

The way you tell your stories makes me feel like I really know you. So if I ever meet you in real life, be prepared for me to hug you and talk your ear off.

Kimberly said...

What strange things become poignant for us, stirring up all the bittersweet memories.

I don't let my kid's touch the boyd's bears figurine collection my mother-in-law started and continues for me, in hopes they'll fight over them some day.

Debbie said...

Oh Melanie. That is such a sweet, sweet story. Your darling mom hanging that rooster without a clue why her son gave it to her.
I am so sorry you lost her at such a young age. This was a loving tribute to her.

kelberology 101 said...

love the story. i love when laughter reminds of good people because that means we have know good people that know how to laugh. I loved your mom,i still remember learning what little of sign language i know from her. now we use ut in our family with my little neice that has down's syndrome. and I remember that I had to go get her beano when you were in labor!

kelberology 101 said...

p.s. excuse all the typos etc. in previous post. I am tired!!!!!!!!! hope the message came across.

Jami said...

My mother always gives me rooster stuff. I hate it, but I'll hate it more when she's not there to give it to me.

Belated love and hugs on a hard anniversary.

charrette said...

We went through the exact same gift-giving frenzy with my mom and sheep for years. Honest. It started with my aunt. Your rooster story brought it all back.

Sorry I missed your anniversary day. Amazingly, I wrote a very similar post about losing my mom, here: http://divergentpathways.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-am-29-dont-laugh.html

Luisa Perkins said...

Isn't it funny how people glom onto a theme in gift-giving sometimes?

Your mother sounds like she was amazing.

Linda said...

Bonita was the sweetest lady ever!
I miss her too! Do you remember when Uncle Mark and I came out there and he made the famous jambalya(think i spelled that wrong, sorry)? Any way, I remember how excited Bonita was to have some that tasted like Granddaddy's. Anyway, when she only ate a little bit and someone asked why, she said "This does not taste like Granddaddy's." When we told Mark he said it was because someone lifted the lid off the rice!!!