Saturday, June 2, 2018


Hi Mom. Not mother. Not maman. Not even Sandee.

In my heart, you will always be "Mom".

When Marielle first suggested that I write this, and read this, for you, for your birthday, I had tears in my eyes. Tears at the thought of trying to capture my feelings in so few words, and tears at the thought of all you mean to me.

When I think of you, my very first thought, one of my earliest memories is when I was a very young child, probably no more than 3 years old. I remember that I was sick, and you lay me on your bed, that bed that was so huge in my eyes, and you lay me there on your pillows. I remember feeling so safe, secure, there, feeling that all would be all right, that the pain would go away. That feeling, that safety, is what always comes to mind first, when I think of you.

I remember walking, a few years later, into that clothing store on the corner, back in Highland Park, where you worked, and hiding in the clothes racks. And then a few years after that, admiring the clothing in the Yves St Laurent department, where you worked for so long, in Northbrook Court.

And even now, I can still see your jewelry kit in the basement, on the floor, open, as you searched for a pair of pliers to fix something that had broken. All the half-finished pieces that you had made, sitting there, waiting, but you had already moved on to other art forms.

It is no wonder to me that I became a fashion designer, working in metal. It feels like it's in my blood.

But then, Marielle asked me to try and find one story that I can tell, about you, that brings the listener, or the reader, into my state of being, conveys the child, or son, that I was when it occurred.

It's hard to do that, for you were always there. Like the air I breathe. How can you tell a single story about the air?

In fact, there are too many stories to tell

I could talk about being stranded on the rock in the front yard, I mean, you never let me forget it. Or I could talk about the Passover dinners at your in-laws, which probably cultivated my love for religion. I could even talk about the community plays you used to take part in back in Kennedy School.

But really, what stands out, beyond all other stories, is how you took care of your own mother, Grandma Elsie. In fact, that has been an identifying feature of you all your life, or at least as long as I've known you. You always look to the well-being of others, whether it's your children, your parents, Harold, or even Henry today. You have always been a caregiver, ever giving.

But back to Grandma Elsie. Nothing epitomizes your care-giving nature more than your care of your own mother, and how you brought in Maria, our dearly loved family member from Poland. And nothing shows you or your heart, more than this.

You see, I remember so well coming downstairs on St Patrick's Day, when the milk would somehow be green. This was pretty much normal. Or Easter, when the milk was purple. We took it for granted, just as we take so much for granted.

But that one evening, shortly after Maria joined our little family, when she was still struggling with English, having just arrived from Poland, we were all sitting around as you served us dinner. And there, on each plate, was a single hard-boiled egg in the middle of the rest of the food. But Maria, well, Maria's egg was a cube. I remember noticing it but just continuing on with my meal. Maria? She just sat there, fork in hand, staring at her... egg?  I don't remember what she said. Something like, "What kind of chicken laid this?" But her expression, well that I will never forget.

For really, Mom, it's an expression I've seen around so many in your presence.

For eighty years you've been guilty of inflicting this expression on others. May you continue to do so for many more years to come.

There is so much more I want to say, but in the end, it all comes down to "Happy birthday, Mom. I miss you, and I love you."

1 comment:

  1. Mead, even though I never comment on this blog, I’ve always been glad to see you doing it. It’s one of my favorites. I’m sure that it’s doing a lot of people a lot of good. Some of my other favorite blogs have disappeared. What keeps you going? What makes you want to keep doing this? What does it mean to you, in itself, and in relation to Baha’u’llah’s purposes?