As I mentioned before, I am not one for journaling and it is taking me a while to regroup following the holidays which brought on some nasty colds for three of the five of us. It was not pleasant but hopefully now out of our systems. I thoroughly enjoyed having our three kids home for a full two weeks. We so rarely have the chance to spend extended time – all five of us together – these days and it is likely that it won’t happen again until August. Lively debates during good meals, laughs, fun games (Sequence, Blank Slate and Codenames – if you haven’t played them find them and have a blast!), shared time together are how we spent most of our time.
I find the holidays can be hard at the same time. I desperately miss my mother when the holidays – both Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around. With her birthday falling on November 28th, she is often on my mind. But I found this year sharing our thoughts and memories of her helped me. To hear my own children talk about what they appreciated about their relationships with her; her kindness, her funny sense of humor, her passions for the outdoors, fishing, games, letter writing, etc… warms my heart and reminds me that we are all so fortunate to have shared our time with her.
My mom – Weezie to her friends and family, Sweetie to her grandchildren – was an avid environmentalist even in the 1970’s. I have clear memories of loading up the back of her Ford station wagon with our bundled newspapers, boxes of clear glass, green and brown glass, and cans to drive over to the Princeton Shopping Center where the town recycling center was. As a lover and protector of nature, the environment, water supply, etc… Mom was a champion of recycling and what it would mean if everyone did it. We were admonished if we threw something out into the trash that belonged in the recycling or the compost. She would be appalled today if she saw what was happening to our environment and she would call her representatives and senators, or write them a letter in her beautiful hand writing. She would do her homework, have facts to back up her points and drive home her message succinctly. She believed in her father’s mantra of, “Stand up, speak up and shut up.” Never one to hesitate to speak her mind, Mom would champion what she held dear and our planet and its resources were at the top of that list – other than her family, of course.
My youngest daughter carries many of these traits and it is a blessing. While she was twelve when Mom died, she shares Mom’s spark when it comes to championing the things that will make our world a better place. She was home for the past month, waiting to head to Italy for her spring semester abroad. During this time, she encouraged and then assisted TJ and me in our efforts to clean up and out many rooms in our house. While there were many trips to the dump, we went as often to the clothing donation boxes and recycling station at the dump. She also spent time picking out the clothes that could be consigned. For Christmas she gave me a new composting bucket, beeswax paper to cover leftovers instead of foil or plastic wrap, and mesh bags to use at the grocery store for produce. She is adamant about never using plastic cups or straws, always bringing her own cup or mug when purchasing coffee or tea. These are all things that Mom would have appreciated. I find these moments, when I cherish the memories of Mom and her lessons learned by her grandchildren, to be the greatest gifts I could have ever hoped to receive.