Mother’s Day 2014

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RLHJefandMags Helenahome

MommyandmeMammaplus   joan 1doriscopy Barbara   LilBarbara

This Sunday, May 11th is Mother’s Day and as I sit here thinking about that day that is set aside for Moms, I can’t help thinking about the moms I have had and the moms I know.  It is such a special event not because the card companies make money as well as all the florists and restaurants, but because it has come to be more than just a commercial gimmick.  Because of that commercial gimmick Moms of all walks of life are now recognized, celebrated and hopefully appreciated.  For me it has become a day of reflection as well as a day that allows me to sit back and appreciate the love that my children show me when they celebrate this day with me.  It’s a day that allows us to be together without thought of any others.  We are free to just be.  It fills me with tremendous joy to just “be” with my children.  It’s better than birthdays. It’s better than any other holiday to me.  It is the one day in the whole year when I really feel like I have accomplished something in life.  When I look upon my children and see how they have grown into fine human beings and how loving they are toward their own mates and their own offspring; it swells my heart with pride.  I know that my job as a mom was the best I could do and my children are a product of that job.  They are typical children with typical mischievous histories and typical angelic histories. They are also very special.  No matter what has ever transpired in our lives, my children have always been the kind of children everyone wishes they had.  I feel loved by my children. I feel respected by my children.  Don’t misunderstand me, they can make me cry as quick as they can make me laugh. They can ignore me as much as they can pay avid attention to me, but the one thing they have never done, either of them is disappoint me.  I have never been truly disappointed in either of my children and to me that is the ultimate gift that being a mother allows me.  If mother’s day celebrates that feeling than I want to be a full participant.  I want to bask in the glory of being able to spend a day with my children and enjoy them and love them and get away with all the kissy faces I can manage!

Mother’s Day is also a day for me to reflect on all the women I know in my life who are also mothers.  I watch as they dedicate themselves day after day to their children, sacrificing if the need arises, tiring themselves out till they hurt if their children need them, just doing the best they can every single day to let their children know they love them and are there for them.  I celebrate these women today as well.  I am so glad I know them and so glad they are part of my life in one way or another.  Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and all my friends who are moms!  I hope this Mother’s Day you will be celebrated loudly and cherished dearly, just as you are cherished quietly each and every day. Mother’s Day cannot pass without my thinking of the women who have been a mom to me.  My mom, Helen and my mother-in-law Teresa.  Without their love, guidance and strength I’m not so sure I would be as confident or caring as I find I am these days.

My mom was tough and soft; happy and cranky; a very complex and complicated woman to figure out.  The life she had growing up was extremely hard and didn’t get much better until later on in life, closer to her passing.  She had so few years to experience the luxury of life, though my brother, Tom tried to give it to her.  She was cheated out of most of what life had to offer and I always wish that she were here now so I could show her all the things that she missed out on and worship her as she should have been worshipped.  I wish I could just sit on her lap one more time and tell her, “I love you, Mommy”, even if she wouldn’t say it back to me.  I hope her spirit is now at rest and she feels all the love that she might not have felt during her lifetime.  I hope her spirit knows that she lives on in everyone she has left behind.  For a part of my mommy will always be a part of me.

My mother-in-law was also a very formidable woman.  Her entire life was dedicated to the health and well-being of her children and grandchildren.  She was a woman whose strength of convictions I have yet to see matched.  She loved fiercely without wavering.  She taught me many things in the years she was with us.  I don’t think I was ever able to express the depth of respect and love I felt for her, even though I tried in my own way to communicate.  We spoke different languages, she Italian and me English, so it was hard most times.  She raised her children with such a magnitude of love that they are still to this day the greatest bunch of people you could ever meet.  They carry on her legacy with their own children and their own values.  They are the ultimate of what a loving family consists of, they are close, they are caring, they are hard-working, they are proud, they are a unit.  My mother-in-law did a great job at being a mom and I can only hope that one day someone, somewhere will be able to say the same about me.

Last but far from the least, are my sisters and my niece who are no longer with us, but moms who have also passed. Their spirits live on in their children and their love of family and of life leaves all of us who remain a goal to thrive for.  Their lives were very short, but their generous spirits and their love of family and friends was phenomenal. Not a day passes when one of them or all of them doesn’t pass through my thoughts and cause a ripple of pain from missing them through my heart; or bring a smile to my lips just remembering something they said or did to make me laugh. So I hope that everyone will think of Mother’s Day in a new way today.  I hope that those of you who read my blog will realize that it wasn’t such a bad idea to commercialize a day for Mom’s as long as the sentiment that goes with it is practiced and remembered.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

IMG_0862 PS:  Song in this blog is dedicated to my Mom, who loved this song and often said she wished she was named Rosemary.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn

K

My Beloved Wanda

My Goddaughter, Shanell Nekiia stated to me tonight,

“Kathy your girl left this earth yesterday”

With those words came a shock of disbelief, until I heard from her sister, Roxanne who confirmed what I was afraid to face, my beloved friend Wanda passed away from a heart attack on January 30, 2014 at the age of 59.

I am still shocked and I feel her gone from this earth and the sadness overcomes me. Never again will I be able to hear her laughing at my shenanigans. Never again will I hear her childlike innocence over a secret I shared with her. It was as if I shocked her with each adventure of mine that I revealed to her. No I haven’t traveled the world or climbed any mountains, but every little thing in my life that happened and I told Wanda about it, I felt like the most well-traveled outrageous woman ever, sort of an Amelia Earhart or an Auntie Mame, and she made me feel so great! When I was troubled or worried it was Wanda who made me laugh with her and all of a sudden everything vanished and it was funny. This blog tonight isn’t about me though, it is meant to be about one of the most amazing women I have ever known.

We met when we were in our twenties. We both worked at New York Life Insurance Company in Manhattan. Never in a million years did either of us think we would wind up as bookends. She a proud African-American woman and me a Caucasian mutt (Irish, English, Scottish and French) woman. Both of us were considered middle class at this stage of our lives, but we knew poverty and were trying to overcome it. Neither of us believing we had so many things in common. We did though, the more we talked the more we knew we were extremely similar in every area, we bonded from those discoveries and we stay bonded throughout our lives. We trusted one another. We never judged one another. We shared all those intimate details without hesitation, laughing through the other’s shock at our behavior at times. We were similar to two of the “Sex and the City” girls. A bit out there, taking risks and trying almost anything at least once. I can only remember two times in over 35 years seeing or hearing Wanda cry. She didn’t cry in front of people, she tried to show toughness, but her niceness always shined through that facade.

Even though there are a dozen of antics I could reveal, I choose not to divulge them, because I know my friend wouldn’t want that and I will respect her. The two of us couldn’t help but hang out together once we realized we were almost the same person only of a different race. Our friendship grew despite the disapproval and jealousies of our other friends. It was our fault though and we knew it, but still couldn’t help just hanging out together every chance we got. We still loved our friends, we just couldn’t share all the things Wanda and I shared with one another without feeling judged. You see Wanda and I just simply accepted each other and neither of us ever judged each other or anyone else. We never talked about others and how they were or what they did. We just simply were friends. We met each other’s families and they became our family. We met each other’s boyfriends and future spouses. We went to each other’s weddings and childbirth. We suffered together through breakups, sicknesses and accomplishments.

As we grew older we stopped seeing each other, each of us involved in our own worlds of marriage and motherhood. However, we never kept out of touch. At least once a year we would talk about what was happening in our lives, we would catch up as if we saw one another yesterday. We would always remember one another’s birthday. The only regret I have is that I was one of three Godmothers to her only daughter, Shanell and I didn’t keep up with Shanell. Not because I didn’t want to, but because my circumstances through much of my life, didn’t give me the privilege of choice. However, I have always been proud of the honor Wanda bestowed on me from the moment she asked me and I still feel that honor. Wanda knew I felt this and always understood why I couldn’t demonstrate it as I wanted to, she never held it against me and always updated me about Shanell. Wanda loves Shanell and her granddaughter, Nekiia with all her heart and of this I am positive. Wanda was always Wanda. She never changed in all the years I knew her.

She was very ill the last few years, but told me recently that she had her numbers under control, except for her sugar. That was always fluctuating because, like me she was addicted to soda. In the last three years, I tapered off the soda and replaced it with bottled water because like her, I developed diabetes as well. She was on medication, I came off medication but still have fluctuating numbers. Wanda couldn’t escape her need of soda, it was just stronger than her willpower. I understood. Now she is gone from a heart attack. I don’t know what happened yet and I’m not sure what led to the attack, but it doesn’t matter. Right now the only thing that matters to me is that I live in a world now without Wanda. My Wanda the funny, bubbling, secretive, caring, genuine, magnificent Wanda. A true friend, a real friend, a best friend a woman with substance, humanity, and heart. She was brave when needed, strong when needed, subdued when needed. She had wisdom beyond her years. She had love as great as Venus and conquered whatever hate she felt long ago. If it seems as if I am exaggerating than you didn’t know her. She was a humanitarian, a wonderful loving grandmother, a loyal and trusting friend. I loved her ever since I got to know her and I love her still. How I will continue in a world without Wanda being in it is beyond my thinking. I cannot imagine it. She kept me grounded. I had no fear, no mistrust, no doubt when I was with her no matter if we were live, online or on the phone. She exuded such a positive, welcoming aura that no secret was too secretive, no wild or risky act was too risqué. She was so accepting of all of it.

She also was fiercely protective of her loved ones and would be stern when she felt it was necessary. She was stubborn and class conscience, she would let you have it if she believed she was right and you were wrong. She was just like every other mom I have ever known, taking care of her family the best way she knew how. She will be missed beyond any of these words, but I needed to write them. I wanted the world to know that Wanda left her mark. That she is still loved beyond words. The world and I lost a precious human the other day and all I hope is that she is in a place where she is pampered, protected and pain-free. Wherever she is they are lucky to have her.

Wanda I love you, I miss you and I wish you rest in a peaceful and comfortable place. You will always be my beloved, trusted friend.

And that’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K