My Mothers Daughter

My mom was the constant protector of my body, mind and spirit. She was my friend, always ready to listen and offer her opinion to advise me, but only if I asked for it.  I miss those conversations we had about all things, large and small, always filled with giggles and her sweet attendance  to my words and thoughts. Her exceptional home cooking fueled my tiny bones so successfully that I remember suffering ‘growing pains’. I recall her concern over my distress when my legs ached. She would simply say in her concerned matter-of-fact voice that it was merely growing pains. She would put me to bed, telling me that I would feel better after a good nights rest. Sure enough, the next morning I was ready to grow some more under her care. My most memorable meal will always be her roast beef, potatoes and carrots. My gosh, she made it the best, embedding fresh garlic into the roast, browning it on an old cast iron skillet before baking in the oven. Ahhh, the beauty of those carrots, potatoes and celery surrounding that savory roast beef. When she took off the tin foil tent to so that the potatoes would get a golden patina it was like watching and artist working culinary magic. I miss the aroma of those Sunday afternoons while moms roast beef dinner was baking.

In the final week of her life, she and I had a conversation. She had been reflecting on the significance of her life. While I sat with her in the hospital, she raised the discussion about how challenging it is to be a woman, especially these days. We talked about how a woman works twice as hard as a man, with the ongoing domestic tasks on top of having a career. She asked me that age-old question that all mothers have pondered. She asked if I, as a child, had ever missed her when she was away at work. I instinctively knew what she was asking me without her putting it into words. She felt the perpetual guilt that all women have when torn between wanting to stay home to nurture their family but necessity sends them off to work. It took just a brief moment for me to answer her, and I hope relieve her. I told her sincerely that I never missed her one iota, because when she was home she was 100% available to me. I had never thought about this before, but as a child, I never felt that she was distracted with work, because she was always emotionally available when she was at home. I do remember that she did go off to work, but while she was gone my dad stepped up, thus I never had the chance to miss her. I told her that I felt loved my entire life. I hope I alleviated any thoughts of guilt or remorse she had about working outside the home.

My mom carried with her a deep-seated patience, and even though I struggle with that virtue, it is because of her acceptance of others in a nonjudgmental fashion that I am open, caring and able to forgive. I have the capacity to forgive myself my many faults. Her quick beautiful smile and her ability to laugh at herself is also a trait of hers that I hold, and I hope will be passed to my daughters. How can I possibly count the multitude of aspects of being my mothers’ daughter, which make me the woman I am today? I have learned so many morals from her countless lessons from observing my mom’s behavior and interactions with others through the years. Most importantly, I will carry her spirit and feel her love inside my heart, mind, and soul every day.

 

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>Jack

>White as the snowfall of that joyous Christmas

He entered our young family

Petted, kissed and cuddled

He dozed in our arms

As we all took a stab at naming him.

He was carefully passed around

The kitchen island

Along with the bottle

That he was named after – Jack!

Jack – a strong name for a solid fellow

Would grow to be a faithful friend.

The happiest member of the clan.

Always at the ready to offer a greeting

From his earliest years of generously

Jumping on top of guests with

A full body hug –

To his more mature years

Showing huge affection

Too well-trained to jump up,

Instead, showed a more refined joy

With his entire body wagging,

Always with that happy face

Smiling sincerely at you.

Constant companion, always nearby.

Underfoot in the kitchen,

Discretely in wait for a morsel to fall.

Resting attentively in the foyer

Guardian of his family

Our gentle giant

Had a secret desire to be a lapdog!

Jack’s favorite place was with his family

A poolside party or bonfire where

He could garner affection, food and preferably

A lap to sit on!

That young family who giggled at his puppy pranks

Who grew up together

Strong, solid and so very loved.

Has entered a new phase.

And is now a sweet memory, savored often by all.

As is our dear friend, Jack.

In memory of Jack – Great White Boxer. Losing an aging pet is very hard on many levels. First is the sadness of loosing a dear friend, a member of your immediate family. Also, we are reminded of now fleeting the years go by, and of how fast the chapters of our book is turning. Growing older. 

D. J. Hall (03/16/2009)

Reflective Pond

>Reflective Pond
D.J. Hall (August 2007)

Search for hidden pond
With an eager anticipation
For a successful expedition

Opportunity for abundant fishing
For answers, blue gill, our emotions unraveled.
Propels us through a path less traveled
Traipsing mile after mile in summer’s humidity
Past endless rows of sunny simplicity.

Yellow faces watch in silence as we feel
Relentless dampness seep from pores at
Neck, cleavage, face and arms, as the
weight of the chaos I have created
continually trickles through my thoughts.
Much like the unremitting, infuriating mosquitoes.
Threatening to drive me crazy.

Onward, our heavy feet trudge, through a
Midwestern field full of tall grass and ticks
Accompanied by droning honeybees and
Annoyance of horseflies, heat and his enthusiasm.

Sulking, I discover beauty beneath the surface.
Like many other spheres of life,
I find a hidden eco-system at the edge of the pond,
Woven between the algae, guppies and tiny frogs.
As I sit and fume about my discomfort, misery and him
is the certainty that we, too, are intermingled.
Energy, fate, force or whim
Compels me to accept the reality that I had
attempted to submerge.
The certainty that I believe in our love, our future,
and that our affections will once again resurface.