I usually love to sit down and compose my silly little posts each day but today, I am struggling. A few days ago I gave myself the task of trying write something about my mom who left us ten years ago today. To be precise, it was 4:30, on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, in a tiny cubicle in Georgetown University Hospital, after a frighteningly brief battle with an evil and rare leukemia. She was only 66.
The first thing you have to know about her is that she loved the water. The Chesapeake Bay was the love of her life. She spent most of her day combing the shore for treasures that only she appreciated.
She collected anything that had to do with boats and light houses. Fishing rods and shark's teeth were part of the decor. Her house looked like a marine museum. The freezer was always full of blue fish and crab meat that she had caught and cleaned herself.
When she wasn't slopping around in the bay, she loved to play dominoes. She drug Daddio over against his will every Saturday night to drink beer, eat popcorn and listen to the Gypsy Kings while we screamed and yelled our way through a game or two. Daddio always went home mad and she usually went home the winner.
In spite of being a champion fisherwoman, she always had gorgeous, long, painted nails. She loved to pamper herself and I still have this little jar of goop that she gave me for my sad little bitten down stubs.
She was also an amazing cook. She made the world's best potato salad, bean soup, creamed chipped beef on toast and an amazing pumpkin pie that made its own crust. We have all tried to replicate her recipes and we have all failed. She gave me this brilliant colander set and Chinese spider years ago and I use them all the time but never on anything as good as she ever made.
She was not what you would call a girly girl but she knew her way around a sewing machine. We still have her sewing box with all her patterns and her large Simplicity Fashion News collection. That is my wedding dress pattern, by the way. Way back in the early 70's, she made my dress and my bridesmaid's dress. She made my wedding cake too.
She didn't leave behind much in the way of jewelry. Most of what we have are things that her mother left her. What I do have is an award she won for some physical endeavor in high school. She left high school at 16 because...well, because of me. My parents were teenagers, who in spite of all the odds, made a darn good life for their three little girls and remained devoted to each other for almost 50 years. She left us just a few months short of that milestone, a fact Daddio still struggles with.
Last but not least, I cherish the socks I made her that she obviously put to very good use. We have all slaved over projects that end up only seeing the inside of someone's dresser drawers but when I found these, I was tickled that she had found them so useful. They were one of the first pairs of socks I had ever made. I bought the materials in a kit back when the internet was only a baby from a supplier I no longer remember.
It's strange, the terribly simple things that make up a life.
Ten years. It's still hard to believe she's not just a phone call away.