Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Because of My Mother

Because of my mother I know how to swim. She took me to swim lessons at the YMCA. She could not swim and she wanted to make sure I did not go thorough life afraid of water. Well, I am not afraid of swimming pools but the ocean and all those fish scare me. No scuba diving here, thank you very much.

Because of my mother I know how to sew. In the sixth grade I made my first completed apparel item, for me to wear, not my dolls. It was a circle skirt. Now you can just imagine how long it took me to make this skirt ( do you remember how full these were?)  because if a seam was even the slightest bit off,- I am talking 1/32 of an inch here folks, I was made to rip it out. To this day, if asked the one tool one cannot be without, when sewing, I say a seam ripper. It is not used as often by me as when I was under my mother's watchful eyes.

Because of my mother I know how to make pie crusts and bake a cake from scratch. Not that I do it very often but I do know how. My mother was the best cook of anyone I knew growing up.  Because of her I make some pecan rolls that are like no one else's. They are made from my mother's original recipe.

Because of my mother I know how to knit. She taught me at a very early age. I would take my knitting to school, in the fourth grade, so I had something to do, at my seat, ( this was a long time ago when one was not allowed out of one's seat without permission ) when I finished my work early.

Because of my mother my school work, my room, and all other controllable aspects of my life tend to be neat. A place for everything and everything in it's place ---- now, there might be clutter as my mother also taught me you can always buy one more thing to house many more things, if necessary.  BUT, if you do that, just know, by my mother's standards, you are required to dust every single thing, every singe day. I quipped on my blog that I can just imagine God might already be annoyed with her for continuously dusting the clouds!

Because of my mother, I am thrifty. My dad used to say my mother's grave stone should read, " Here lies Madeline Neill,
                             She died making a better deal."  I haven't checked, I don't think he actually carried through with this, did you dad?

Because of my mother, I have an innate sense of design. My mother did not grow up in a wealthy home, quite the opposite. But all of the time I knew my mother she had a sense of design and style. 

Because of my mother I love fine things. When I met my husband, one of his friends told him I would be high maintenance. He was right. My mother insisted we wear Buster Brown shoes. I did not get to purchase a pair of "cheap" shoes until I was an adult out on my own. She, to my knowledge, never owned a single piece of costume jewelry. She wanted the "real" thing and she wanted the best. 

Because of my mother I know how to set a table and I know how to entertain. I know how to create special gift wraps and holiday decorations. My brother and I always had original Easter baskets, again, made from scratch. I credit my imaginative business packaging ideas to my mother. She taught me to color within the box but to make the box different shapes.

Because of my mother many people say I am generous. All through my mother's life I witnessed her giving to others.  And giving, and giving. Most recently, her favorite giving experiences were when her great grandson would visit. After one such visit, Chandler got in the car with his Grandy, and shyly asked," Did you get any money". Unfortunately for Grandy, the answer was no. Mother had given Chandler $60. In the visits for the past few months though, there was no money being given. One of the many indications my mother's body was wearing out.

Because of my mother I was afforded the opportunity to finish college and I did. She paid for my tuition, secretly, after I married, at a very young age. I do suspect though that my father knew this was happening but just kept quiet because he too wanted me to have an education.

Because of my mother I own more Waterford Crystal than any of my friends, and I suspect any of their friends and on and on. My mother loved Waterford Crystal. The beauty is seen throughout my house and when I see it I see my mother's beauty, as well.

Because of my mother I create. My mother always enjoyed crafts and creating. When we lived in Savannah, GA. in the first home my parents ever bought I can distinctly remember two of these creative endeavors. My mother made slip covers for the den ( what it was called in those days ) furniture. I am not talking about loose slip covers that can now be bought at such places as Target. I am talking about professional slip covers. She decided she was doing it and that was that. The one that brings a smile to my face though is the next one. During those years, don't remember which one exactly-I was just a kid, it became fashionable to wear halter tops in the summer. My mother and her next door neighbor friend, Ginny, decided to make their own halter tops. They bought bras and added ruffles and embellishments to them. They wore them too! I think my favorite had red and white polka dot ruffles. Maybe that is why red is one of my favorite colors!

Because of my mother I know what soap taste like. I got my mouth washed out with soap at the age of three or four. It kept me, until I was an adult, from using my mother's favorite cuss word, shit. Once I knew my mouth would not be washed out with soap, I followed in my mother's foot steps. Only difference is, I do not apologize each time I use it!

Because of my mother I am not a procrastinator. I am focused. Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today was one of her many teachings.

Because of my mother I want things done " right". If a job is worth doing it is worth doing right, was another favorite saying.  There could be some argument over what is "right" but believe you me, I know her definition of right and I have taken on that role. Just ask my husband !

Because of my mother I was shown the capability of often overcoming shyness. My mother was President of the Officer's Wives Club twice. However, her perfectionism nature also  got in the way of her accomplishing some of her goals. She was not able to finish college because of the pressure she placed on herself  to be the BEST student on every single project, tests, etc. Anything less than an A was failure. For this I am also grateful to my mother, as it taught me not to be a perfectionist. 

Because of my mother, I am remembering and celebrating a beautiful woman. I know my mother would want you to honor her by raising a glass of wine, preferably red, and toast to living a beautiful life. I happen to know she would not mind, in the least, if you did this quite often.



Paris Cowgirl said...

A toast to your mother and you. As always, beautifully written. Hugs

Sweet Sage said...

A lovely tribute, CeCe.
Thinking of you, as always ~

Lizzie said...

Cece - that is beautiful, you are an amazing woman that I look up to in many of the same ways you looked up to your mother! Love you! Lizzie

Judy said...

Beautiful! What a wonderful tribute to your mother.

Hugs! Judy