Sunday, May 12, 2013

Italian American Mother Series - A Daughter's Letter to Her Mother.....


Happy Mother’s Day mom, as you celebrate 59 years of mothering and 37 years of grand-mothering. These are the raw numbers of age, but they don’t reflect the memories, stories, lessons, and wisdom that come to us with the fullness of a life lived with intensity, insight, love, and faith.



Mothers are angels sent from God. They are like snowflakes; each one is different and unique in their own way. Not until I had my son did I realize the sacrifices mother’s make. Madeline, my mom is the heart of our home. She is the one that gets everyone together for birthdays and holidays. She loves to cook meals for the family. Everyone in the family can attest to her strength, her honesty, and her warmth. My mom embodies what a mother should be and shares her wisdom with everyone she meets. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, spending time with my dad, family, and friends. I have so many memories of my childhood with my mom, but these thoughts are a special way to wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day!!!

One of my mother’s favorite hobbies is reading books. So mom, here is one of the best books you have ever read. Each of us has entered my mother’s book in a different chapter—some long ago, some more recently—but we are, nevertheless, all part of a story that began in Brooklyn, NY and to the present in St. James, Long Island where she and my dad resides.

My mom was a teacher by profession and as they say chief, cook, and bottle washer. She did it all. Took care of three children, ran a home, worked, and there was always a hot meal on the table at night for dinner. On Sundays, church was always the top priority as the whole family would go to Mass together. Sunday was not only for church but for family. We always had grandparents, friends, and relatives to share in our Sunday dinner. The table had to be set just so, with the proper placement of forks, spoons, and knives. A typical Italian Sunday meal was centered on pasta (macaroni or mac’s for short we would call it) and meatballs as a first dish and then came the entrée with all the trimmings. After every one was almost busting out of their clothes came the coffee, demitasse, (Italian black coffee) tea, fruit, nuts, figs, and all the decadent desserts. We of course do not eat like that anymore, thank goodness or we will have to be rolled out of the house. Things were different then. Both my parents are my heroes. They not only share their love of family and food but also their faith in God. No matter what life brings, they taught me to be strong and know that family and God are always there with love and support.


The end of this story is not yet written, so we will refrain from speculation, but suffice it to say that we will be eagerly awaiting the sequel on Mother’s Day next year. But as we reflect today upon the time we all have to give with our mother, however long or short, we are reminded that our connections with one another constitute our greatest blessing. To that end, let us celebrate times shared, advice given and sought, wisdom imparted, stories remembered, and the joy of life. Thank you mom, May there be many more chapters to come….

Love your daughter, Dottie :)

*Permission for photo by Dottie Balin
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