Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ma and Me; Side by Side.

Every year, a few days before my birthday, I reflect.  I reflect on the usual things one thinks about upon turning over another number; where I am.  Where I was.  Where I may go next.  I then start thinking a lot about my mother.  Of course, I miss her terribly.  She made my birthdays so very special.  Being a Valentine Baby, she made sure my special days were pink, red, deliciously sweet, and filled with stories of my dramatic entrance into the world.   The day would end with the two of us, sitting on my heart-bedecked pink bed, sucking on spicy red-hots, and talking about that day.  Oh, how she loved her red-hots.  And Charms Sours pops... that's another blog.  What I would give to have her over, with a bag of red-hots and just talk...  moving on... 

While I pine for her, I am now able to think about those days gone by, and I can smile.  I have given up my nineteen year quest of trying to make the icing for my heart-shaped birthday cake the way she did.  I've tried.  Many times.  I know the recipe... somewhat.  It's that 'somewhat' that kills me.  It's that 'somewhat' that makes it uniquely hers.  I know it will never be found.  I'm cool with that, though; as much as I would love to smell and taste that unique flavor once again, to know that it was her 'Momma Magic' that made it truly her own, makes it okay.  I can't lie, though;  I have seen many a pink-iced cake,  and I have to say that right before I get my first taste of the icing (no, not frosting... ew), I wonder;  'What if this is the icing...' and every single time, I am happily disappointed.  Another recipe I failed to write down.  My quick bit of advice for you:  If you are blessed enough to still have your folks around, go to their house and plan to spend a weekend going through their recipe box. Copy/write ALL of them down;  even ones you don't think you'll want because believe me, someday you WILL.

I am two days shy of my 45th birthday.  Cool.  Very. I embrace 45.   I'm not one of those that have stopped counting at 29. Life is a gift from God. I'm sure it kind of peeves him a bit... again, another blog.  I have been thinking of Ma and what she was doing when she was 45.  Let's see; she was a homemaker.  She had a four-year old child.  Whoa.  I can't even begin to imagine my life if I had a four-year old right now.  Not that I am knocking 45 year old moms of four-year-olds!  I just don't know how I'd manage.  With my health the way it is, it'd be so hard!  Even if I had only one child, I just don't know how we'd manage!  My kids are nineteen and fifteen;  they can not only pretty much take care of themselves, but have been a great help to me while I have recovered from numerous surgeries.  Recovering from hysterectomy and hernia surgeries... with a preschooler... Whoa.

Still, Ma did it and though she was much healthier than I, it wasn't easy for her.  My existence was a big surprise for my parents.  Carrying me took its toll on her.  Back in 1966, a C-Section was MAJOR major surgery.  She was of advanced maternal age... being one month shy of her own 41st birthday when I made my appearance.  She told me it took her many months to recover.  She even showed me her scar, once;  I was shocked.  Even more so, now because I too had a C-section for my first-born.  I think my scar is maybe 4 inches across... five little staples.  Ma's was from sternum to ...well it was long.  Too bad she's not here, now... we could compare scars.  They'd match.  Sad but true.

Raising me was not easy for her.  I don't think she ever truly recovered from the birth.  Still, nobody worked harder, except my father.  I was not an easy kid to raise.  Curious about everything, I was her shadow, but to a point. Being an 'Only,' I was with her all the time. Still, I was able to entertain myself.  She could do her housework and knew that I was happily engrossed in coloring, or playing with my Colorforms. I think that was a major factor in how she coped; while I was with her, I was also not constantly tugging at her.  She, from the beginning, raised me so that I could entertain myself.  She could have that phone conversation without a kid whining and tugging at her the moment she finished dialing.  She did not believe in having a baby on the hip all day. I could still be a handful, though and yet I never heard her complain.   Okay I lie;  she did when it came time to untangle my waist-length hair twice a week.  Dad would leave the apartment.  Poor Ma.  She never yanked or yelled.  It took what seemed like hours.  She was ready for happy hour by the time my hair was in tangle-free, slick Dipity Do braids.

I then start thinking crazy stuff; what if Ma had two teenage sons when she was 45?  Yeah, that one blows me away.  Most of the time, I can't even get past the idea that it could have happened.  In a way, it nearly did.  Having tried for so many years to conceive, they tried adoption, only to have a son taken away just days before he would join the family -- all because the adoption agency would not let a mother with high blood pressure adopt.  If only ... I would have a brother... Sorry... mind is wandering yet again.  I'm sure she would have been a great mother to two sons, or three daughters or whoever happened to ... arrive.  It's just neat to go there... to think about 'what if'.'

So yeah; I’m 45 -- well just shy --  and have two teenage sons, and I have tried to raise them as she raised me.  When she was 45, she had a four-year old daughter.    Makes me wish I had thanked her a bit more than I had.  Funny, I used to get so angry when folks would say, 'Oh, what a lovely little girl; how old is your granddaughter?' to my mom.  I would get so embarrassed.  Mom would simply smile.  "Well, she is lovely, isn't she?  She is my daughter."  I think she liked shocking people.  She did have a wicked streak in her.  A very wicked streak.  God, I miss her.

Well, Darlings, I'm off.  A few errands to run... first on the list:  red hots.

Happy St. Valentine's Day!


PS... Go call your mother.


  1. Dear Pramps,
    What a wonderful post and tribute to your amazing Momma. She was so incredible and she loved you so so much.

    God I love your are truly gifted. I laughed at the concept that I am 63 and the "mother" of a four and seven year old. It is truly not easy and I can appreciate your mother and her love and tenderness even more from my new perspective.

    Keep on writing, dear one, you enlighten all of us and brighten my day every time I read something you have created.


    Cuz Karen

  2. My Dear Karen,

    Thank you. What can I say? I love you. There. How's that? Seriously? You are so dear to me and I thank you for your sweet comments. If anyone understands my Ma, it's you. She adored you, you know. ♥

  3. Dear Lil' Cuz,

    What an amazing and heartfelt story.

    When I read your writings I get all caught up in the moment. As Cuz Karen said you are truly a "GIFTED" writer.

    I love how you explain in detail all the things you and your Mother shared and the times of shear bliss that you loved.

    Being a only child probably had it's challenges growing up. I think your Mother & Father probably knew how difficult at times it would be.

    That being said, that inspired them to shower you with more than enough LOVE that would get you through life.

    By doing that they challenged you to be a strong little girl. Taught you how to be independent yet knowing that they would always be there for you to support you in all you did.

    Having a child at a older age probably was difficult for them, but you were a baby conceived from Love

    Your parents wanted a baby so badly.You were their MIRACLE baby sent from heaven.

    How lucky to have grown up with two parents who adored you every day of there lives.

    As you said,some days could be difficult, but you all came through with stronger bonds to each other.

    Through your writing I can detect an immense sense of sadness. Only because you miss them so much.

    The writing is pure respect for your Mother who gave you so much!

    Your parents raised a strong independent little girl who grew into a strong and amazing independent woman with a wonderful family of your own.

    So on 2-14-2011 Little Chica girl, SMILE, SMILE and SMILE for you are the daughter of " Delores & Frank Gambino".

    Happy Birthday Lil" Cuz and Happy Valentines Day.

    Love Cuz Fran


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