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I Am My Mother

Growing up in the '60s and 70's in the Illinois suburb of North Chicago, I was fortunate to be part of a fantastic loving home with two tenacious parents and four amazing sisters. The ups and downs of everyday life, the challenges of a Vietnam-era society, and the life changes that I faced as a young teen made me realize the importance of family members. And the close relationships I will have as an adult child while staying in touch with extended family, my cousins, which includes them as parents and their children.

Holiday traditions were a keystone that helped our family remain connected. The wide variety of rules around Easter and Christmas were particularly significant. At Christmas, we looked forward to St. Nicholas day, December 6th, where we left our shoes near the front door and awoke to find money in them in the morning. At Christmas dinner, we said a traditional Polish prayer and passed the Oplatek wafer, starting with our father, then on to our Mother, followed by my sisters and me. Each person would break off a small piece and pass it on with offers for peace and prosperity. At Easter, we observed the tradition of the blessing of the Easter food. We would go to church on Holy Saturday, where the priest would bless our basket of food. In that basket, never absent is the cherished Lamb Cake. Made of a firm pound cake and frosted white with a coconut coat is the confectionery treat awaiting those with a sweet tooth. These traditions, along with many more, have been passed on to my daughters while growing up, and it warms my heart that they have said that they want to continue them with their families when they someday have children. As a future Grandmother/Grandma/Bushi/Nana, I have promised to encourage the passing of the traditions on to my grandchildren.

 

 

I fully realize and accept that I am a carbon copy of my mom, especially when dealing with "the grandkids." People said that my mom was not much of a cook, which was extremely accurate, which is part of the similarity between her and me. However, when it came time to feed the kiddos, she became a MasterChef, of junk food, that is. To that end, I, too, will strive to remember as the best grandmother ever by gorging them with jello-gigglers, feeding them cheese puffs and s'mores cereal 'til their heart's content. We will make seven-layer bars and sugar cookies.

 

 

Perhaps my Mother was not the Julia Childs of North Chicago, but she did have many great talents and abilities. Luckily for me, she bestowed many of those characteristics on me. Like my mom, I, too, will be determined to convince the kiddos to save the money I give them on their birthdays and holidays. My girls now appreciate this and think fondly of my mom, their grandmother, because of it. My mother, my role model.

Another big must-do is Thank you notes to all people giving gifts to them. My mom was never happy if a letter was not sent out ASAP. Essential was the prerequisite to saying "Dear" Aunt so and so. Probably not a requirement that I will mandate upon my grandchildren. But, you never know, as I said, I am a carbon copy of mom. Are you your Mother?

 

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