Greetings! Here's hoping you are having a gorgeous Mother's Day weekend!
My mother, Lucinda Vreeland Hehl, posing by her paintings at the Wyandotte Street Fair, Circa 1970s.
No doubt always a bittersweet day for me. Having said goodbye to the centerpiece of my world at the ripe age of 22, the road has definitely had its struggles, tears, questions and pain (palpable at times) vs. the joy and light my children bring to me today and everyday. I try to focus on the positive. No pity parties Jen but truth be told its a roller coaster weekend of emotions.
"Everything I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother"-Abe Lincoln.
I'm so very grateful for my 22 years with Mom. She was a stand out, dynamite Mother. The time we had together in this life was remarkable. I remind myself how much she's in me, gave me, taught me. It gets me over the hump most days. I do things to honor her, celebrate her, like naming this blog after her. I know she's very proud but not the least bit surprised. She was always my biggest fan (like most mothers) and instilled in me the confidence to go, do great things, be wonderful...
Mom I don't have the grades for Michigan State. Oh yes you do.
Mom we can't afford for me to study abroad this summer. Oh yes we can.
Mom I wish I was rich so I could afford better suits for television. Oh Jennifer rich people have no creativity. Make your own suits.
Whenever I felt like a failure in my young life she'd remind me my time is yet to come - get back out there. I'll never forget the time I nailed my first live shot as a television news reporter. Returning to the newsroom I was suddenly slammed with an overwhelming urge to cry and excused myself to the dressing room where I bawled knowing how proud she must have been that day.
Just when I start to feel a pity party coming on my son gives me this with a big hug and saves me.
Every day since I try to live a life proud for her. I picture her in heaven making waves, pulling favors, asking God to please let this work for my family. When they called for freezing rain on my outdoor wedding day and the sun shined and a full moon glistened over Torch Lake, I thought that's Mom! I knew she'd come through for me!
Mike, Katie, Karen and I. My soul sisters. xo
I could write volumes on her life. It wasn't an easy road for her. She endured a lot of pain but yet still had the capacity to love her children and husband. She left this life knowing we'd survive, carry on and yes, thrive. In her last hours as she slipped in and out of consciousness we'd hear her mumble things about Jennifer handling the Christmas tree, Jimmy doing this, Jackie doing that...being a Mom and making one last mental check list that the four of us would be fine without her. It was an unexplainable sad time. My mother was everything to me and I suddenly felt like a stranger in my own family. Numb. Surreal.
One of my favorite pics of Mom and her mad style and cake-baking abilities. PBR baby.
I couldn't help but think how sad we must look to the doctors and staff as we made our final exit together down the hospital hallway with her belongings and the cloths she had packed to "wear home" from the hospital. I drove back with my sister staring out at the faces of the cars passing by thinking these people have no idea I just said goodbye to my Mother forever. And it hit me. Maybe they did too? What pain were they enduring? It forever taught me to not pass judgement on others, the angry customer in line, the rude salesperson. I have no idea what their journey has been.
Image via Pinterest
I'll end now and share with you my plans to honor Mom and my Mother-in-law Jan, my children's angel Grandmothers this weekend. I'm going to plant some shasta daisies (Mom's favorite). She made my sister and I wear a ring of them in our hair for our First Communion instead of the traditional veil.
"Why do I have to look different Mom?!"
I screamed to no avail but fully appreciate today. And eat burgers on my fine china because that's what Jan would do. Please read the lovely poem my Husband wrote about her below. The man can write. Between both our Mother's I have a huge act to follow. I'm so grateful for their inspiration and real life examples of love and sacrifice.
Mom made the dress I'm wearing here and made sure my shoes were polished bright white for the big day.
And lastly, to honor myself and my efforts on this wild ride of motherhood, I'm planting a new peony bush (my favorite). Planting a bush or tree is such a wonderful way to leave your mark on this world. I absolutely DIG IT (no pun intended) when my friends call from home to tell me that Mom's pink Dogwood or her big pink tulips are in full bloom and looking beautiful. The fact that the three hosta's she planted in our yard twenty years ago have been divided and shared with everyone all over town makes me smile. Her love is everlasting.
"Light up, light up. As if you have a choice. Even if you cannot hear my voice. I'll be right beside you dear..."
- Snow Patrol "Run"
I'll end now and raise my glass to you and all the Mother's that have made us what we are today. I was really not intending to "go there" with this post but feel strongly we can all take something away from it, as painful a topic it may be. I'm happy to take one for the team. So take it from me friends...life is short...get out there and live it with gusto!
Many blessings to you and yours,
A Poem For Mom
As a child I felt just how loved I was
Mother gave us her soul, just because
Her angelic touch, my first memory
Unparalleled warmth, it's never left me
An enchanted childhood for her kids
Our growth the purpose in all she did
Always teaching, opening our minds
Five bucks if you guessed - "Hibiscus Vine"
Birthdays with streamers, picnics in the park
Halloween pirates out into the dark
Easter egg baskets, tucked gently away
Heart shaped chocolates each Valentine's Day
Carting us around to all of our games
Football or hoop, to Mom it's all the same
Patiently watching, never knowing the score
Sports commentary etched in family lore
Blessed as a cook, fine scents filling the air
Even Mom's burgers had artistic flair
Popcorn crackling in the still of the night
Alaskan sugar pancakes - tasting just right
Instincts at play recipes tracked loosely
Hallowed traditions, good ole' Mrs. Trusie
Gorgeous presentations, half-of-the-fun
A glassware collection for the Smithsonian
So many friends and never enough time
Afternoon lunches with a glass of wine
Quite a fun bunch, always giggling and merry
Closest to Mom, her soul-sister Sherry
The "view" her passion, especially Torch
One with the lake, she'll gaze from the porch
Her dream to awake waves crashing below
Together they built it, meant to be so
Art her escape, it pours through her veins
Attire elegant, yet "fun" at the reins
Flowers an obsession, musicals galore
My Fair Lady, where my Father would snore
Home decor, intertwining style and zeal
Visions realized, natural taste and feel
Our home was marvelous, they came just to see
Hitching Post her gem, Gramps built the chimney
Sponsoring Hmong and Vietnamese
Time to the homeless, conversing with ease
When you add it all - always giving
Makes her happy - a reason worth living
Instilling values, her mission in life
True to her word as a Mother and Wife
God above all else, she taught the right way
Facing life's temptations, what would Mom say?
As I sit in the park, watching my son
Blond wavy hair, his shoelaces undone
I hear him yell "Dada", as if right on queue
Thinking of Mom, what a wonderful "view"
- Michael Schoenberger 2004