You know how, every now and again, someone will ask you, "If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would you choose?"
Well, I would choose my Mom.
And I would do all the cooking.
It would be a multi-course meal...really, really long! With several desserts.
It has been just over 16 years since Mom passed away. She was 59.
Despite the fact that we kids were 'all grown up', it was a monumental loss for all of us. It was as though we were suddenly without an anchor, bobbing around and bumping into things.
I suspect my mother never imagined how much she would be missed by her adult kids. But I do know that she was well aware of the toll it would take on Dad. In many ways, I felt he died along with her that day; he was a lost soul.
Thankfully, he managed to find his way back after a little bit. He was never the same though, but that is okay because, in every way that mattered, he was even better.
Mom was the glue that kept everything together. Dirt and feathers included! And, like most families, there was a lot to keep together. Lots of dirt and lots of feathers.
Like countless women of her generation, sacrifice was a concept she was quite familiar with. As well as the concept of family.
For several years, she was the caregiver for her eight younger siblings, after her Dad died and her Mom became ill. Then she got married and had her own children in quick succession; final count was five and she was 27.
She sewed and knit all kinds of clothes for us over the years. She cooked and baked everything; going to restaurants just didn't happen. With one exception: The Candlelight and Wine. Once. In 1977. All seven of us. Woo hoo!
Mom was strong, kind, and very private. And she was full of grace; perhaps her defining feature.
She was also a 'mamma bear' in every sense; very protective of her kids. When we finally had to say good-bye to her, in her typical style, she made it easier than it really was. Her last gift really.
If I had the chance to make dinner for her, the star of the meal would be a cream-based pasta. Some kind of Alfredo with chicken. Her favourite. Made entirely from scratch. There would be several pastries and some cakes for dessert, including a Swedish Tea Ring and a cheesecake. And lots of blueberries. Oh...and wine. Lots of wine!
And I suspect there would be lots of laughs to go along with all that food.
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