Showing posts with label mothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mothers. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Mother's Love

As Mother's Day approaches, I am thinking of my mother more than usual.

My mother was born in 1908.


She graduated from high school in 1926.

I was born in 1948.


 My mother died in 1999 at the age of 91.



After her death, when going through her things, I found this:

She had kept this for over 50 years.

That is a mother's love.

That lock of hair kept for over 50 years symbolized and reminded me of all of the loving things my mother did for me and the sacrifices she made as I grew.

So I have kept it, too, as a reminder of my mother and a mother's love.


Happy Mother's Day
to all of you loving mothers and those who came before you.
Your sons and daughters
appreciate you.

Now call your Mom!



See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"Ex Machina"
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Daughter: A Mother Celebrates Her Daughter's Birthday

Today is my daughter's birthday.  She is 35 years old.

As I said when I wrote about my son on his birthday, "I look at birthdays as a good time for memories, because when your children are adults and they live far away, your memories are mostly what you have."

"These are mine."

When our daughter entered the family, Hubby and I were newly married (nine months exactly), and I already had a son from a previous marriage. 
(If you want to get caught up, see my blog post "My Son)."

Unlike my son who arrived right on time (I worked the day he was born), my daughter was two weeks late, so I was able to take some time off before she was born. When the time finally came, once again it was a long labor. I decided then and there, I wasn't very good at this giving birth thing and I wasn't going to do it anymore.

When she was born, she settled nicely into the family. 

As with my son, I was able to spend two months with her before having to head back to work as a librarian. Two whole months!  Geez.  Barely figured out how to breast feed by then. In those days, not many allowances were made for women who chose to have children.  I liked my career, but because of money issues it never really occurred to me that I could stay home. 

As she began to talk, one of our favorite, though embarrassing memories was her inability to articulate hard consonants.  T's would sound like "F's."  She would see a truck and yell "F--," well, you get it.

Where our son was a more quiet, introspective child, our daughter was already gregarious and funny.  Our son would go to the park and hang back from groups of kids until he had figured out the best way to interact.  But our daughter would not only barge in head first, but would soon be calling the shots.  "I'll be the engineer of this train, you can be the conductor.  And do you want to be my best friend?"

She also always had a mind of her own.  When I took her to get her picture taken, she wanted to wear a little plastic bracelet someone had given her.  I said no and off we went to the photo studio. 

Look at her wrist in this picture!

I loved my son dearly, but he was all boy in his interests - sports, sports and more sports.  I was happy to have a little girl to spoil and dress and shop and watch musical comedies with.  She also could sing and developed an interest in acting, something I had enjoyed.  At the age of seven, she played Molly, the littlest orphan, in a professional production of "Annie" and went on to star in all of the school musicals, many local professional productions and college plays ("West Side Story," "Little Shop of Horrors," "Sound of Music," Into the Woods").

She was funny, original and unselfconscious. 

She was smart and did well in school.  She was a kind girl who enjoyed her family.  We played games on Family Night, enjoyed fine dining, shopped and traveled.  There were no drugs or alcohol incidents.  She got involved with a boy too early for our liking and suffered from body image issues as many teenage girls do, but all in all, she was happy, successful and made us proud.

One summer during middle school she cried to me that she thought she didn't like how she looked and felt terrible that she had braces and wore glasses.  I tried to tell her she was beautiful and one day the braces and glasses would be gone and she would look like this one day.

And then it just went so fast from there.

After middle school, where she graduated with honors, she graduated from high school with honors and went on to Stanford University.

After college, she worked in publishing in San Francisco before meeting her husband to be. They were married in our garden before she was whisked off to the East Coast where her husband was completing his Ph.d.

She is a singer/songwriter and sang with her Dad in his bands over the years.

And like her Mom, she's a librarian! 

She graduated with a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Washington and is now a Web Systems Librarian at a university on the East Coast (she is smarter than her mother - I felt happy when I learned to cut and paste on the computer)!

Two generations of librarians. 

Mother and daughter.

Old generation librarian. 

New generation librarian.
(I wrote about this "passing of the baton" on a blog post).

Someone said the mother daughter relationship is the most complex of relationships.  No one is willing to own up to saying that, because it's credited to "Anonymous." That could be a true statement, but no mother is thinking that the day her little baby girl is born. And no mother is thinking about the baggage she herself brings to the show. All you are thinking about is how you can't wait to share with her everything you have learned. 

As a mother, you want to see your daughter go off in life and succeed and be her own woman.  But you also wish she would take with her some of what you shared with her, such as what you value, a love of movie musicals, how to dry wine glasses or whatever it may be. You wish she would call every day and ask your advice.  And if she doesn't do that, you wonder what happened.  Could it possibly be that she doesn't want to be you, her mother?

Yes, she wants to be herself.  And when she finds who that is, she will find you again one day.

But as her mother, whether she likes it or not, she will always be your baby girl.

Happy Birthday, my baby girl!

A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
Dorothy C. Fisher, quoted in O Magazine, May 2003
Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.”
Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What My Mother Told Me: A Mother's Day Tribute From Her Baby Boomer Daughter


I have spent a lot of Mother's Days alone with Hubby, since I live far from my children.  Likewise, my mother spent many a Mother's Day by herself because her children did not live nearby.
Isn't it strange, the older we get, the better our parents seem?  Wasn't it Mark Twain who said "My father was an amazing man.  The older I got, the smarter he got."
The irony is that now that I am in the latter part of my life, I sure wish my parents were still here.

I can't make it up to my mother now for all of those Mother's Days she spent without her children, but I can spend some time thinking about her, which I do every day.

And when I think of her, I can't help but be reminded of her whole repertoire of sayings that I certainly didn't appreciate at the time, but upon reflection, she knew what she was talking about.

"Stand up straight!"

She had probably just said that as I went off to the first day of school junior year.  Or I might have this expression because my Dad is taking my picture once again on the first day of school (we did this on every first day of school...thanks, Dad)

We lived about two blocks from the high school and she would yell "Stand up straight, Rosellen!" as I slouched off to school.  How humiliating.

"Smile, Rosellen."

Telling me to stand up straight was usually said in tandem with "Smile, Rosellen," which could also explain my expression in said picture. I hated her saying that to me, so that would then lead me to sigh and her to say, "Stop sighing." I hated her saying that too. At the time, I was certain I knew way more than she did, and if she would only recognize that fact, we would get along much better.

However, I have since learned that my Mother was right.  If you stand up straight and suck in your gut, you will look at least five pounds thinner, and I see now, of course, that I look much better when I smile.  The sighing part is still something I need to work on. 

But what is with that awful haircut in that picture? You can tell my Dad cut my bangs. 

"Don't borrow trouble."

This was her 1950's equivalent of "Don't worry, be happy."  Not a lot of talk about worries or feelings in my family.

But trying to stay positive is probably good advice.

"Only crazy people talk to themselves."

I think this was something she said when she was talking to herself.

"Don't worry about me.  You worry about yourself."

I can remember her saying this specifically as I dragged her up a particularly steep hill in San Francisco, where I lived right after graduating from college.  She would have been 62 at the time. 

"How are you doing, Mom? You OK back there?" I asked as I walked way ahead of her, leaving her in the dust, as I usually did, to which she replied, "You don't worry about me, you worry about yourself."

She prided herself in being able to keep up.  But she disliked it that I walked way ahead of her.  I don't really like it either when my kids do it.

However, I have since adopted her retort.

"Get your hair out of your face." 

It being the 60's and all, of course I had to have long hair.  She hated long hair, especially on brides and when wearing formal attire.  If I wanted that prom dress, I had to put the hair up.  If she had had her way, I would have been wearing my hair like this all of the time.

Do you know how many hours sitting in a salon, hair pins and ratting that went into getting my hair up like that?

"Watch him like a hawk!"

When I had my son, she said that all of the time.  I think it had something to do with her own mother telling her a child could drown in a bucket of water.  I never quite understood that story or her mother telling her such a thing, but in general my mother was a worrier.

Then it became "Watch her like a hawk!"

But again, good advice when you have little children running around.

And I did.  I was a Mama Hawk.

"You get what you pay for."

Both of my parents believed in this mantra.  They were middle class folks, but they always bought the best.  Whether it was a piece of furniture, a hat, clothes, they always went for quality. That's where my expensive taste comes from.  Sorry, Hubby.

I know, politically incorrect animal fur and bird feathers, but you get the idea.


"It's made of all good things...sugar, flour, butter..."

When I would ask my mother what was in something, she would outline the ingredients because she knew.  She made everything from scratch.  TV dinners were considered a real treat in my family because we ate frozen food so rarely.  TV dinners were new-fangled.

Sugar, flour, butter, those things were not politically incorrect in my mother's day, probably because those things were not so easy to get during the depression and the war.  And I would guess, they didn't contain as many strange ingredients as foods do today, though I must say, I used to eat an awful lot of maraschino cherries in that lovely (now banned) red dye.

"There is a reason rich people are rich.  They are tight with their money and save their pennies.  That's why they are rich."

Probably true.

But as I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, there is a saying that those who are tight with money are often tight with their love. 

There was a lot of love in my family.

 "If you read, you will never be lonely."

My mother wasn't what I would call a sophisticated reader, but she was a reader.  Her reading habits leaned more toward  "Book of the Month Club" and the "Reader's Digest Condensed Books."

I remember my mother taking me to the great big library in our town for the story times, and I had a library card from a young age. 

 I'm the one in the middle in the white dress. 

(Remember when articles about children going to the library was newsworthy enough to make the newspaper?  Me neither).

The Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, Michigan is an imposing three story structure built in 1888 with funds from Charles Hackley, a lumber baron.  He gave so much money to the town that we celebrated Hackley Day where we only had to go to school for a half day to hear about how great he was.

The library was recently part of a "Most Beautiful Library" contest.

I spent many nights in that library and sitting under those stained glass windows.

My mother was a child of Swedish immigrants and the only one in her large family to finish high school.  She valued education highly and taking me to the library probably planted the seed that would give me and her granddaughter our most challenging and rewarding careers as librarians.

So, Mom, you might not have thought I heard what you told me all those years ago when I was growing up, but I did.

And I hear you still.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, wherever you are,
and to all you Moms out there!

What are your memories
growing up with your Mom? 

See you Friday for

"Must-See Musical Biopics"

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it, email it to your friends and
LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Mother Daughter Connection: A Long Distance Birthday Wish from a Baby Boomer Mother

Experts say that the mother daughter bond is one of the most intense relationships a woman experiences.

But even though we may have experienced that intensity - regret, disappointment and sorrow, even - with our mothers, that fact is the furthest thing from our minds when our own daughters come into the world.

29 Years Ago

We are going to be different from our mothers.

Today is my daughter's 29th birthday, and though we live far apart and I can't celebrate it with her in person, I plan to celebrate it by remembering happy moments over the years.

First steps

Ever the gifted comedienne

And dramatic actress.

Always a fashion plate!
She knew early she would be a Stanford graduate!


Stanford achieved!

And she sings too!
New Life


New Career

Happy 29th Birthday to my daughter!

No matter what our relationship with our own mother was like, we were sure we would never make the same mistakes our mother made.

For those of us born in the baby boomer years, especially those of us who had our children late in life, the generation gap between our mothers and us was particularly great.  Our mothers couldn't have predicted the Beatles, the Women's Movement, the political protests or the sexual revolution.

So of course, it was going to be different for us.

What we didn't realize was we would make our own mistakes.

And so we did.  And so it will go.

My own mother did the best she could with what she had to work with.  She was not forthcoming with her feelings, so I was never sure how she felt about how I had turned out or what I did.  But I never doubted that she loved and cared about me. 

Despite the years, the experiences, the mistakes and the miles, I was inextricably connected to my mother.

When she died, I found a tattered little letter I had written to her as a very young child. 

It was printed carefully on lined paper and it read: 

to Mother
   come and see me.
   know one loves me
   the way they youst
     to love me.
       I think your the
          one who love
            me the most.
              But if you
            do't love me just
              say so.
                But I Love


And then in case she didn't know who it was from, I printed out my full name.

She had kept it for almost 50 years.

Time has erased what led me to write that letter to her, but time has not erased that little girl who wrote it or the mother she wrote it to - "the one who love me the most."

And we mothers are the ones who love the most!

See you Friday

for the

"Ten Best Films No One Ever Saw"


The Week in Reviews.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on Facebook or your favorite social media site and/or email it to your friends.