This is something new for me, so I thought I'd write a special Mother's Day edition in honor of a few of the special women in my life.
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My Mom is a really busy lady. She always has been. I can remember growing up feeling like I should make an appointment to talk with her. It wasn't just that she was away at work, she was always busy at home doing some project or other. As I've gotten older, I realize that the strong work ethic she showed me has trickled down. Besides her always being willing to do a project for people, her creativity is amazing. Whether it's a quilt or costume or wedding dress, if it can be sewn, Mom can make it. It is because of her gifting and talents that I feel competent at a sewing machine. Thanks Mom, for all you have done and continue to do for so many people! I love you lots!!
From the time I was tiny, I remember my Grandma Aziz having a great dressing room complete with a huge collection of shoes and jewelry. It was a dream-making place for a little girl enamored with such things. Since she owned a business before becoming an executive secretary at TRW as well as living pretty far from our house, when we did spend time with her and Grandpa, it always seemed special. Part of this would be her taking my sister and I shopping and to lunch. I was always ready to find something to buy while Dawn a lot of times couldn't make up her mind. There were more than a few times that we ended up with a few items each, especially if they were on sale as Grandma loved a bargain. Even though Grandma is no longer with us, her love of finding a great deal is something that has passed on to not only my sister and me, but our kids as well. I miss you Grandma & love you!
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My kids called her Grandma Frances, but growing up I called her Grandma Pitalo. She was the one who, along with Grandpa Pitalo, babysat my sister and me sometimes after school and then during our summer breaks. They also came with our family on more than one vacation. She was a very strong Catholic woman who prayed her rosary everyday for her family. She was a consummate homemaker and terrific cook. My 21st birthday gift from her was a notebook of all of her recipes- all handwritten. When we moved to Oregon, Brian and I inherited her dresser. Since our coming to the Catholic Church, I was able to get her statues of our Blessed Mother to place on top just as they had been for so many years. Even though she isn't here with us, I feel closer than ever because of our common faith. Thanks for always praying for us, Grandma. I love you!
Mary Aziz was always known to most of her family as Nana. She was my great-grandma; my Grandpa Aziz' mother. Born in Germany, she immigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century as part of an arranged marriage. Upon her arrival, she met another man who would eventually become her husband and my great-grandfather, Abraham Aziz. They moved to California in the 1940's where Nana had a restaurant in Hollywood. She was a chef, fashion designer, seamstress, milliner, singer and more, along with raising 5 children. I didn't get to see Nana very much growing up except most Christmas nights, when she and great-grandpa would host a family open house. They moved to Oregon in the late 1970's along with my great Aunt Vi and her husband, Uncle Joseph. After Uncle Joe and Great-Grandpa Aziz died, Nana and Aunt Vi lived in a house together as part of what we liked to call "the family compound" since there were four houses with a common backyard. It was here that I got to know my Nana and see just what a fantastic lady she was. She was always so complementary of my cooking and told me once to "always keep cooking because you do it so well", in her beautiful German accent. Her encouragement one of the reasons why I love to cook, and I am blessed to own quite a few of her cookbooks. Nana was also a strong Catholic, and I am so grateful to own and use her rosary. Her legacy also lives on as Cari is in the choir at St. Joseph's, where Nana was not only a parishoner but a member of the choir. I hope I can pass on your love of Jesus and of cooking to my kids and future grandkids. I love you, Nana!
My best friend in fourth through seventh grade was Tracy Bemis. I really liked Tracy, but I think sometimes I wanted her to be my friend because of how cool her mom, Rita, was. She is the kind of lady who can talk with just about anyone and make them comfortable. I don't remember many times being over at the Bemis' house when their kitchen wasn't full of people. Even though Tracy and I didn't stay "besties", we always remained friends. She and I were the only girls in our graduating class to go out of state for college. It was a very dark day the fall of 1983 when I received a phone call from my mom telling me that Tracy had been killed in a car accident the day before. She and some friends had been driving back to their college when they were hit by a drunk driver. I remember going home for Christmas and wanting to talk with "Mrs. B" to tell her sorry I was, but I also was struggling with the fact that it was Tracy and not me which made me nervous to talk to her. After being home a week or so, I went over to talk. Not being sure how I would be received, imagine my surprise and joy of Rita opening the door and immediately enveloping me in a big hug. It was also then she told me to start calling her Rita instead of Mrs. Bemis. That took a while, but I think after this long, I've finally started feeling old enough to call her by her first name. She is still doing a bunch of cool stuff, and I am pretty sure talking with anyone who needs it. Thanks for being that second mom to me,
Mrs. Bemis Rita. I love you!
Wife, Mom, Librarian, Band Booster President, Scrapbooker, Cook- these are all words to describe my sister, Dawn. It was always a bit annoying growing up since she's two years younger than me with our birthdays being only 3 days apart. I remember having her visit me while I was at college in Denver and having a bunch of the guys ask about her. I thought it was pretty funny when I had to burst their bubble as I told them she was only 16. Dawn excelled at so many things in high school, tall flag, student council & drama plus she was Grand Representative to Hawaii when we were in Rainbow Girls. Even though I got married first, she and Jeff were able to have a baby before Brian and me. This brought a little bit of (one-sided) envy on my part, until I saw niece Jennifer for the first time. I also knew Dawn wasn't that great of a cook when she was first married, so that gave me a little consolation. I must say, however, that my sister has grown into a loving, beautiful, successful, and all out impressive woman. She (with help from husband Jeff) raised five gorgeous girls. She does all kinds of volunteer work as well as her job as a middle school librarian. Most of all, she is just totally fun to be around. Dawn, thanks for showing me what it takes to be a tremendous wife and mom. I love you!
The last of today's seven quick takes has two different aspects to it than any of the others. 1) There are two of them, and 2) They aren't moms yet. If you haven't figured it out yet, I am talking about my daughters, Carissima and Mary. I know I've written before about what awesome young ladies they are, but I must thank them for they are a big part of why I have been able to do an okay part of this mothering thing. I know they both want to be wives and moms someday, so here are a few things that they have taught me:
-Be sure to let your children know at a young age that you are not perfect. This way they don't find out for themselves first.
-Pick your fights, especially as they get older. Hair color, nose piercings, freaky foods/drinks are not something that someone is going to lose eternity over.
-Keep a sense of humor. It's so much fun to laugh with your kids & it doesn't hurt for them to laugh at you once in a while.
-Hug them as much as they want. This way when they move out & come back to visit they'll still want to hug you.
-Try to say as much as you can. It's going to be okay if they want to make a fort on the porch or make up their own language or go to the store wearing a cape and cowboy boots.
-PRAY always, without ceasing, with and without your kids!!!!
Girls, I know you will make the best moms ever someday. I am just thankful I'm yours!
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