Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Edith, Caroline, and Linda Taught Me

Since it is Mother's Day season here in the US, I thought you wouldn't mind if I shared this tribute to the influential women in my life. :)



When I reflect on how I became the woman I am today, I think of the women who were most influential in my life. These women were there from the beginning, from my infancy through high school, marriage, and beyond. They demonstrated class and style to my sisters and me as they loved, lived, and overcame obstacles. 

Edith Pearl, my paternal grandmother, surrounded us with the kind of attention and love us girls relished. I remember fondly time spent at her home, when my sister, cousin, and I got to dress up in Grandma’s clothes and fancy shoes. She arranged our hair, bought us pretty dresses, and played Canasta with us. With her encouragement, we tried new and exotic foods. Imagine the giggles that ensued when she introduced us to the pu-pu tray at a Hawaiian restaurant. When she and Grandad traveled, they brought us gifts, among them pearls from Majorca (which I still have and wear). She gave us the gift of knowing we were treasured and special.

Caroline Alicia, my maternal grandmother, wasn’t afraid to try new things. A family member told her that she wasn’t smart enough to learn to sew. What did Caroline do? She took a class and became the best seamstress around. My sisters and I would spend part of summer vacation with Grandma and Grandpa. Though this city-fied girl wasn’t keen on weeding their gigantic garden, she did learn a few things about the value of hard work.  How much did groceries cost in the summer of ’73? I don’t recall, but I do remember Grandma’s ability to stretch a dollar and still make good meals. Time with Grandma also included games – Scrabble, Canasta, and her all time favorite, Rack-o. Even my children now think of her when the Rack-o game comes out. Caroline’s caring and can-do attitude lives on. I often pause and wonder how she would handle a situation – sewing, gardening, family, or otherwise.

After I had my three children I told my mother, Linda Rae, that I owed her a million dollars. I now take that back. There isn’t enough money on the planet to pay her back for all she did for us. In addition to the sacrifices she made for my sisters and me, she was the best cheerleader a girl could ever have. As a slightly chubby preteen, she dried my tears in the dressing room at the clothing store, telling me “You just have broad shoulders like your father.” She’d make every effort to find something flattering and suitable for the occasion. While she couldn’t instantly remedy my figure, Mom helped make me feel valued and pretty. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that it occurred to me that my shoulders might not be so broad. No matter, Mom’s sentiment still makes me smile. She cheered me on through marriage and motherhood lending savvy, not meddlesome advice.

These dear ladies each hold a special place in my heart. They taught me to nourish the inner beauty and let special qualities shine, to learn and push through challenges, and to cherish and love unconditionally. Their legacies live on through memories and the generations of strong women they left behind. I miss them all.

What women hold a special place in your heart?

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a great week,

Karen

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

23 comments :

  1. What a beautiful tribute to these wonderful women. Happy Mother's Day.

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  2. Such a beautiful tribute to some amazing woman. It is easy to see how they each touched your life and provided you with different lessons.

    My grandmother loved to paint and her creativity was something I enjoyed watching and learning from. I loved her gentle way and fast smile. I miss her dearly.

    My mom is someone who amazes me more each day. She continues to grow and change from the woman who raised me and she is definitely my number one cheerleader.

    Happy Mother's Day to you and all the moms out there. :)
    ~Jess

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  3. Hello Karen...

    A most Happy Mother's Day to you!

    You were most blessed to have known and been loved by both Grandmas as well as your Mom. That was a lovely remembrance of their influence in your life.

    Hope your day is very happy! Susan

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  4. Hi Karen! Welcome back!
    Your post is so touching. I love what you said about your Moms encouragement. And all the help she gave you too. Our Moms really go the extra mile, and love every step. What a dedication and commitment. It's for life!
    Happy Mothers Day to you my friend. I hope you will experience your family reminding you how wonderful you are :)
    Ceil

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  5. What a lovely tribute to the women in your life.

    Happy Mother's Day Karen!

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  6. It's amazing how many lives one person can touch. It sounds like you had a great family growing up!

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  7. This is an amazing tribute to these special women Karen! Sounds like you were and are incredibly blessed. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!!

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  8. Linda,
    Thank you! Hope you had a great weekend. :)

    Jess,
    Sounds like you had some wonderful influences in your life too! We have much to be thankful for. :)

    Susan,
    Never underestimate the power of a good mom and grandma! And now you get to be one too! I suspect you and your granddaughter will share such fun times. :)

    Ceil,
    Thank you so much. :) Your kind words made me smile. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. You are touching lives as well.

    Robin,
    Thank you! Hope your weekend was wonderful! :)

    Stephanie,
    It is, isn't it? And we never fully know who and how we reach others. :)

    Keith,
    I was, and still am, really. Thanks so much! Hope you had a great weekend! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  9. Enjoyed reading about these special women in your life--and I'm guessing you're passing on some of their beauty on to your own family :-) My grandmothers and my mom have a special place in my heart, too...

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  10. Hi Karen - what a lovely tribute to your three antecedents .. just beautiful. My mother was amazing having had a very difficult life ... and I'm so pleased we had those last few years together when she knew she was very appreciated. My parent's mothers died before I really knew them .. my mother's mother I spent some time with and remember the times and friends from those days in Cornwall .. my father's mother never really had a chance as she died when I was 9 .. and we were relatively far away ..

    Delightful post though .. and the closeness of family life shines through .. and I'm sure your children greatly appreciate you too .. cheers Hilary

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  11. Looks like you have some pretty special women you hold dearly.

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  12. I love this, Karen. This is probably some of the most personal writing I've read from you. Very touching. I like the inclusion of the middle names.

    Love this!

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  13. Kenda,
    I'm glad to hear the women in your family are special to you too. I think they can have a profound influence on us, you know? :)

    Hilary,
    I am sure your Mother knew she was loved. So glad for you that you were able to share her last years. I always think it rather sad when families are estranged. Thanks so much for your thoughts and kind words. :)

    Lilith,
    I do, and count them among my blessings! :) Good to see you!

    Rhonda,
    Thank you! I guess it is rather personal, isn't it? These ladies were a great blessing to my family and me. :) Somehow adding the middle names was fitting, you know?

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  14. How fortunate you are to have had these ladies in your life! And your tribute is beautiful. I love the part about your mom saying you had broad shoulders. :) Hope your Mother's Day was wonderful!

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  15. This is so sweet. I can think of the influential women of my life. They made things so much better and taught me a lot.

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  16. You are a blessed woman. I hope to be remembered for kindness like these women.

    God
    Bless
    You

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  17. Lisa,
    Thank you so much! Yes, Mom was a creative one. She could have been a writer, I suppose. :)

    Medeia,
    Thank you. :) What would we do without these special ladies, right?

    Sandi,
    I am indeed! Thanks so much. I suspect you bless more people than you might think. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  18. Oh, Karen. I have memories similar to yours of long gone aunts, mom, and grandma. All great card players! Like Sandi, I hope to be remembered like these. Something to shoot for, no? Great post!

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  19. Karen, that was beautiful! I, too, have warm and wonderful memories of my mother and grandmothers. Just today I shared with a friend a handy tip I learned from my grandmother when I was just a young girl. My grandmothers get mentioned on my blog quite a bit as cooking is such an important way to keep one's heritage alive.

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  20. Susan,
    Cards were the thing, weren't they? :) Fun times. I too, hope to be remembered this way. Absolutely something to shoot for! :)

    Jean,
    Thank you! Treasuring these memories and handing some down to my kids as well. I agree, it is important to share that heritage and keep it alive. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  21. Karen: We all owe a lot to our mother's. I have realized that we also have spiritual mothers who,by their example, lead us closer to the Lord. The one I consider my spiritual mother has been in heaven for over 30 years. She loved me and guided me when our son was small. She never said anything that was a downer about anyone. She left a very good legacy for her children and grandchildren.

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  22. isn't it so true that once WE are moms, we realize what all our own moms did! It's such an eye-opener. You are blessed to have had such wonderful women in your family!

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  23. Cecelia,
    We surely do! I agree, spiritual mothers are important as well. We are blessed, aren't we? :)

    Mare,
    I know it! Who knew this job was so hard, right? :) Thanks a bunch!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!