Sunday, May 12, 2013
When we were growing up, she and my father were very careful with their money, yet we always had plenty. On Christmas we would get one of the things we really wanted, and we'd get smaller gifts to unwrap as well. We didn't drown under a mountain of toys but we always felt like we had a great Christmas.
She grew everything we ate. Well, almost everything. We always had huge gardens (with maybe one exception because one house we lived in didn't get a lot of sun). Those gardens produced things like tomatoes, garlic, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, corn, zucchini, summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, beets, radishes, shallots. . .you name it, it was there. She would freeze the surplus and supplement it with vegetables from the grocery store throughout the year. I must have driven her up the wall, as I didn't like vegetables except for spinach and raw carrots and celery. (I was a very picky eater.) When I was a kid I wanted a vegetable garden, and she and my dad made a little raised bed for me. Then one day, I went out to it and saw a huge spider, screamed at the top of my lungs and ran far, far away from plants for the next 22 years. I think she's very amused by my urge to garden as an adult. She doesn't really do it anymore--my father tends to a few tomato plants but they're finding it's taking up more of their energy than it used to.
She is a champion deal-finder. When I was a kid, she had a desk set up with her coupons and rebate forms. She never got to the level of extreme couponers, but she didn't want to. She'd stock up to tide us over for the next sale. She didn't want to hoard.
She makes the best pie I have ever had. I hated pie growing up and then, when I tried it again, I loved it. But hers is the best. No one has ever been able to top it. I'm trying to get as good but it takes a lot of practice. She made braided bread (not challah, but a thick, chewy bread that was just delicious). She made fried dough for me when she realized I loved the stuff. She baked cookies and brownies and cakes a lot while I was growing up. She used to knit our slippers (best slippers ever) and she knit small stockings that held packets of Lifesavers for the Christmas tree.
She and my father have always been a true team, which meant I couldn't get away with anything when I was a teenager. There was none of this "ask your father" or "ask your mother." Nope.
She was strict but not unreasonable. (Well, looking back I don't think she was unreasonable. As a teenager I thought she was SO! UNFAIR!) She persevered no matter how hyper, obnoxious, awkward, or rebellious I was. She's always had good advice and she always wants to lend a helping hand. She will leap to our defense in a hot minute. She loves being a grandmother to my niece and nephew.
She was and is a great mom.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! And to all of the mothers reading this, Happy Mothers Day to you too!