Tag Archives: Mother

Mother’s Day Long After Mother

daily life color219

Mother’s Day Long After Mother

I feel the promise of rain in the gusting wind,
and in that far off wail of babies tired of the family gathering,
wanting their mothers to themselves.
Mother’s Day in Mexico is a three-day strung-out affair*
stretched out over the motherly memories of Gringos and Mexicanos.

Flowers fill the aisles of Costco and then melt
into the populace, streaming out in grocery carts by the threes
to mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

Pink cakes with chocolate scribbles fill huge center bins at Walmart,
appreciation of mothers being a going commercial concern
all over the chainstore world.

My mother I nestle in my memory like a beautiful uncut gem.
I trim off what ugly parts there might have been.
Rough stone falls away from the faceted center
until there she is, finished, refined in memory,
the way that she would want to be–

every hair in place, lipstick carefully aligned over a silly
Erma Bombeck grin, a small dog in her lap.

Or, better, wipe off the lipstick and muss the hair.
That same dog stretched out,
fencing in her stomach, waist and thigh
as she lies spread careless on the sofa,
asleep, a book having just fallen from her hand.

*By way of a short explanation, Mother’s day in Mexico  is always celebrated on  May 10,  whereas by those expats such as myself who grew up in the U.S., it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, which this year fell on May 12. 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/rdp-sunday-finish/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/motherly/

Happy Mother’s Day, Mother.

scan114

My mother, whose maiden name was  Eunice Lydia King, went by the name of “Pat” Dykstra for all of her married life. She died at the age of 91 in 2001, which means she would have been 109 this year. She kept her youthful sense of humor, her keen wit and her independence for her entire life. I thank her for all of the meals cooked, white blouses pressed, animals trained, constant support, laughter, for creating such a beautiful and secure home and for instilling within me a love of books and rhyme. I would give anything to be able to spend this Mother’s Day with her, floating in the pool and drinking frozen daiquiris, which if I recall correctly, she called “Daktaris!”

Venetian Dreams

IMG_1309

Venetian Dreams

The year we did the Grand Canal,
I came home feeling humble.
My own life just seemed so banal.
My dreams began to crumble.

My life was filled with piety
of very little note.
None of the notoriety
could my First Baptist quote

compared to all the beauty
I’d seen in St. Mark Square.
I felt it was my duty
to be living over there.

I needed no incitement.
My life here seemed so rote.
I needed the excitement
of traveling by boat.

Though it seemed an overindulgence,
I sought to be alone.
I needed the effulgence
of sun shining on old stone.

I could sell my small red Honda,
put my jewelry in hock.
(I had visions of a gondola
waiting at the dock.)

I imagined a “For Sale” sign
in front of my small home.
It seemed a “Get out of Jail” sign.
This housewife sought to roam.

If it sold within two fortnights
I could take off, traveling solo.
I could trade in Sunday sportnights
for a flight to Marco Polo!

I would feel I was at home again.
I’d missed the sights of Venice.
I wanted to be where I’d been,
free from all the menace

of getting three kids off to school
and ironing hubby’s shirts.
I sought to trade the Golden Rule
for romantic nights and flirts.

I’d give up school bake sales
for pannetone and gelato
eaten with Italian males.
“Me First” would be my motto.

I tried to conjure the Rialto,
but I saw the Bridge of Sighs
as my sound track’s rich contralto
assumed a different guise.

“Mommy, Mommy! was the chorus
of my shattered dream.
My stone fantasies were porous,
issuing a frantic stream

of nightmare shrieks and pleadings.
I started down the hall.
My daughter’s midnight needings
my most urgent call.

The canals were left in shambles
as verity flooded in.
So much for fantasy gambles.
My real life won again!

The prompt word today are canal, overindulgence and humble.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/rdp-friday-canal/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/your-daily-word-prompt-overindulgence-february-15-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/humble/

Believe

I can’t answer the prompt “Believe” without rerunning this blog from a few years ago. Go HERE to see it.

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/your-daily-word-prompt-believe-December-21-2018/

Maternal Support

scan076

Because I finally found this photo of my mother that I’ve been looking for for years, I had to put it on my blog.  I just love how young she looks, wonder what prompted her lifting up my stroller, love the depiction of the new neighborhood we’d just moved into that lacked even graveled streets, let alone paved ones.  I’m wondering if she lifted me up to show off her spectator pumps?  Pretty fancy for a mother in a housedress holding her chunky baby aloft complete with heavy metal stroller. This is my all-time favorite photo of my mother and me so I just had to share it. That’s the Masonic Temple in the background, by the way. My mother was 37 years old. I must have been between 10 months and a year old.

In case you are curious, here are a number of poems, essays and stories I’ve written about my mother over the years. Bet you can’t read the whole bunch!! But if you want to read just one, let it be the first one, which gives the most complete view of her.

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/04/25/napowrimo-day-25-she/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2017/04/12/family-secrets/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2017/03/19/the-emperor-of-chocola/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2017/03/02/i-imagine-dverse-poets-prose-poetry/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/12/22/believe/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/09/20/generational-drift/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/01/30/china-bulldog/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/10/17/mommy-talk/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2018/04/24/elegy-for-eunice/

 

Elegy for Eunice

Elegy for Eunice

Most who might have mourned her
have followed or preceded her to dust.
Those few who still do,
think of her less often every year.
It is only in the fleeting moments
when beauty she might have appreciated
crosses our vision
or a song she once favored is heard
that a sweet pang of missing her
stabs into our busyness
and we remember
how she guided our footsteps,
taught us a gentle way with animals,
prodded us to attain more
and let us go.
This is an elegy to one we have forgotten
too easily and too soon.
One that calls her back to mind,
restores her to her rightful place.

 

My mother’s given name was Eunice Lydia, but we only ever knew her as Pat.  For some reason,, in this elegy, I wanted to use her real name. No doubt she will wreak some revenge for this, so if things start going too wrong in my life, I will substitute her assumed name for the present title. The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write an elegy.

Scissors, Tissue Paper and General MacArthur

Before I leave to get busy with paper, scissors and glue at Campamento Estrella today, I want to share this crafty tradition passed on by my mother.  It was my favorite family tradition.

The Daily Post prompt was traditional.

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

DSC08186DSC08162  DSC08184 DSC08180l

Every year, my mom helped us make May baskets to fill with candy and leave on the doorsteps of our friends. As mentioned in an earlier post, we’d ring the doorbell and run. If the recipient caught us, they could kiss or pinch us—their choice.

Some years we bought fancy handled nut cups from the dime store and used them, but I liked best to make my own. One year, my mother showed us something special to use for May baskets. Her family knew how to make these incredible tissue-paper ornaments that, with a cupcake liner filled with candy glued into the bottom, hung down in a web-like form. We’d pin them at the top and when you held them up they would fall down in a lacy accordion effect so they were a foot or two high. The only way you could really get the effect…

View original post 418 more words

Untold Stories

Untold Stories

When her death left us all behind,
so many questions came to mind.
Why couldn’t I have asked them when
she could have answered, way back then?
What she told voluntarily,
about her life and family tree
was always very carefully chosen—
the details all rehearsed and frozen.

The same stories she told over again
about the things that once had been,
but so many things she didn’t say,
afraid, perhaps, she might display
sad facts of life she always hid—
the underside that she forbid.
We would laugh and joke and kid.
Unpleasantness we never did.

She was a good mother. Supportive, kind,
always helpful in a bind.
Generous and always there.
Full of loving, thoughtful care—
that same care that I tried to show her,
although, I fear, I did not know her.
That little girl who lost her dad
and favorite sister.  Was she sad?

Mom never talked of it so we
simply let the subject be.
The stepfather she didn’t care for—
what were the details and the wherefore?
How did it feel to give her hand
to a stranger, then to move to land
so bare and rolling with grass like seas,
empty of people and of trees?

Was she lonely? Did she have friends?
How did they come to make amends
the time she left my father and
took my sister by the hand
and went on home, angry and bitter.
Did my father come to get her?
All these family stories bold
were hinted at but never told.

My mother’s foolish Southern pride
would not permit the underside
of life to show. She tucked it in—
to display unhappiness was sin.
To please her, we followed the rules.
Joking and kidding were the tools
we used to hide unpleasantness
and thereby circumvent the mess

of sadness and humiliation.
Easier to show elation.
We told our secrets to friends, but we
withheld them from our family.
What stories took they to the grave,
my parents, generous and brave?
All those things they thought to spare us
come about to greet and stare us

in the eye on occasions when
we reminisce about back then.
“I  wonder what?” is perpetually
my thought about my family.
With parents gone, I don’t know how
we’ll ever know the answers now.
And because I barely knew my mother,
I am still looking for another.

 

 

The Day 10 NaPoWriMo prompt—yes, two days late—was to write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. The WordPress prompt was “pleased.”

The Emperor of Chocolate

                                                                             image from internet

The Emperor of Chocolate

I am the emperor of chocolate. I conquer every bar.
I can detect its presence in wrappings or in jar.
When there’s no chocolate to be found, I simply can’t abide it.
I can find it anywhere—wherever you might hide it.
My tendency toward chocolate is a tale I hate to tell;
but I cannot help it, for it’s congenital.
My mother abused substances—namely, Russell Stover.
She could not close the box lid until eating them was over.

She couldn’t resist chocolates, though she was not a glutton
when it came to other foods like hamburgers or mutton.
She received a box of chocolates on every holiday—
on her birthday and for Christmas, and for sure on Mother’s Day.
When it came to appreciation, my mother never failed them,
for when it came to chocolates, she always just inhaled them.
One time my dad decided that he would have some fun.
He bought my mom some chocolates to dole out one-by-one.

He hid them underneath the cushion of a chair
to give her one piece daily, but she knew that they were there.
She ate the whole box in two days. It really was disgraceful.
Every time I saw her, it seemed she had a face full.
Only with my father did she manage to save face,
For she bought chocolate-covered cherries and put one in the place
of every chocolate she stole. My father never knew.
She was not tempted by the cherries—a taste she could eschew.

My father always thought he’d pulled one over on my mother,
although I’ve always known that the true jokester was another.
When the box was only cherries, and he offered them to her,
she’d say, “I’ll save it for later,” or sometimes she’d  demur.
To resist chocolate cherries, she was fully able,
and I was fully loyal to preserving mother’s fable.
That’s how my addiction was learned at Mother’s knee,
because the chocolate-covered cherries? She gave them all to me.

 

Here is a link to my favorite photo of my mother, plus other stories and poems about here: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2018/08/01/parental-support/

The prompt today is conquer.