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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

Mother's Day card my sister and I
gave our Mom, May 1964.

Mother's Day

The older I get, the more I appreciate my Mom! My Mom lives in Canada and will be eighty-six this coming fall. She became a widow one year ago this May.

I thought I would share with you the tribute I wrote to my Mom for Mother's Day, 2014.

These are the dishes my mom used when I was growing up.

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

I wish I could see you on Mother's Day. But the miles separate us, even borders between the United States and Canada! I guess there aren't words to say what a mother deserves to hear. But I will try.

Thanks for being a praying mom.

Thanks for bringing me to church to teach me the reality of life and to expose me to wonderful Christian folks who understood the meaning of life and lived it out. My greatest treasure is my Christian faith and you passed that on to me.

Thanks for putting up with my adolescent years!

I was in 8th grade when this photo was taken.

Thanks for the new shoes at Easter and new clothes when I started school each fall. I can still hear the squeek, squeek of my new penny loafers. I remember taking the pennies out of my shoes and buying bubble gum from the candy machines when you took us grocery shopping with you to Loblaws.

Thanks for the Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners after church. Also the Jade Garden Restaurant; I looked it up and it still exists today! I haven't had a good egg roll since! I can still see the green dragon pictures on the wall and the hanging Chinese lanterns. You used to take Lucy and me shopping to Woolworths (before malls came into existence) in the old downtown Cornwall. And we would always stop at Sarah Lee's Candies and get a few free samples and you would buy us a mint chocolate bar. I love mint chocolate to this day!

Thanks for showing commitment to your marriage and to Dad. You always stood by Dad, thick or thin. You were devoted to him and he always came first. Thanks for setting that example for me. This is your first Mother's Day without Dad. I know it must be so hard for you, and I'm praying for you. I can't imagine how you must miss him and how lonely those evening hours must be for you. Dad would be proud to see how you have stood strong, made a long move from the country to the city, leaving the home you built together. You have all those precious memories. You can always talk to me about these memories; I love to hear them.

I can still see you at our lunch counter, in our kitchen on Tenth Street. You finally get a free moment to snatch a coffee break and read the two week old newspaper. You furtively look around and quietly sneak out your hidden Coffee Crisp chocolate bar from your purse. You gently and ever so carefully unwrap your chocolate bar. You cut the first slice and before it enters your mouth, five little minions come out of nowhere and ask for just a "teeny, weeny slice, Mom, pleeeeeease?" (How is it that when a moms yells out "time for dishes!", when their faces are not three away from yours, not a soul responds, but when Mom unwraps a Tootsie Roll, hiding under her bed in her room, they all come running from a mile away? It is called the Murphy's Law of Motherhood.) Thanks for always giving me a small slice of your Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, Mom. I know after five slices to five kids, there wasn't much left for you. I don't remember you ever complaining about it, but maybe you just gave us a piece, so we would all go away and let you read your newspaper in peace?

A Canadian chocolate bar called Coffee Crisp.

Thanks for teaching me basic things like keeping just a little hot water in the sink so when cooking, dishes could always be put in there to soak, making dish washing easier.

Thanks for letting me play softball in the leagues. I loved it and have such fond memories of that time. I know it meant buying uniforms, and paying for this and that. Thank you for doing that.

I love sports and played girl's softball.
I am the one holding the bat on the right.

I can't eat chicken wings today without remembering those delicious fried chicken wings you made for Saturday night hockey games. Man, they were good. I can still see John and Dan huffing and puffing as they tried to gobble them down while they were burning hot! Thanks for the memories, Mom and the late night dishes you did after we all went to bed. I wished I had thanked you more then.

Thanks for the Sunday afternoon walks along Track road and the hot chocolate (made from scratch!) we always had when we returned.

Thanks for always being so grateful when I brought you a small bowl of wild strawberries to eat. I remember you smiling and making yourself a fresh strawberry sandwich with butter on toast. I was so proud to bring them to you and make you happy.

I know I had tons of energy and wore you out. Thanks for running after me and protecting me from danger. I know that all of my impishness came from Dad's side of the family.

My Mom says I was more active (and trouble!)
than all of the
other kids put together!

I was born in Cornwall, Ontario,
because I wanted to be close to my Mom.

Thanks for buying me clothes. I think I wore out every outfit you ever bought, being the tomboy that I was. Remember that guy that used to come by with a truck full of stuff for sale? You bought me the white pant suit I'm wearing in the picture below, from him. He also sold those heart shaped Palmier cookies that were so delicious.

I received Athlete of the Year in my
12th grade of high school.
I loved that white pant suit!

Palmier cookies
remind me of home.

Thanks for the gazillion meals you made to feed our tribe. I still hate onions in my rice, but love baked salmon with white sauce! Meringues conjur up cut up paper sacks, "don't open the oven door!", and strawberries and sauce over meringues for our Christmas Day dessert. I have never been able to make them like you did. They were perfection.

Thanks for coming to help out when I had my first baby. I remember you moving the stove and cleaning underneath it, watching my day care children until I got home from the hospital, and being so proud to hold my new daughter for the first time. You worked tirelessly and when you left, my house had never been so clean. That was your way of saying, "I love you" and I got the message.

My first child, Jennifer, with my folks. November, 1976.

Thanks for teaching me how to clean windows, peel potatoes, do laundry and set a table, and thanks for being patient with all my mistakes.

Thanks for the Easter bunnies you bought us kids every year. I still remembering thinking, "This year, I'm not going to eat it all in five minutes." But every year, I would first take a small bite, and put the rest in the fridge. Then a few minutes later, go get another bite, until after numerous fridge openings, in about five minutes the bunny was gone. I always saved the eye for the last bite; that was the best part.

Thanks for not spoiling me and for giving me rules and boundaries. Thanks for not giving me an overabundance of toys and junk, making me think that "stuff" is what life is all about and when you love someone you give them stuff. Thanks for making me work and teaching me basic homemaking skills. I remember when I took Home Ec in grade 8. The first thing the teacher taught us was how to iron a tea towel. I about died laughing and thought, "This class is going to be really challenging!", because you taught me how to iron Dad's shirts when I was 10 or so. I was shocked to see that other girls did not have a mom who taught them such basic skills. Being a new wife was so much easier because of what I learned at home.

Thanks for the gift of life, Mom. I know that having five children very close in age wasn't easy for you. If you hadn't given me life, I never would have.....

enjoyed a prairie sunset

delighted in a bowl of homemade strawberry ice cream

suckled a newborn babe

grown peonies

been blessed with ten children

watched a calf being born

cried when a beloved daughter walks down the aisle on her Daddy's arm

watched my son make wooden bowls on his lathe

smelled homemade bread in the oven

read an email from a grandson thanking me and Gerald
for the positive influence we have been in his life

given an antique thimble to a beloved grandaughter who is learning to sew

collected warm, brown eggs from the chicken coop

seen a daughter making mozzarella cheese with our own jersey milk

watched my 18th grandchild being born

held hands with my first and only boyfriend (now my husband)

played a competitive game of corn toss with my son-in-law as a partner (and winning!)

heard a grandson say, "Grandma, I have a great joke for you!"

listened to a son talk to his dad about girl troubles

corresponded with Elisabeth Elliot

watched a son graduate from college

become a grandmother to twenty (and counting!) grandchildren

watched a son take a block of wood and turn it into a beautiful blue jay

held hands with a soon to be daughter-in-law
as we watch the sunrise on her wedding day

belly laughed over a toddler saying the word "stunk" for skunk

received handmade candle holders from my son for Christmas

viewed the rhubarb bursting out of the ground

played girl's softball

proudly been at my husband's graduation for his doctorate degree

listened to a beautiful lullaby composed and sung by my daughter called "Night of Nights"

seen you and Dad celebrating your 60th wedding anniversary

heard my adult son say to me, "Everything I am, I owe to you and Dad"

been given a dandelion bouquet from a five year old

listened to my daughter play "Fantasy Impromptu" by Chopin, for her senior piano recital

seen my son catch his first fish

gone to "Grandparent's Day" at my grandaughter's preschool

celebrated 40 years of marriage this coming August

eaten fresh strawberry/rhubarb pie

read a beautiful goodbye letter from a just married daughter

collected snow flakes on my hand

seen my son with his much-longed-for first puppy

passed my driver's test

worn a diamond ring

or had the privilege of saying thanks to you now.

Mom, thanks for.....well.....everything!

I love you!

Your daughter,
Helen Eloise


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