Posted tagged ‘Mothers’

A Great Middle-Grade Summer Read

July 6, 2017

warden 2

The year is 1959. It’s a time when American Bandstand, 45 RPM records, saddle shoes, and transistor radios are popular. The Warden’s Daughter written by the talented Jerry Spinelli takes place during this era. The story is about Cammie O’Reilly nicknamed Cannonball because of her unpredictable personality. She lives in an apartment above the county jail with her father, the warden. Her mother died in a tragic accident after saving Cammie when she was a baby — an accident that is well-known by everyone in town. The summer Cammie turns thirteen she aches more than ever to have a mother like everyone else. Cammie decides that Eloda Pupko, an inmate at the prison who takes care of her and keeps the apartment clean and running smoothly, should be that mother, but things are not as easy as Cammie thinks. Consumed with unhappiness and anger, Cammie lashes out when an unexpected event occurs, and her life begins to spiral out of control. It’s Eloda who steps in and provides the elusive motherly love and support that Cammie needs to face her inner turmoil. Jerry Spinelli weaves a story of an unhappy young girl that tugs at your emotions and keeps you turning the pages to a satisfying ending. If you have someone looking for a good book to read this summer, I recommend The Warden’s Daughter.


SOMEDAY – An Unexpected Emotional Impact

May 18, 2017

Quite some time ago, I purchased a picture book for my daughter I thought she would appreciate as a young mother. Last Sunday, we did what many families do on Mother’s Day. We came together to celebrate. We had brunch at our house and exchanged cards and gifts. I added what my daughter calls a “motherism” to the inside of the book for which she expressed delight and gratitude. She didn’t have time to read the book because two active little girls were demanding her attention. Later Sunday evening, I received a text. My daughter told me she read Someday, the book I gave to her, to the girls at bedtime. She said she couldn’t get through it because it made her cry. (It was that unexpected emotional impact.) She told the girls they were “happy tears.” It’s moments like these when you realize how fortunate you are to have a close relationship with your daughter and how much you miss your own mother. And now I’m crying those “happy tears.”


Alison McGhee’s text is simple, but it reminds the adult reader of the special bond that exists between mothers and daughters and how the cycle of life continues. McGhee’s gentle words speak to the heart, and Peter Reynolds’ endearing illustrations speak to our visual emotions. The combination of the two makes this book a gift of love.

If you have sons, a companion book to Someday is Little Boy written by Alison Mc Ghee and illustrated by Peter Reynolds, Atheneum Books.



They Have Arrived!

September 10, 2015

Contrary to what others may believe, it’s my opinion that not all newborns are the most beautiful babies anyone has ever seen – unless they’re your own. With that said …

Drum roll, please!

I’d like to announce that my husband and I are officially grandparents to two gorgeous baby girls. It doesn’t matter how pudgy, scrawny, blotchy, wrinkly, bald, pimply, or goofy-looking they are. They are ours, and with the exception of our daughter, these girls are not only the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen, but their personalities are already over the top!

Ta Da!

The Girls!

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden

Why are you so noisy?

Why are you so noisy?

Wait! Is it lunchtime?

Wait! Is it lunchtime?

Me! Me! Feed me first!

Me! Me! Feed me first!

Life is so exhausting Life is so exhausting!

Life can be so exhausting!

What are you looking at? My hat? Get over it!

What are you looking at? My hat?
Get over it!

These girls are going to add so much joy to our lives. We’re such lucky grandparents!


photo 3 (41)

Because I Said So

May 7, 2010

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” Cardinal Mermillod

I’m convinced the moment a woman has her first child, the phrase, “because I said so,” becomes a permanent part of her vocabulary. Mother, child, and infamous motherisms are forever bound together.

When I was growing up, my mother had a stockpile of phrases that flew out of her mouth when she didn’t approve of something one of us kids said or did. You know the ones I’m talking about.

Look at me when I’m talking to you.

Who taught you that? You didn’t learn that in this house!

Your father is going to hear about this when he gets home!

Are you going out dressed like that?

Over my dead body!  

Close that door! Were you born in a barn?

If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

I brought you into this world, and I can take you right back out!

I swore when I became a mother I’d never say the things my mother said, but reality is harsh. I am my mother. Some of those exact sayings explode from my mouth when least expected. My daughter can attest to that. I guess it’s true. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  

There’s one phrase I do remember my mother repeatedly saying, and I hope my daughter remembers me saying it, too. Three simple words that meant the world to me — I Love You!

Do you have any memorable phrases your mother said while you were growing up?

Books to celebrate mothers:  Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (Firefly Books, 2000), Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joose (Chronicle Books, 1991), Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (Random House Books for Young Reader’s, 1966), Thanks to You:  Wisdom from Mother & Child by Julie Andrews Edwards & Emma Walton Hamilton (HarperCollins, March 2010)

The Next Place

April 30, 2010

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”
─ Yogi Berra

My mother is residing in our guest bedroom for the time being. She isn’t there physically. Her ashes are there. I spritz a little of her favorite perfume in there every once in awhile. The smell reminds me of how special she was to me.

I never quite know how to say someone died. Do you say they passed? Passed what? Past their expiration date? Do you say they are departed like departing from a train station? I could say my mom kicked the bucket, but that seems too irreverent. My mother is dead – gone from this world as we knew her.

The truth is my mother has been gone for quite some time now. For the last few years she was a shell of her former self, and she was aware of that. She wanted to die. The quality of life was missing for her. It’s that darn modern medical technology that keeps people alive longer than some wish. When she died it wasn’t unexpected, but it was still sad. It makes you face your own mortality.

My father was her caregiver through her illness. He loved her and had endless patience – most of the time. My sister and her husband, who live nearby, were there every day to help. Now those are amazing people!

While I was growing up, my mother was my best friend. I could tell her anything. As we both got older, it was harder to maintain that closeness, but I always felt that special bond.

I was reminded of how fashionable she was as family members sorted through pictures for her memorial. Other things like her unique sense of humor, her love of dark chocolate, and her intense pride of her Irish heritage came up in family conversations. Little things we found as we went through her belongings made us laugh and made us cry. We had button necklace day, hat day, belt day, and adorned ourselves with her stash of funky jewelry. It was our quirky way of dealing with our loss.  

Button Necklace

With the death of my mother, my family did what she would have wanted us to do. We celebrated her life with a proper Irish funeral.

We did her proud!

Soon my mother’s ashes will depart from my guest bedroom, but I know right now she’s in a better place – the next place.

There is a book called The Next Place by Warren Hanson. It’s a beautiful book that celebrates life. 

My mother’s life is one worth celebrating. To my mother! To life!

Now, what do I do with all her dentures I keep finding around my parent’s house?


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