Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Mother's Love's a Blessing

A mother's love's a blessing,
No matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
You'll miss her when she's gone,
Love her as in childhood,
Though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss a mother's love,
Till she's buried beneath the clay.

I've been humming this song lately. It is kind of melancholy. I first knew of it when I read the book Angela's Ashes. I think of that song a lot this time of year, because of two occasions, my mother's birthday and St. Patrick's Day. My mom was born on March 16th, 1926, and growing up I always associated her birthday with our celebration of St. Patrick's Day. My mother was proud to be Irish. Margaret Ellen O'Brien was her name, but most people called her Peggy. Anyway, on St. Patrick's Day, she would always make a traditional Irish dinner of corn beef and cabbage and red potatoes, all boiled in the same pot. And we would have rye bread with lots of butter and she would put a drop of green food coloring in my father's beer. There was always Irish music playing on the record player, and my dad often sang, Peg of My Heart, or my Wild Irish Rose to her. She died in 1974, at the very young age of 48, suddenly, in an instant. One moment she was talking, the next she was gone. Earlier that year she had ordered a set of Irish records that were advertised on TV, you know the kind of infomercials that they had back then, even in the 70's. She waited patiently for them to come, and they did arrive, about a month after she died. I remember my dad saying, Mama's records came. I think we played them, but it just wasn't the same. Through the years, I have tried to recreate that festive Irish celebration for my family. My kids usually groaned, and my husband would annouce that he hates corn beef and cabbage but will eat it just once a year. I decorate for the occasion, I have special Irish curtains and a tablecloth that I made. In fact, this year, I bought new material, because my old set was getting pretty raggedty. I will buy the soda bread, corn beef, cabbage, red potatoes and rye bread. I already put out all my Irish knicknacks. My kids are grown now with families of their own, and I have been trying to coordinate their very busy schedules to get them home for an Irish dinner around St. Patrick's Day. One soninlaw is from Portugal and the other soninlaw is from Romania, so guess the Irish blood is getting thinner and thinner in our family! Anyway, we are down to two possible dates now, so it looks good for this year. So once we settle on that date, the music will be played and the food prepared and for one day I will step back in time and feel the warmth of my mother's love as she made that day so special for us. I have often told my kids that the best feeling I ever can remember is the embrace of my mother when I was a child. So much of our life is assumed, assumed that people know how we feel, assumed that we will have tomorrow, assumed that there will always be more time. So if you are lucky enough to have your mom still living, give her an extra long hug. As for me, I have to save my hugs until I see her again, but hope she hears me singing . . . . " . . a Mother's Love's a Blessing . . ."


Merry's Musings said...

What a beautiful Irish name your mom had. So bittersweet the way she was just taken from here in an instant, mid conversation, and you got her albums so much later as a reminder of her zest for living. Good luck with your Irish/Romanian/Portuguese St Patty’s Day celebration. Make sure you let us know what the meal was! I have a memory for you to read. Take a quick trip over to my house on the web, I think you’ll get a giggle.

Denise Snyder said...

Wow Ellen... what a nice tribute to your Mom that you continue her traditions! I love reading your posts - you have a gift for storytelling. :)

Barbara Lil Dab Designs said...

How true is that! My mother also died at a young age 58, of breast cancer back in 2001, Oh how i miss her! she had me at a young age (16). I was in my 40's when she passed.I miss not having a mother.Thank you for sharing this story

Shannon said...

This post made me cry. I'm still trying to get used to our small St. Patrick's Day dinners. Growing up it was always our entire family. Now that we're all not in NJ and with my Grandparents gone and Brian in Virginia,its just me and my parents and my Dad doesn't like the corned beef and cabbage..he'll choke down a piece of corned beef and a couple of potatoes.
I can't wait until one day when I have a family and can make St. Patrick's Day a big family celebration again. As everyone knows, its my favorite holiday!