Thursday, January 24, 2008

Deena Louise

I mentioned my Mom in the last post. I thought I'd share a little about her.

She grew up in a somewhat volutile household. Her Mom and Dad divorced in her teen years and she chose to live with Grandma Aimee instead. Grandma & Aunt Phyllis spoiled her. She had very expensive taste and they obliged.

Her Dad worked on a car lot and was able to get her a new car to drive whenever she wanted. She once backed into one of the lot's cars and creamed the side. Grandpa said, just go pick out another.

Needless to say her life looked easy. I know she ended up struggling with relationships as an adult though. She seemed like an introvert, but controlled everyone with her passive aggressive behavior. She was blunt and brutally honest at times.

Once we were at a Mary Kay luncheon. We had just finished eating lunch and they were delivering dessert. Mom asked for another (on a cruise Mom could do triple desserts). When she asked for a second dessert. The woman next to her made a smart comment. Mom's reply "MY figure can afford it!" Like I said, brutally honest.

Sometimes her honesty hurt those she loved the most. When I was going to marry Ross, she relayed that I should pick someone who always says "yes Ma'am" instead of having his own opinion. She said that in ten years, I'd regret my decision. It's been eleven and I don't. Sorry Mom, you were wrong.

When my Sister in law had her baby, she was telling Mom about the delivery. It wasn't necessarily an easy delivery like mine. My Mom's reply? "Cats have kittens in closets everyday." That was extremely hurtful to Jennifer.

While all these instances seem hurtful, she really was a caring person. She spent the first part of her life caring for special needs students. We even had several in our home on weekends to provide respite for their parents. Two lived with us short term, and one lived with us for several years. Her heart had a special spot for kids with autism & downs syndrome. She spent the second half of her life building some great relationships in Mary Kay.

We never had the relaltionship where I could come to her if something were wrong. But, I was blessed to have other women in my life I could turn to for advice. I choose not to look at that as a bad thing. It's taught me to cultivate that part of my relationship with my own daughters. I want them to come to me, because I know what it feels like to not have that. It's something I can thank her for. I may not have seen the importance otherwise.

She was a great homemaker. Baked goods were always in our house. Breads, cookies, candies...Mmmm. She always had a beautiful dinner on the table. Chicken ala King, Tetrazini, Buttermilk fried chicken.....double Mmmmm. You could count on the house being clean everyday, my cheer uniform was laundered promptly. You could almost time the sound of the vacumm coming through your room at 2 am. Eventually you stop waking up, because it becomes the norm.

I learned to sew at an early age. She encouraged me to enter stuff at the fair. I won many awards for my vests. Yes, it was the 80's! I also won awards for my biscuits, banana bread, and many varieties of cookies. All of those lessons, not just the cooking, were great lessons to learn so early. I hold value to those skills she taught me that are no longer considered valuable in 2008.

One of the most important and selfless things she did was encourage my brother & I to love the arts. My brother can play the saxophone, drums, piano and guitar! He's best at guitar, playing right hand and left hand! I play piano, although I did it more for approval than the love of the instrument. It is nice to be able to sit down and play something though! Choir was important from 7th grade on. I was also involved in all types of dance from age 3. Ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, clogging, name it, I probably love it. I know these lessons cost big money, but she continued to make allowance for it.

I think about her often and wonder where I would be if she were still on the earth. It's hard for me to say, but things are actually better now. I've learned to be myself. Make decisions for my family without considering her opinion was quite difficult for a year or so. I'm actually enjoying my new adventure, more than I thought I would.


Jen Cook said...

eloquently put. My heart often breaks for your & martys losses, as well as your and my kids who will never know her aside from Cyra & nicholas (a little). Funny you should write this today, since just last night, we were on the couch and marty said "you know sometimes I forget what mom looked like" It broke my heart. I forwarded him this blog, and told him he needs to read it.
PS. I didn't know marty used to play the saxaphone ;)

Casey T. said...

This explains so much to me. I personally never experinced the bluntness of your mother. I did see her love for you.