Mother’s Day traditions

My mom and I have a Mother’s Day tradition that we’ve had for over 10 years now. Every Mother’s Day morning, we go to the cemetery and plant a red geranium for her mom, my Mimi.
And despite it being a sad place, it’s not a sad tradition. In fact, I think my Mimi would love to see that it brings her three kids and only granddaughter together in one place, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Plus, red geraniums were her favorite. Even when she was sick, my mom and aunt would plant them in the flowerbeds for her.
When I was 16, I lost my Mimi to something called Corticobasal Degeneration. I won’t bore you with the technical affects of the disease, but it’s a rare degenerative brain disease that has no cure, and a life expectancy of 6-8 years from the onset of symptoms. So for about seven years I watched my Mimi get progressively worse, and I watched my mom and aunt take care of her up until she died.
I come from a long line of ‘youngest’ so the fact that I got to know my great grandmother is amazing. My Mimi was the youngest of five children, my mom the youngest of three, and despite being an only child, I’m the youngest grandchild out of six and the only girl.
Growing up, I got to go shopping and out to lunch with my mom, Mimi and my great grandmother, who I affectionately called ‘The Other Mimi.’ When I was really little, I got confused between my grandmother and great grandmother, so they were both Mimi. I’m the only one who called my grandma ‘Mimi’, all my other cousins called her ‘Grandma’, but she loved being Mimi, and her mom loved that the name would live on after she was gone.
They were all strong, feisty women who had a positive outlook on life. I remember being at my grandparent’s house not long after my Mimi was diagnosed, and she had to walk with a cane. Her mom came over, in her early 90s, also walking with a cane. Instead of being upset about seeing her baby go through something terrible, The Other Mimi got a big smile on her face and bumped her cane against Mimi’s and said “Look! We match!”
And despite having a tough life as a child and an adult, even having to put her daughters in an orphanage when her husband left her and working her butt off to get them back, she lived to 95 and always had a big smile on her face. My Mimi lived the same way her mom did, by getting the most out of the life she was given. She got married at 17, had three children, got her GED, and was a successful travel agent, a great bowler, and an amazing mom and grandmother. I still have her GED.
And my mom is the same way. We all do the best with the cards we were dealt, both good and bad. I learned from these incredible women how to look past the bad things and move forward. Life can be difficult, and it’s easy to want to give up and be a pessimist, but I look at the lives they led and I know if they did it, I can too.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms. But especially my mom, who has the strength to remember her mom, and all the things they went through as mother and daughter, and smile.

One Response to "Mother’s Day traditions"

  1. Grannie Di Dobrowolski   May 15, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    You are an amazing writer to put those beautiful words on paper. Stay as strong as you are and you’ll go far in life. Love you for who you are.


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