Since this will be my first Mother's Day without my mom, Sandy Sickle Galkin, I can hear her telling me to do something that will make me feel better and to help others create the kind of close family that we have. So, I am going to take my personality traits (notice I didn't say "qualities" as some of you may find them negative!) of being passionate (bordering on obsessive/compulsive), assertive (some say "bossy") and spiritual to blog about family, food and fun which is what I live for!!
When my mom got sick in early February, my Aunt Joan told me (she's a teacher, so she is assertive too!) to start a CaringBridge blog to keep people informed. For me, it was exactly what I needed to get through the emotional ups and downs of her illness. It helped to get my feelings out through writing. I think that I needed the responses and reactions that I received to validate my feelings and the support I got to make it through. Once mom passed, I have found that I continue to need to share my feelings and have trouble, when asked if I am okay, to say that I am fine. I am not fine. But, I am not depressed or falling apart either.
I think that is the reason that I need to start this blog NOW. So, for Mother's Day 2016, here are a few of my "words of wisdom" for enjoying your family with fun and food!
Enjoy every minute because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
1. Celebrate whenever you can.
My parents and Galkin grandparents lived by the rule that you need to celebrate EVERY holiday. Even though my Grandma Lilian was very religious, we dyed eggs (not Easter eggs) with all of our cousins (laughing and getting dye all over the newspaper set out on table) and ate them with our gefilte fish and matzah. My parents carried on this tradition with my brothers and I, then, with their grandchildren. When I got married, Marc and I found an Easter basket filled with matzah and chocolate outside our door of our townhouse on Easter morning.
Growing up in the fifties and sixties, Santa Claus brought our Chanukkah presents during the night and we opened our presents wrapped in Jewish star paper all together in the morning. Either at Grandma Lilian and Pop David's or later at our house on Marigold Court, the fun was the sleepover not the gifts. Just being with COUSINS was the fun. Family fun we call it!!
2. Enjoy activities together no matter how small, as you are creating memories.
My fondest memories always involve my cousins. The Sickles (my grandfather's family) all lived with his mother, Bubbie Sickle, when they came to this country. When these older relatives starting passing away, we "got to go to shiva" at my Aunt Sally's house (Suanne's mom). We enjoyed being together for an entire week after school. This was especially fun for me because Sally loved to cook and concoct all kinds of delicious treats recreating the tastes she remembered from her childhood. She even wrote notes on recipes about leaving out ingredients to please the finicky relatives.
Another "fond" memory is going to the cemetery at King David Memorial Gardens in Virginia. My mom would pack us in the car and say, "We are going to see Grandma and then, we are going to feed the ducks." She would bring crackers or bread and we would pay our respects to my grandma. My dad always cried, but it just didn't feel uncomfortable for us. We were excited to get to go to the park side of the cemetery and feed the ducks. This experience was always welcomed in my mind. It was another fond memory.
3. Just being together is special.
When our parents were short on funds, we would think of fun things to do at home on holidays or days off from school. When a big snow was predicted, my mom always took us the the Wheaton News Stand where we were allowed to buy comic books and candy. She was always worried that the lights would go out and we would miss an opportunity to read. I think those times we spent wrapped in blankets on the sofa reading by flashlight gave me my love of reading.
When other children were going on fancy vacations, we were all driving to Florida packed in one car, then, sleeping in one room. For some reason, Steve and I shared a bed and Danny always got to have the sofa bed. We would just laugh and carry on. My dad never wanted to stop for a bathroom break, so the goal was to make my mom laugh until she wet her pants!!
Marc and I met on Halloween and he flew to Florida that Christmas to be with me. I don't think he expected to need a hammer to start my father's Cadillac because one person had to hit the starter under the hood while the other person turned the key for the car to start. I guess he must have seen the fun of it since he stuck with me after that trip!
Again, remember that just being together can make memories for your family. You don't have to go somewhere special, or buy expensive gifts, but take time to enjoy each other because you never know what tomorrow can bring. Live in the moment as I will be doing this Mother's Day 2016!