My mom passed away in 2000. It’s hard to believe she left us that long ago. I still talk to her, miss her and tears still come when I think about her. I’ve been told I’m just like my mother. I’m even starting to look like her when she was my age. When I said, “Bless her heart,” my brother-in-law remarked that Bette must be in the room. “I swear you sounded just like her,” he told me. I smiled at the compliment.
If my mom was near, laughter followed. She was never boring. She had a heart of gold and never met anyone she didn’t like. Her house was always full of company.
My mom had several traditions:
If you visited our home, you were served tea or coffee, and Entenmann’s coffee cake.
If an invitation to a Tupperwear party arrived, she immediately accepted.
If kids wanted to join the adults at the table, they were welcomed.
If any niece or nephew had a favorite food or drink, she had it ready for their visit.
If extra visitors arrived, she pulled chairs from the dining room and the gathering
grew around her kitchen table. That kitchen was filled with love (and a few spats.)
My personal favorite tradition was that every newborn or baby who visited my mom was waltzed in her arms while she sang Edelweiss. I’ve etched the memories in my mind of each my kids in her arms being waltzed and serenaded.
Now that she is gone, I am the waltzer and crooner to carry on her tradition. I’m not as graceful on a kitchen dance floor. I think my waltz steps are more like a Fox Trot, but in her honor, I dance. I twirl slowly. I sway gently, imitating her moves.
I sing the lyrics to Edelweiss until I get choked up and the tears drip onto the newborns little head. I continue the tradition by humming the tune. At this point, my daughters drip tears with me. It’s a sisterhood; a connection of tradition passed down over the generations.
My younger daughter just had a baby boy. I’m already in tears feeling the emotions of the upcoming dance. This all began because my mom liked The Sound of Music. When Captain Von Trapp sang that song, it must have touched a place in my mom’s heart. We heard her sing it so often.
On an early Wednesday morning in Colorado last week, I serenaded the seven pound little guy. He was wrapped in a light blue blanked with white stripes. His arms were flailing, shaking off the blanket. Although he can’t really see me, he looked at my face as I serenaded him to Edelweiss at six in the morning. He struggled to find his thumb, mouth open like a baby bird. When he got full grasp, the suckling noises started. His eyes closed.
It’s impossible not to sob singing my mom’s words that have graced so many little ones in our family. I did my best waltz moves as I sang the tender words of the song, Usually someone catches me in the midst of my quiet serenade. This time it was just the two of us, Gigi and River gracefully moving about the kitchen in the early morning hours.
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever
Honestly, there were three of us. I heard my mom sing along.