The Austin Woman staff open the memory books to reminisce about fun moments with their mothers or mother figures in their lives.
Growing up with a Polish grandma I spent a lot of time in the kitchen watching and learning just as she did all those years ago in Poland. Over the years I have learned how to make her favorite dishes that have been passed down like her perogies and bobka. My kids are now at the age where they love to help in the kitchen. It is a wonderful blessing that at 96 years young we are still watching her teach us all she knows in the kitchen.
When I think of my mom, two things come to mind: coffee and road trips. When I was little, I would wake to the smell of coffee brewing and rush to the kitchen in the hopes of getting a few sips from her cup. Back then she took her coffee with cream and sugar, which was ideal to my 6-year-old palate. Waking up early for a road trip was even more thrilling. Whether it was to the beach, visiting grandparents or taking me to college, finding good coffee along the way was always top priority. The most recent road trip we took was from Savannah, GA, to the Blue Ridge Mountains, exploring the towns in between. We brought my dogs along for the ride and stayed in a little cabin in the mountains. We hiked on the Appalachian Trail, cooked dinner and, of course, found the best coffee in Athens.
The one thing about my mom that will always stick with me is this: her complete lack of musical talent combined with her constant need to be singing. No matter the time or place, she has a tune that’s either a one-of-a-kind original, or her own version of a famous song that’s nearly unrecognizable. Because of her, whenever I hear Lionel Richie’s “Hello,” I’ll always think of her rendition. The lyrics are improvised and the melody is always inconsistent, but her enthusiasm just makes it work. I’ve developed the same habit, so now I always find myself humming random songs and making the words whatever I want them to be. So no matter what else changes in my life, her musical quirks will always stay with me.
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My mom loved the garden. One of my fondest memories is of our summers spent at the home of one of my aunts, where Mom and her four sisters would meet to pick and break beans. Being from Atlanta, one must follow Southern protocols. It consisted of sitting in a rocking chair on the screened-in porch with newspaper spread over our laps, a tin bucket on the floor and a glass of sweet ice tea nearby. Bushels of beans were snapped for canning, and gossip flowed and was always followed by “Bless her heart” (more Southern protocol that if said after gossip means you weren’t really gossiping).
My mom is an avid Chicago Cubs fan. I mean die-hard, passed down from my grandmother, legacy fan. It’s not always been a smooth ride with many losing seasons, but over the years we’ve been to Wrigley Field almost annually. It’s something that has brought our family together. I have so many great memories that will last a lifetime from those games, and I hope to get back to Wrigley for a game this summer. Time get my daughter to her first game and continue the family tradition.
I do have quite a few hilarious memories collected over the years. One I keep going back to is the day she totally fangirled over Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” But what always warms my heart is New Year’s Eve 2018. The house was full of relatives from both sides of the family. We are a card-playing family, so of course the “adults” were playing Spades while I played DJ. One of our favorite songs, “Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing” by Stevie Wonder, comes on. The ending vamp is Stevie harmonizing with himself the words, “Todo ’ta bien chévere!” My mom and I have never actually sung together, but this night, she took the high note, and I took the low note. Totally absorbed in the song. The atmosphere, family, everything fell into place to create an awesome NYE moment and a powerful memory for me.