Fathers and Others

It’s been an eventful weekend for me.

I spent the last three days caring for my brother as he recovers from surgery — or at least that was the plan. He ended up spending a bit longer in the hospital than expected, so my care-giving was redefined. While he was under the watchful eye of doctors and nurses, I cared for his home.

Cleaning House

My brother lives out in the country, about 40 miles away from us. So after I packed my bag, I did what any loving sister would do: I took a trip to Trader Joe’s! I bought some of our favorite snacks and some ingredients to prepare a few healthy meals for him. But when his hospital visit was extended, I decided to stay and enjoy this time alone as a bit of respite for myself.

Yesterday I cleaned his house from top to bottom, and even rearranged his living room to make better use of his space. (With his permission, of course.) In between vacuuming and dusting, I took frequent breaks to sit outside on the patio, swinging on the swing and listening to the birds. It was so peaceful!

In reality, my mind and body both benefitted from the cleaning. And the house looks pretty good too.

Stepping Into the Gap

We lost our father while we were both in our 20’s. It was a horrible blow, especially to Mom. But we clung together for support, and leaned on each other for strength over the years. My brother has been by our mother’s side for over 33 years, stepping in and taking care of what needed to be done. This was especially important when I moved to Virginia.

In so many ways, he took on my dad’s role. He helped with household repairs, financial decisions, and simple day-to-day tasks. And he never complained. Not once. And decades later, he packed up all their belongings and moved Mom closer to us so we could continue to support one another as her health declined.

While my brother is not a father himself, he became father-like in his role. I can never thank him enough. And if our mom had her memory back again, even for one brief moment, I know she would thank him too.

God blessed me with an earthly father, and I miss him so much today. But He also blessed me with a caring big brother to watch over our family when Dad was called home to heaven. Today I am grateful for both.

Happy Father’s Day!

You Surpass Them All

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is the very best day to focus on the blessings in my life, and the beautiful family that the Lord has given me.

This will be the most quoted scripture of the day, but Proverbs 31:28-29 sums up the blessings of being a wife and mother . . .

My day began with Sunday worship, followed by a surprise Mother’s Day brunch, alone with my husband.

This was the view from our window seat overlooking a soggy West Market Street from Casa Nostra. (Definitely worth checking out, NoVa friends!)

I neglected to take a photo of my first course Caesar salad, but it set the stage perfectly for the main course of pan-seared salmon with ricotta gnocchi and a pesto cream sauce. And, no Italian brunch would be complete without Tiramisu. It was a decadent meal!

I returned home and was showered with Mother’s Day cards from both children, flowers, goodies and a Kohl’s gift card. (My son knows me well 😉.) And no Mother’s Day would be complete without a long, lazy nap.

My own mother and late mother-in-law are examples of women who deeply loved and sacrificed for their families. They were both raised during the Depression and knew the meaning of hardship. I believe this helped them raise their families on a shoestring budget, while creatively stretching every dollar. They were frugal shoppers, skilled seamstresses, and round-the-clock nurses. Multi-tasking wasn’t a term in the 60’s and 70’s, yet they were the pioneers. Many mothers left their homes when the kids went off to school, and took up careers of their own.

Mother’s Day looked very different when we were kids. I don’t remember bringing Mom breakfast in bed, but she usually got a break from cooking. That meant going out to dinner or ordering takeout, which was a special treat for our family.

And even though it was a holiday in her honor, like all other moms, she still did a lot of the usual tasks that day in preparation for the week ahead. In that spirit, I made my weekly run to Wegman’s today, and am knee-deep in laundry as I type.

So, thank you to all the moms who came before my generation, setting the bar and guiding our feet in paths toward the future. You have inspired us, guided us, and made us proud to bear the title of mother — or mentor — to the children in our lives. 💕