Mother’s Day Is More Than A Card

I didn’t buy a Mother’s Day card this year. I haven’t bought one since 2012. Mom died from lung cancer five days after Mother’s Day in 2012. And even though she was essentially a shell of herself and had no idea what was going on, I still bought a card and flowers because that’s what you do, right? I knew she couldn’t read the card or smell the flowers, but I knew she heard my voice when I told her “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”! Mom in the hospital on Mother’s Day, a week before her death, wasn’t an ideal situation, but she was still with us. So I talked to her and told her I loved her. But I knew it would be her last Mother’s Day with us. Just a few days before mom was admitted to the hospital for the last time, I took her shopping to buy clothes to wear to church on Mother’s Day. She sat there in her cute, little red walker and pointed to all of the pretty spring skirts and tops. One of mom’s former students was the manager of this particular store and this manager hunted high and low for the sizes and colors mom wanted. This made mom so happy. We bought a LOT of stuff, took the clothes home and hung them on her closet door. She was so excited that she just couldn’t decide what she was going to wear that Sunday. Going shopping was such a small gesture and one we normally take for granted, but it meant so much to her. One of the hardest things I had to do was return those clothes. I can’t even explain the pain I felt in my chest as I returned the skirts and tops, never worn with the tags still on them.

Mother's Day program at school, 1978. I made that 'gift'.

Mother’s Day program at school, 1978. I made that ‘gift’.

For those who have lost their mom, Mother’s Day seems so “in your face” and “over the top”. But that’s all about advertising and selling stuff. They aren’t concerned about those of us who don’t have moms to buy that stuff for so don’t let the commercials and the sales and the flowers and perfume sets get you down. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Oh, it is very hard. Make no mistake about it. Restaurants telling you to bring mom in for a steak dinner or salons telling you to treat mom to the ultimate spa day. Ha! I turn the channel every time I see something touted as “Mother’s Day Specials”. That first year after mom’s death I hated the retail industry and I still do. But, I know that they aren’t talking to me so I try not to take it personally. Besides, before mom died I was one of those who bought stuff to make her happy. But now? It hurts something fierce to not be able to buy something for my mom.

Mom isn’t here physically, but I still talk to her and I still tell her that I love her. Every day. That will never change and I don’t need the retail industry to make me think that buying something is the best way to show love your love for mom. You know what your mom really wants? To FEEL and HEAR the love and to know that you appreciate everything she’s done for you. Yeah, she probably likes the “bling and the things”, but I think the words mean more. I reflect on what she taught me and the love the showed me. I think about her sacrifices and the opportunities she missed because she was doing more for me than she did for herself. Just because she is not here doesn’t change what she did for me. I was almost 43 when she died and I think that is far too young to lose a mom. You always need your mom, no matter how old you are. A daughter should NEVER have to lose her mom right? Even if the daughter was 85 years old, when her mom died, it would still seem too young.

Six Flags Houston 1976  - Mom trying to console me after dad told me I couldn't get on a particular ride. Look at my face.  Sad.

Six Flags Houston 1976 – Mom trying to console me after dad told me I couldn’t get on a particular ride. Look at my face. Sad.

When I talk to mom, I know she hears me. She still helps me make decisions, because I know exactly what she would say. Mom is always guiding me. I also know that she never, ever wanted me to hurt or to be in pain. She would want me to keep moving, to get up every day and try to make a difference. I am still trying to get my life back together after losing her three years ago. EVERYTHING is different and NOTHING is the same. I mean NOTHING. It is a sad and painful existence sometimes, but I am hopeful. Mainly because mom taught me that nothing is ever as bad as it seems and that I should never give up on what I want. One of the last things she told me was to “live your life and don’t let anyone stop you from doing that”. For those of you without your mom, live your life and don’t stop. She would want you to keep moving. Do it for her. Don’t let all of her sacrifices be in vain. She is and will always be proud of you. For those of you who still have you mom, please know how extremely blessed you are to be able to do for her. Don’t EVER take that for granted. And don’t wait until Mother’s Day to let her know how much she means to you. Mother’s Day is more than a card. 

My 6th grade graduation, May 1981. Yeah, it's a tad blurry.

My 6th grade graduation, May 1981. Yeah, it’s a tad blurry.

My Favorite Discoveries of the Week

Just taking a moment to share a few of my favorite discoveries of the week (DOW).

I recently discovered this a channel called Back9 Network. Not sure if any of you have heard of it or have even seen it listed on your channel line-up, but it’s really a network for golf aficionados, of which I am not. However, it bills itself as a lifestyle network. (I guess for the ‘golf lifestyle’).  It’s channel 262 on DirecTv. I first discovered it while watching a show called “Wine Sense”, which was my only reason for turning to a channel focused on golf. I ended up watching two episodes back-to-back (one about sulfites and one about Sauternes, a French sweet wine).  I also set my DVR to record a future episode on Malbec grapes and wine. The rest of the evening line-up for this network included stories about golf, more golf and where to go if you like golf. I’ll just tune in for the wine shows, thank you very much. The Malbec episode comes on in a couple of days so I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Speaking of Malbec, I found a new label I’ve never heard of…Pampa Estate.  Guess where I found it? ALDI. Yep. Snagged a bottle for $4.99.  I actually wasn’t skeptical to try it because I’ve had several wines from ALDI and they have been quite good.  And the wine label, “looked” expensive, not cheap.  The color and type of font (embossed gold) screamed ‘expensive’.  Anyway, this wine didn’t disappoint, considering I judged it only on the label. And I was curious because this was the first Malbec I’ve seen at ALDI so I HAD to try it.  Did I say it was only $4.99?

Found this at ALDI

Found this at ALDI

I am a lover of Malbec and I’ve tried quite a few, but none more than $20. I’ve yet to determine why I need to spend more than $20 on a bottle though a couple of times I made an exception with Conundrum ($22 at most places) and it’s been a couple of years since my last Conundrum purchase. My budget is more like a “two buck Chuck” budget (my Trader Joe fans remember that wine). My wine budget is between $6 and $12 a bottle with an average price paid around $9, but lately I’ve not spent more than $6. I love a good discount. But I digress. This Pampa Estate Malbec was surprisingly good. Not as peppery as some Malbecs that I’ve had, but definitely one of my favorites. It wasn’t a thin wine, as most cheaper wines tend to be…I hate thin, watery wines that taste flat. Blech. Anyway, there are also other wines I enjoy at ALDI, but I’ll save those for another post.

My last new discovery of the week, the DW Home line of candles and home fragrances. I actually purchased one of these candles for $7.99 from TJ Maxx a couple of months ago, but I finally decided to look up DW Home online this week. They have a website, but there’s not much on it and you can’t purchase anything on that site.  They seem to update Facebook and Instagram more than their website.  I am now obsessed with this line of candles and I want more!

Fresh cut Gardenia - Image courtesy eBay

Fresh cut Gardenia – Image courtesy eBay

The candle I purchased is in a 15 oz glass jar and has very rich scent without being overwhelming or too pungent. You know how the scent of some strong candles gets caught in your nostril hairs and in your throat? This doesn’t do that at all. I purchased the Fresh Cut Gardenia scent and as much as I love gardenia (or Cape Jasmine as my mom would call them), the scent can be strong if you don’t really care for it too much. But this candle is subtle but has a very realistic scent and it smells as if you have a bouquet of gardenias on your table. I searched Amazon and eBay and the same size jar candle sells for $22 to $36! Whaaaa the whaaa?  I would imagine that if they carry it at TJ Maxx, you can also find this line at Ross and at Homegoods, but I’ve not search those places just yet. I recommend that you if you see this line of candles on the shelf at one of those places, snag a couple of jars. They would make excellent gifts and it’s a great buy for $7.99.