Posted tagged ‘Moms’

Spiced Tea

December 20, 2010

    A friend’s  recent blog post about her hilarious misadventures in making her favorite seasonal drink for gifts, prompted me to think about my own attempts to do the same.  While LC’s mulling spices eventually ended up in a pretty little packet inside a stately looking coffee mug with a hand drawn and signed tag attached, mine have never made it off my counter top.  It’s probably the one thing in my life that I am supremely selfish about.

I came home from my first year of college with a passion for spiced tea.  Not the Candy Cane Lane Gingerbread Spice tea bag variety…..although I do have a certain affection for the Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.  And I do like plain ole  Lipton’s tea when I need to ‘warm my core’ on a cold wintry evening.

However,  my real tea obsession  is with the spiced tea concoction we used to whip up in our dorm rooms.  Pour a bottle of unsweetened ice tea granules, a cup of sugar, a whole container of instant Tang (the ‘space age’ breakfast drink), a couple tablespoons of cinnamon and a shake or two of ground cloves into a bowl. Mix it all together and beware of the rising dust.

Ah choo…..

 Put two heaping spoonfuls in a mug of boiling water and the mere smell with lull you into contentment.  Ah……..

I think I did what LC did….once.  I mixed a batch and tucked small bags inside a pretty little mug with a ribbon and a tag and gave it away to friends.  I think I gave a whole container of it to my sister…….once.

But this mix is something that I make once in a great while.  Its something that warms my ‘core’ like nothing else does. 

And as I have aged the sugar has been replaced with Splenda and I look for the decaffeinated unsweetened tea granules.

I am not a coffee drinker….

Or an alcohol drinker……..

But I can seriously get a little tipsy on this stuff.

And get a seriously aggravating headache from the sugar buzz if I drink too much at once.

It’s easy to make so I have no idea why it’s so difficult for me to share it.  All I know is that if you reach for this unobtrusive container on my countertop…..

……you will – most likely – be taking your life into your own bare hands.

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You Do The Best You Can

May 9, 2010

This is my father, his mother and ‘Uncle Webb.’  I have no idea who Uncle Webb is. I have never met my father’s mother.  I know that her name was Daisy Florence and – by all accounts – she was a fiesty farm wife.  My Dad tells of how, when my Grandfather forbade her to leave the farm and removed the battery from their car so she couldn’t, she simply lifted the battery from the radio, hooked it up to the car and went anyway.  Hee.  She died giving birth to her third child – another boy – and was buried on my father’s seventh birthday….along with his baby brother.

This is my mother’s mother…..in the bloom of her teenage years.  She was the oldest of twelve children.  She left home at at early age as a bride, gave birth to three children and took them away from an abusive husband and father when it was difficult to do so.  She was divorced when it wasn’t the ‘thing to do.’  She said her father helped her find a home and a job and made her stand on her own two feet as a mother and provider and she would always be grateful to him for doing that.  She would marry again, have a fourth child, lose that husband to cancer, marry again to her soul mate, lose him to cancer and marry…yet again….only to lose HIM as well.  She was in her late nineties when she died.  She instilled in her children a devotion to family that is like no other.  They supported her and helped her live on her own until the day she died.  She was Mother, Aunt Mabel, Gram and GG.

This is my husband’s mother.  She was a military wife and mom.  She raised seven children while her husband served in the Marine Corp.  World War II, Korea and Viet Nam.  After two tours in ‘Nam she finally put her foot down and said ‘no more.’  Her husband continued to serve as a Corp recruiter until he retired and then they came home to Michigan.  She worked, went to school and saw her teenagers to adulthood and parenthood.  She lost her oldest daughter to a car accident. She was able to hold her very first great grandchild in her arms before passing away.  That child just turned 12.

This is my mother, my cousin and me.  My sister is also in this picture but hasn’t been born yet.  I love this picture because – even though you can’t see her face – you can get a real sense of who my mother is.  She is caring and loving.  It is her nature to look after other people.  Her children.  Her friend’s children. Her children’s friends. Her neice (who was also a child of divorce).  Her nephew. Her softball team.  Other people’s children.  People from her various jobs.  Her Mother.  Her siblings.  A nuturer.  That’s just who MY mother is.

And I am the mother of two rug rats who were born on the opposite side of the world to women I have never met.  One arrived by a Korean airline and the other by Russian court.  They are sports nuts and I am not.  I love to read and they do not.  Every single day we grapple with our differences and our boundaries and our lessons to one another.  Raising teens is not for the faint of heart.  But there is hope for a happy ending.  Just ask my sister.  She has raised two of her own.

And survived.

As I watch my stepdaughters parent their children and deal with the continuing parenting of mine, I am reminded of the other Mothers in my life.  Mothers who coped with stubborn farmer husbands, abuse and joy, long absences with no promises, nuturing of those around them…. 

I have learned only one thing.

You do the best that you can.

And that’s all you can.

Amen.

Happy Mother’s Day!