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Sunday, May 9

A Mother's Day Memory

Roses from my grandma's garden, summer 2008.
My aunt, Jonathan's grandmother, and my Nonna at our wedding, December 2007
My mom standing in Palos Verdes, Summer 2005. My great-grandmother's house is in the bottom right corner.
Our pretty niece yesterday in the backseat of my car...she wanted to ride with Uncle Jon-Jon from his sister's graduation to the local Mexican restaurant.
On Mother's Day 1999, my grandma was visiting us from Southern California. I don't remember many of the details of that trip, but I do remember being in church on Mother's Day. During the service, our preacher wanted to recognize all of the mothers in the congregation. He said he wished that he could give all of the mothers a prize (in this case, a red rose), but unfortunately he only had roses for the youngest mother, oldest mother, and the mother who had traveled the farthest to be with her family on this special day. People began to raise their hands to try to claim the first two prizes, and they were quickly awarded. "Now," said our preacher, "How far did your mother travel to be here today?" Mothers and daughters began to shout out "Nashville!" "Memphis!" and other cities in the South. Then, my mother stood up and said, "Los Angeles!" A hush went over the crowd, and then the preacher said, "I think we have our winner." My grandma went to the pulpit to claim her rose. I'll never forget that day and how it felt to be three generations of women, sitting together on Mother's Day. My mother and grandmother have always been my biggest source of inspiration, and the world just felt right when we were all together. I have missed that feeling so much over the past seven years. I think that's why our family traditions like gardening have become so important to me. When I'm working in my rose beds, my hands look more like my grandma's hands. I am connected to her, my great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother who all worked tirelessly on their roses long before I was ever born. But still I feel a strong connection to them, and I look forward to sharing the connection with my own daughter someday. This Mother's Day weekend, I was fortunate enough to see Jonathan's family as well as my own. His sister graduated from college, and we all gathered to celebrate her exciting accomplishment. His grandparents, parents, brother and niece were all there. As we stood in the sun, I was so glad to be a part of their lives. Then we went to Oxford to see my mother and sister. My sister is also celebrating an important milestone this month. She's starting graduate school. We tend to take the people who are the most important to us for granted, and yesterday I was reminded once again how important my family is to me. I look forward to spending time with everyone this summer. It's going to be a good one.

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