Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom at a Barbershop Choir convention
My mother is no longer walking amongst in the land of the living.  At age 51, June, 1981 she left us after a battle with cancer. I miss her just as much today as I did then. Probably even more since the anger has departed and now all I have are precious memories of the woman who birthed 8 children and longed for more. However, my birth wasn't the easiest and she made me her caboose.  It's best described as ending with perfection. Smile.

Today I wanted to share with you a story of eggnog.  Many people don't care for its texture or flavor. As for me, gimme, gimme, gimme! Let's not trouble ourselves the high fat and calorie content as you walk with me on the path of joyful memories.

Please to enjoy, Mama's Christmas Eggnog

Ever since I can remember I have loved eggnog. While passing Fannie May Candies I eyed a sign in the window advertising their new item: Cheesecake. Like Homer Simpson spying a donut I muttered, "mmmm cheeeeesecake..." I adore cheesecake, too. Fannie May has brought together two of my favorite holiday treats! Eggnog cheesecake! Again, I mentally take on another character; Will Ferrell's Buddy the Elf. I was subconsciously singing in the mall, "CHEESECAKE! I loooooooooove cheesecake and eggnog..eggnog cheesecake.. I-WANT-TO- EAT- IT- NOW!" I'm sure my co-worker was unaware of the scenario blaring through my head. Had this truly happened I'm sure I'd still be explaining to mall security how I managed to escape from my straight jacket.

When did the love affair between eggnog and my taste buds first blossom? I can't recall the first time my tongue lapped up the delicious dairy-nog, but I assure you it was non-alcoholic. I do know that my mother made it from scratch. I cannot tell you how she concocted my most favorite and beloved holiday beverage. The treat she made far surpasses any gunk you can buy pre-made. Her's was smooth, not too heavy or thick. My taste buds were doing the dance of the Sugar Plum Faeries as it slid down my throat. She'd dollop frothy egg whites on top with a light dusting of nutmeg. My eyes would dance wildly with excitement just awaiting that first sip. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve were the only occasions eggnog was brought to the buffet table. I suppose that made it all that more special to me and still is to this day.

Each Christmas season I am rabid for eggnoggy products. Eggnog to drink. I cut the commercial stuff with 2% milk...too thick. Eggnog Latte' at Starbucks. Eggnog ice cream at Oberweis. I bought a quart of Oberweis eggnog to add to my coffee in the morning. And now, Eggnog cheesecake at Fannie May. I'd probably use eggnog flavored toothpaste if it were on the market.

Eggnog brings me back to the happiness that was my childhood. The thrills of traditions created by my beautiful mother. Her image in the kitchen; singing her favorite Christmas songs. Her voice a sweet sound. Her song erased any sadness or disappointment I may have felt. Momma's Emeraude perfume lofting in the air. It's melodically stuck in my nasal cavity.

You see, drinking eggnog is more than just consumption of a holiday beverage for me. It's chocked full of beautiful memories. It's not only a memory of a punch bowl filled with a creamy concoction; it's recollection of admiration and love. Not only my regard toward my mother, but her regard to me as her child. She created memories that are sacred.

Everything was perfect at Christmastime. She taught me that wrapping a gift wasn't just a means to keep it secretive, it was to be done with loving care. Each fold of the paper was her way of giving of herself. Every gift inside was a piece of her heart and soul. My mother didn't haphazardly slap on wrapping, sloppily apply the tape or smack on a bow without care. She was an artiste.

She worked in customer service at Montgomery Ward when I was a wee tot. I loved going to see her there at Christmas. She was the master gift wrapper. I think people came to know she'd not only don their package with the shimmering foil paper, but she'd treat their purchases as if she'd bought them herself for someone special.

There was a lot to learn from my mom. I often wish she was here to counsel me in my day to day life. I suppose in many ways she does. She had far more patience than I. Mom could turn around any one's frown, sadness or dismay. I think over time it became a curse. No matter who she encountered, people loved her.

My Dad wrote a short Christmas story with my Mom as the main character. I hope to find a copy of it and share it here. After years of observing how my Mom pulled together Christmas (even if the money wasn't there), my Dad speculated that Santa had to be a woman; his wife. Mom created magic at Christmas. It was truly the most incredible homage any man could pay to his wife; the mother of his 8 children (after her death he remarried an extraordinary woman; through that union 2 more children blessed our family and new traditions would be made.)

Christmas is a glorious time overflowing with memories. Love is what abounds in my heart because of the unconditional love bestowed upon me by my parents. My enchanting mother taught me that Christmas is magic. It's not magic that comes from a wand or a potion. It's the magic you feel in your very soul.


  1. I have chills. There is not a comment I could leave that would do this post justice.
    This is probably the most beautiful, touching and wonderful tribute to a mother that I have EVER read.
    Your mother is watching you with immense pride....what an incredible daughter you are.
    My heart broke when I read your Mother passed at the terribly young age of 51....way too soon...I loved how you referred to yourself as the "caboose"...have never heard that before and I just adored it.
    You brought back memories of "Emeraude" perfume...(in the lovely green I know how your Mom smelled too, I used to love smelling that perfume)
    I love egg nog and cheesecake too, I wish I had known your Mom to have tasted hers....
    Trust me, your mother is BEAMING from Heaven right now!

  2. Your mother sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I loved reading about your loving memories -- I just know she is so proud of the woman you've become!

  3. I don't think I need to tell you how I feel about this post, but i think I can sum it all up in one word for you. E G G N O G !!


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