Tag Archives: Mom

Turkey Stuffing Makes Me Cry by Valerie J. Patterson

Who knew?  I mean it’s not something that’s ever happened before.  I had no idea that stuffing and I were so close it could make me cry.  But it did.  In a very big way.  And I was caught unaware right there in the aisle of the grocery store.  Unaware and unprepared for the force of emotions that washed over me and left me sobbing and left my husband bewildered.

It was a very innocent trip to the store to stock up for Thanksgiving dinner.  Had everything in the cart and turned down the aisle with the bread crumbs and the premixed stuffing selections and the seasonings.  I looked up at the canister of bread crumbs and instantly, tears began to stream down my face as I choked back sobs.  Steve came beside me, placed a hand on my back and rubbed gentle little circles between my shoulder blades.

“What’s wrong?”


“I don’t understand.  What happened?”

“I saw the bread crumbs and it reminded me of my mom.”


My mom passed away October 20th, and I’m in that phase of mourning where just seeing something or hearing something brings a flood of tears.  Mornings are the worst for me.  I’ll be getting ready for work, see the time on the clock and break down.  But stuffing caught me off guard.

From the time I was old enough to wield a knife, I sat in the kitchen with my mom and dad and–while they did other things–I chopped onion and celery into microscopic slivers for my mom’s homemade turkey stuffing.  Mom liked the flavor of both in her stuffing but hated biting into chunks of either one.  After I got married and moved away, my dad took over my dicing duties unless by some stroke of luck we arrived early enough for me to do the honor.

It’s been many years since I last chopped any onion or celery in my mom’s kitchen, which is why I was taken aback when, right there in the aisle, I was overtaken with emotion.  I guess I just never expected a canister of bread crumbs to affect me in quite a personal way.

Mom was an excellent cook.  She was the best friend I never expected, but was blessed to have.  She was strength and grace and beauty and charm.  She was warm and funny and loving and tough.  She was heart and soul and faith and light.  She was generous and giving and sympathetic and compassionate.  She and my dad were active participants in my life and I have equal parts of both of them inside of me–of the person I am.  And because of all of that, stuffing can make me cry!

I miss my mom.  I will miss her for the rest of my life, but we will meet again, and what a reunion that will be!

2016 has been a year of hard knocks and loss, but it has also been a year of great blessing, and I have much to be thankful for.  And I am indeed thankful.

Until next time, may you always be able to see the blessings in your life and may the memories you share add flavor to your days!

Happy 90th birthday, Mom!

Happy 90th birthday, Mom!
A week or so ago, we held a special event in our family. A celebration of the 90th birthday of our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, aunt, and friend. The past year was a bit of a health crisis year, but things have leveled out, Mom is healthy and still living in her own house and driving, and we wanted to celebrate this milestone.

We’ve done these gatherings before, and I am continually awed at how well this family works together. First, there were several planning sessions. Wine and/or beer may or may not have been involved, but a lot of work got done, too. Menus planned, venue settled, invite list grown.

One brother and sister-in-law provided the venue…their back yard, God bless them! And if you’ve ever hosted a party, you know what it takes to get that yard to shine extra special. The other brother and sister-in-law provided amazing food, table and chair reconnaissance and delivery, and a special talent for ambiance and decorating I truly admire. Two long distance sisters provided food and lots of moral support. And various cousins and grandchildren also brought food.
When the day arrived, we all congregated…63 adults and children, to honor Mom. It was an afternoon of awesome conversations, reminiscences, and checking in on current lives. And all because of our mother.

She is kind.
She taught me the “family first” rule.
And that being myself was the perfect way to be.
That working together is easier than butting heads.
And that helping people is the best feeling in the whole wide world.

And that’s why my brothers and sisters and I work so well together. And our husbands and wives join in with the same dedication. Because Mom loves us all unconditionally.

I know this is getting pretty sappy, but I can’t stop bragging about the wonderful family I am part of. And the wonderful world we’ve created. A world that keeps expanding with each grandchild and great-grandchild.

By the way, here’s the specs for Mom’s family:

5 children
9 grandchildren
17 great-grandchildren

And a legacy that will live on for years to come. Next stop…100!

In Honor of Mother

IMG_20120311_153238Don’t run for your calendar. It’s not Mother’s Day. FYI – if you DID check your calendar, you are WAY late on those Mom accolades. 🙂

My mother’s birthday is this next Tuesday, the 16th. She will be 89 years young. And I would like to honor her with a few words. Especially this year, since we just had a medical scare with her that, well, to be blunt, scared the crud out of all of us “kids”. However, I’m glad to be able to report the scare has passed and she is once again back in her own home, driving, and being the independent person myself and my 4 siblings have tried to model ourselves after.

My mother was born to a father who worked in sawmills and a mother who worked as a telephone operator. Post high school, she started some business courses, but soon found full time employment. One of the things she did for fun was roller skating. It’s funny because that’s also something I loved to do. I even managed to instill that fondness for skating in one of my daughters. Three generations of women skated at the same roller rink—until they tore it down and put up a car lot. Sigh.

Mom worked full time while raising us kids. There are five of us. Dad worked, too, and we didn’t see him much. So I consider Mom to be the biggest influence in my life. She taught me…

  • Right from wrong.
  • That helping was better than selfishness.
  • That making mistakes is part of life and we must both learn from them, as well as right the wrongs when we can and apologize.
  • That family is everything.
  • That laughter pushes the hurts away.
  • That humble feels better than bragging.
  • And probably the biggest lesson I ever learned from her, was that it was okay to be my own flawed self. That I am loved no matter what. 🙂

So, after a month of excessive worry over her illness, and blessed relief as she rallied and returned to good health, I, along with my two sisters and two brothers, celebrate our mother. My brother said it best when he told the hospital doctor that our mother is “exceptionally amazing”.

She is the best of the best.

Happy early birthday, Mom!