Friday, May 6, 2011

Celebrating Mother's in the Month of May- Blog 1: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Ellie, you bring so much love into our lives!  We heart you :)

My Dear Darling Daughter,

I really like that Mimi started calling you Ellie-rosebud (I always said when you were first born how perfect your lips were shaped like that of a rose). 

Yay for Moms and the month of May to celebrate them!!!  And how appropriate that you have become such a Momma's girl these days.  You are not one to leave my side for much longer than a few minutes.  And I am appreciating every second of it!

My Mother's Day gift from Mimi last year were these matching t-shirts!

I love Ellie that you love my Mom as much as I do!  Like I've said before, when she visits you are stuck to her hip.  Even though those visits are few and far between, thank goodness for Skype or you would be in withdrawal! 

Ellie playing Peek-A-Boo with her Mimi over Skype!

Ellie, I hope one day that you are blessed to become a mom (and I'm not selfishly saying that because I want to be a grandmother).  It truly is the best experience, the craziest ride, fun adventure, and most rewarding relationship you can ever have.  As I've said before, life is a gift and to be able to give that gift is indescribable and truly miraculous.  

I have always hoped that I could be half the parents that Mimi and Poppy are to me but more on Poppy over Father's Day!  Mimi shows me at every visit that she was meant to be maternal.  Everything in her being is given to her children and her grandchildren (those of her blood and those like your dad that she's adopted in).  Her focus is completely on those that she loves.  I swear she has a sixth sense to understand babies and children.  Mimi knew how to calm Kyle.  

This is your Mimi loving your brother Kyle.

And she sure has you attached to her hip from the time that she gets here to the time she leaves.  

Obviously I have too many memories to even write down about my mom so I've decided to write down those that taught me life's biggest lessons:

1.  Never turn a blind eye (When I was about 8, we were driving home through our neighborhood after running errands and we saw a little boy we didn't know covered in blood, limping while pulling his broken bike.  Mimi pulled the car over, cleaned him up as best as you could, put his bike in the trunk, and drove him home.  Now, don't you ever talk to strangers but this little boy was in pain and needed help).
2.  Give back and give to charities (Every year for Christmas, no matter how much money we had, we always got a family's name who was down on their luck from the church and we bought them groceries and toys for the holidays and then delivered it to their house).
3.  Make time for family (We never seemed to miss weddings, anniversaries parties, or any other big celebration with family members even those that lived far away).
4.  Fill your house with family pictures, it makes a house a warm home (Your Uncle Ryan counts to make sure that he's in at least as many, if not more than me but I think you might have him beat now Ellie Girl!).
5.  Keep your door open to guests (I can't tell you how many sleep-overs and parties I had at my house.  Looking back Mimi always knew where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing).
6.  The more the merrier (although this one stresses me out, I have some fond memories of football weekends where Mimi & Poppy slept in the living room on the air mattress because there were 16 relatives staying at our house.  On the first night of using the air mattress, Poppy sat down and Mimi flew right off!  But my parents would say, it was a great time having everyone together).
7.  Laugh at yourself (Mimi is always doing something goofy- for instance, one day I stayed in the car while she bought some plants at the gardening store.  She came out and got in the drivers' seat of the car next to ours, looked over, saw me, and waved...  Oops, she was in some other person's car!). 
8.  Find your passion with someone you love hanging out with (Every semester when I was at Penn State, Mimi would find a class for her and I to join together and maybe in the next blog, she will elaborate on why we either got kicked out of these classes or never finished them: intro to drawing, poetry, jazzercise, yoga, and then I moved away before we could try belly dancing.  But not to worry, we have found hiking, tea parties, ghost tours, and painting classes here in Denver).
9.  Nothing is more important than your children (When we thought Kyle was coming early, my Mom was on the first plane out of State College).
10. Do anything to make your child smile (My Mom never scrap-booked before in her life but when Kyle died, she thought it might be therapeutic to put one together to honor his life and truly it is a work of art that I will treasure forever).
11.  There is no such thing as too much color in either what you're wearing or how you decorate (My old bedroom at home in State College is now Mimi's self-proclaimed "happy room" complete with bright yellow walls, hot pink throw rugs and curtains, and a multi-colored rainbow quilt!).
12.  Never lose hope, keep faith, and always be positive-
On January 23, 2009 during Kyle's difficult pregnancy, my Mom wrote this email (one of many that encouraged and uplifted us):

Good Morning Kimberly,
Today is going to be a wonderful day.  It is the 9th day of our Novena.  (9 is a special number)
And it is the 23rd day of February.  (2 and 3 are also special numbers)
When you read this, give the baby an extra big smile.
Then give one more powerful mental image to St. Anne to place her healing hands on the baby.
I shall talk to you early afternoon.
I love you.
I love Justin.
I love Sweet Pea.
Love Mom :)

She always has the right words Ellie!  And on a funnier side, she also was out to visit prior to Kyle's birth and we had the idea to pray to St. Blaise with candles...

I hope that Mimi will share her relationship with Gram Bubbles.

All I can say is that I love Mimi with all of my heart Ellie and I know you already do too.  I think you are a perfect fit into our goofy relationship with our silly ideas! 
Love you!

And now from your Mimi…

Hi Sweet Rosebud,

Today my cup of tea could not be more perfect for I have read your mommy's part of our blog and am feeling very humbled.  I am so blessed with such a loving family and I pray that this abundance of love finds its way and settles in a secure place within your heart through all time.

Happy Mother's Day Mimi!  Love you!

This month our blog theme is Mother's Day.  Here is its definition:

Mother's Day:  The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May.  The holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 as a day to honor ones mother.  Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother's dream of making a celebration for all mothers, so she enlisted the services of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker to help.  She continued to promote the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.  

Ellie's onesie says 100% loved by Grandma- so true!!! 

So Ellie, this first week of May I shall tell you about two very special women in my life... my own mother and also Poppy's mother.

Your Great Grandmom Jones is a very strong woman Ellie with a heart of gold.  Let me take you back a bit.  She was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., the second oldest of 4 children.  She was tall and slender, with gorgeous dark hair and a full bottom lip, quite beautiful by the photographs we hold... your Great Pop-pop Bud would have attested to that!   To this day she is still beautiful with her short-cropped silvery hair and sparkling eyes!  Her older brother, Uncle Eddie, passed away in 1994 leaving your Great-Gram and her sisters Aunt Phyllis and Aunt Midge to watch out for each other... but more on them in another blog.  When she was 20 years old, she went to a wedding where she met my dad, your Great Pop-pop Bud, who was in the Navy and stationed at the Philadelphia. Shipyard.  Long story short... they fell in love, married, and my father whisked her away to start a new life in Green Bay, WI where he was born and raised and all his family lived.   Knowing no one in a strange town made for a somewhat difficult beginning, but my mom being the strong women she is found her way.  She and my dad had 3 children, your Aunt Sheri who is a year and a half older than me, me of course, and your Uncle Steve who is 6 and a half years younger than me.  She raised us with a lot of love and a very stern hand (that always seemed to find itself holding a wooden spoon) when it came to discipline!  She taught us to be polite and respectful to all others, especially our elders.  When my siblings and I were very little and visiting your great-great grandparents, we were given strict instructions to sit very quietly on the couch in the parlor while the adults visited in the kitchen.  Now that is a somewhat difficult task to ask of 3 children under the age of 12, but your Aunt Sheri (the leader of our pack) would take control of the evening and have us play the game "I Spy" over and over until the visit was complete.  We resembled the 3 monkeys.... Hear no evil, Speak no evil, and See no evil... I being the shyest claimed Speak no evil!   If we were very good and quiet like church mice, we would be given one little candy-bar to take home with us.  My mom was always pleased when we didn't start the "sibling fight"!  Your Great Grandmom Jones also was our strongest supporter enrolling us in multiple activities and encouraged us to be the best we could be.  Your Aunt Sheri, the first born, was of course the "straight A schoolgirl" who could also whip up a complete Thanksgiving feast containing "made from scratch" side dishes, bread and pies all at the tender age of 15!  Your Uncle Stevie of course was all "baseball" becoming a star pitcher from Little League through Babe Ruth.  And then there was me.  I guess you could call me the "2 year girl."  I took piano lessons, cello lessons, baton lessons, cheerleading, an assortment of school club activities, etc... Each and everything lasting no more than two years; as I would progressively lose interest in them.  Your Great-Grandmom never gave up on me though; she believed that eventually I would find my calling.  She also encouraged each of us to find and pursue our passion.  Your Great-Grandmom was an amazing artist.  From charcoal sketching to oil and watercolor paintings, her work was incredibly beautiful.  In fact Ellie, you have in your possession one of her original creations; a gorgeous framed and signed watercolor of your name ... treasure it always!  

Grandmom's beautiful butterfly watercolor that was made just for you Ellie!

Grandmom not only attended a variety of art classes through the years, but she also joined art clubs and taught classes herself!  Your Uncle Steve who at one time played all sports now coaches baseball, football and loves to play a round of golf with friends.  Your Aunt Sheri enjoys dabbling in different art media and also researching our ancestry.  

Mimi, Aunt Sheri, and You Ellie-Girl... this is an awesome trio of fabulous women!

I think I am still searching for my passion Ellie as it seems to be more advanced at hiding within me.  I need to look deeper than underneath beds and in closets!  I do love to write though, and this is the one passion that has lasted past my "2 year" mark.  Hmmmmm... could this be mine???  Your Great-Grandmom also showed us by example to take an active role in family.  Besides the yearly cross-country vacations to Philly and the weekly weekend vacations to Wheeler Lake, my mom was always taking us and friends to Bay Beach, Seymour Lake or the movies.  Your Great Gram also taught us from a young age on to stay within our means financially.  She was a strong believer in the idea that nothing comes free, you need to work hard and earn your place in society.  When we were young your Great-Gram had what she called a  "Job Jar" set on the kitchen counter for idle children.... meaning children who whined that there was nothing to do the day after school let out for summer vacation; actually had plenty to do!   The "Job Jar" was a glass jar and rather large so as to hold many slips of white paper with various jobs written on them.  Example:  dusting to weeding and everything in between, she covered it all!  So if we dared to complain, (which of course we did given our ages) we were marched right over to the job-jar where we would stick in our hand and pray that we did not pull out the "Clean out the window-wells" card.  Too many spiders - eeeeeeek!  Sometimes we got a fun one such as the card that read "Pull everything out of the kitchen cupboards and clean thoroughly!"  I don't know what your Aunt Sheri and I were thinking at the time, but now looking back on those days, I think your Great Grandmom Jones violated most of the child labor laws!  We tease her now Ellie but during our growing up years, she was one tough cookie.  Anytime we "wanted" something but didn't have quite enough money to purchase it ourselves, my mom would lend it to us and quickly enter our name, the date and the amount we borrowed in her little Black Book.  It was expected that we always pay back our debts and we did.  The three of us have since agreed when she passes from this world, that little Black Book is probably going to get buried with her!  Heaven help those in heaven!   Speaking of heaven, she also taught us to live by the same rule her mom taught her.... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.   She attends church faithfully and is an active volunteer member in her community.  Ellie, this is one of your Great Grandmother's greatest gifts that she has instilled within me.  I too find strength in my faith.  I too find volunteering important and a way to use our God given talents in a positive way.  It certainly validates a purpose to our lives.   When your Great Pop-pop Bud passed away 12 years ago, my mom was so appreciative of the kindness and compassion that Hospice bestowed on him, she "Paid it Forward" by joining their volunteer team and helping others in similar situations.   I admire her greatly Ellie and love her with all my heart.  She is the best role model God could have given me.  Even though there are many miles between us, she is only a phone call away.  We chat frequently.  And our teatime is taken in spirit.

Ellie's bib says, My Grandma is the Best!  Love you Great-Gram Bubbles!

Another amazing woman in my life would be your Great Grandmom Gigi, Poppy's mom.  She is beautiful Ellie, a tiny bit of a thing with gorgeous silvery white hair and smiling eyes.  When I made my decision to move permanently from Green Bay to Philly, your Great Gigi opened her door, her arms and her heart to me completely!  It was very easy to make the transition from calling her Cass to calling her Mom.  Because your Great Gigi had a complicated growing up life, of which your mommy can share some of those stories with you... she has placed great value and strong love on her own family.  She loves deeply Ellie; she would give her right arm to one of her own if necessary.  Her children, her grandchildren and now her great-grandchildren are and always were her whole world.  When your Poppy and I lived on Wheeler St. in Philly, about 10 row-houses down from your Great-Gigi, it was perfect as your mommy and Uncle Ryan would run back and forth from our house to their house dozens of times a day.  Great Gigi's door was always open, loving every minute her grandchildren would spend with her.  I remember when the neighborhood Catholic School was getting rid of their old-fashioned medal desks with the wooden sidebars, your Great Gigi purchased 2 of them for her living room.  As soon as your mommy and Uncle Ryan came into her house, Gigi would slide those big old medal desks right in front of the TV for her grandchildren to watch cartoons. She would place a bowl of their favorite ice cream on the desktop along with some coloring books and an old cigar-box filled with crayons.   Oh, and remember in our last blog that I mentioned Sunday dinners were always held at Great Gigi's home?  Well what I forgot to tell you was that she not only cooked up some awesome roast-beef dinners, she also cooked like she was feeding the whole United States Army!  Ellie, she made sure every ones plates were filled to the point of almost spilling over, never wanting anyone to leave hungry. Great Gigi loved spending time outside with your mommy and Uncle Ryan too, watching them play in the kiddy pool and riding their hot-wheels up and down the sidewalk. During family get-away vacations you would find Great Gigi spending more time with her grandchildren than with the adults.  She truly enjoys her time with them Ellie.  They are the light of her life.  Poppy's mom could have also been the mayor of our southwest Philly neighborhood because of her outgoing and always cheerful personality.  I think it was because of her employment, cashiering at the neighborhood Shop N Bag grocery store, that your Great Gigi knew everyone and everyone not only knew her, but loved her also.  She has a special knack for making people feel comfortable and first timers feeling like they've known her forever.  During her years living in Southwest Philly she was active in politics always rallying to better the neighborhood.  It was because of your Great Gigi that so many neighbors from the old street came to know each other and treat each other like family.  She was an important factor in making our "street" a one of a kind place to live, a place where outsider's were envious of.  Poppy's mom was great at rallying up a Sunday night card game too with half the street crowded around her dining-room table playing all kinds of poker hands.  She is a lot of fun Ellie.  I find her to be an amazing role model when it comes to raising a family.  Your great Gigi is also my saving grace when it comes to taking lengthy car trips.  Although sometimes we end up chatting so much so that we miss the off ramps we are suppose to take.  More times than not we end up lost, needing lots of extra time to get back on track, and of course giggling all the way.  She is a terrific shopper too. Saturday afternoons consist of a lunch usually at Panera Bread followed by a jaunt to whatever store needs to be seen.  Great Gigi is a people pleaser and because of this she has taught me that by putting others and their feelings first, you will teach kindness as well as receive kindness from others each and everyday.  I love her with all my heart Ellie and feel very blessed to have married her son, your Poppy, and been accepted so openly into her family.

Listening to your Gigi read aloud!  You like her choice of books!  Love you Gigi!

Kimberly, would it be OK if next week we dedicate our blog to Mother's who have lost children?  I would very much like to share with Ellie some stories seen through my eyes of your love and sacrifice with the pregnancy and birth of Kyle as well as your pregnancy with Ellie.  I will honor and respect your answer either way.  I thought this would be a perfect time to talk about Kyle's Walk and how something uplifting can come from a tragedy.  

I shall end here Ellie with this thought for you:  The saying "There is no greater love than a Mother's love" is true.  I for one can attest to that.

Till next time little Rosebud.
Love Mimi


  1. wow that was a beautiful tribute, it brought me to tears . I will always admire your family for their kindness,love and respect for one another . What fabulous role models you all are, you inspire me to do better . Mickey and Kim you both have a talent for writng. Ellie is one lucky and truly blessed little girl, the wonderful and amazing things she will become because of your family and their loving guidance ..................I can;t wait to see :) Love you ladies you are the best !

  2. Absolutely Beautiful. My only wish would be that every mother had the same love you two share and continue to share with others, especially Ellie. This is truly a beautiful gift for Ellie and also a incredible gift for both of you to be able to share these thoughts. Thank you so much for allowing all of us to follow this beautiful path of Life. I love it. I also love the fact that I know you both personally and Love you all. Kim, I have not been on Face book much but Ellie is truly a beautiful little girl. Love you always, Linda

  3. Ladies, thank you for the very nice words. I'm glad that you like reading these as much as we like to write them. And Ellie is lucky to have people like you in her lives too!