I just returned home from a trip to Colorado and my suitcase was so full that I had to ask my dad for a belt to keep it shut! And just what did I pack that made the seams of my suitcase strain under extreme pressure? A few of my  mother's treasures.

 Anyone remember these? The autograph dog.  My mother was a member of the Tri Delta Sorority, and this was a keepsake from her 'sisters'

She was  a child of the 40's, teenager in the 50's, wife in the 60's, mother in the 70's, and grandmother in the new millennium. And through it all she had grace, style and a fierce love for her family.

My mother was an artist, but she would never call herself one. She was a painter, interior designer, chef and creative writer

She was one of the last of a dying breed ~ A Housewife.  She took that position very seriously. She was even a Home Economics major in college, but ironically dropped out close to graduation... to get married. Our house was immaculate (we even had one of those rooms that was only entered into when company came over), we always had home baked goodies in the house, she sewed our clothes(and all our doll's clothes), and made holidays remarkable, especially Christmas. If my dad called home at 4:30 and announced he as bringing home a co-worker for dinner my mom would manage to pull together a delicious meal, ready to eat at 5:30. And she loved my dad, even though he pulled those last minute invites on numerous occasions.  Every day she would change from her 'grubbies' into a nice outfit, fix her hair and put on a little makeup before my dad got home from work.  
My mom taught me that family is worth fighting for. Life has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day it's your family that catches you if you fall, grounds you, cheers the loudest for you, holds their breath when you take a giant step, and loves you the most.

My mother was a whiz with curlers; she could expertly roll her hair into neat rows and give herself a perm

My mother was a talented seamstress. We all had matching outfits at holidays.  She sewed all her own clothes her entire life

My mother would let me rifle through her jewelry box time after time

This was a little keepsake from her wedding day~ something blue

A little more something blue~ her garter, all handmade
She also taught me that there isn't anything I can't do if I work hard enough.  She was extremely proud of my sister and me. When she and I talked about my struggles with starting a small business she always encouraged me to keep moving forward.  There were times when I expected her to tell me that I'd given my business idea my best shot, but it was time to look for a career with more stability; she never did. If anything, she continued to remind me that success can take time, and my path is the right one.

Me and my mother, circa 1973

My mom passed away two weeks ago.  She had a tremendous life. When she was four years old she contracted polio, and her parents were told she wouldn't live past the age of thirty.  Not only did she pass that birthday, but she lived twice that long.  She and my dad were married for 53 years, had two children and now have five grandchildren.  She was never one to accept that she couldn't do the same things as everyone else. If tenacity, will power and stubbornness are strengths, then she was the strongest woman in the world. She was the greatest treasure in my life.

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