Spring flowers. Warm, sunny days with blue skies. Nostalgia and reminiscing swirl in my head during the merry month of May when both my mother and her mother celebrated birthdays: May 6 for my Irish grandmother and May 14 for my mother. It is finally warm enough for the apple blossoms to showcase their abundance along with some garden flowers. And add to that Mother’s Day. Sometimes my mother’s birthday fell on Mother’s Day. There are so many generations of strong women in my family. On both sides. My father wrote a genealogy of the Niemczura side of the family but never had time left to research my mother’s side. My sister is doing that now, and I rely on her knowledge and research. Fortunately we have some family photos which have survived – six generations!
My Nana Mooney had the “gift of gab” as she termed it. My mother inherited that gift and possessed a voracious vocabulary which can only come from inherent talent and years of reading. My father’s writing talent has also survived in his diaries of his travels to Eastern Europe and China. Both he and my mother were world travelers after his retirement as an engineer. While I never quite understood at the time, I now know why he asked me to write letters during my student years in Heidelberg, Germany and send pictures – lots of pictures. I have documented that earlier part of my life. And he and my mother saved each of those letters which I have in my garage in the same large plastic trash bin he put them in. One for each of his daughters. You see, my parents lived and saw the world through our eyes with these letters and photos.
In my classes I pose the issue of how we best preserve our past for future generations. Will we have computers as we know them now? Will paper and pictures last and survive for very long? From generation to generation, we swap family stories and look at pictures in albums. I had so many names on the Irish side of my family in my mind: Dolan, Connor, Ryan, Connell and Mooney to name a few.
Today’s blog entry is a tribute to my mother, her mother and to all the strong women on both sides of my family. Happy Birthday, Nana and Mom. We still remember you with fondness and love and silently speak to you quite often. For, as generations before us did, I still keep family near and dear to my heart and mind. It is then with this sentiment that I celebrate all mothers on this weekend wherever they may be. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!