My husband, Joel and I have decided that our seven-year-old daughter Grace is ready for some responsibility. We told her she could get a pet fish or turtle. She had decided she wants a turtle.
Today, on the way home from her art class, Grace and I were talking about what she is going to get for her future turtle. In the state of Georgia, you’re not allowed to keep box turtles. So we were discussing what kind of turtles she might have to chose from. For some reason, she got it in her head that she was going to have a male and female. I told her she gets to start with ONE! So she said that she would get a boy since the girls lay the eggs. She wouldn’t want the girl to have to take care of all the baby turtles by herself. Hhhhhmmmm…. But then I told her that even if she got a girl turtle she wouldn’t lay eggs if there wasn’t a boy turtle in there with her. “WHY NOT?!”, she asked. I explained to her that in order for there to be baby turtles, there has to be a Daddy turtle and a Mommy turtle. “WHY?” she asked. I started feeling like I was being interrogated. Well, I guess I was. I told her that it’s kind of like baking a cake. You need to have all the ingredients to make a cake. The Daddy has some of the ingredients and the Mommy has the other ingredients. She pipes up, “So it’s like teamwork!” Yes, my sweet, sweet, little girl. It is exactly like teamwork!!!! Here I thought it was going to be awkward. Silly me.
Sometimes people are placed in your life for reasons you don’t see for years. When I was little, my best friend Hillary and I spent a lot of time at her house. I can recall many weekend BBQs at her Grandparents Peg and Larry’s house. I learned to play pool in their basement. I first played Badminton in her Great-aunt Anne’s & Great-uncle Jack’s San Diego back yard. I was invited to many family birthdays and even spent a few holidays with them. They were the family I never had. Not to say that I was without an actual family. But I was the third of four kids. My oldest sister moved out when I was six. My next-oldest sister is five years my senior and at that point, we really didn’t have much in common (if only we knew then how much we would love each other now…). So, I went with my surrogate family whenever invited.
Hillary’s Mom Cindy was a class act. The woman always looked good. She was an amazing cook. She loved to bake. She celebrated everything. Everyone got a birthday cake. She made the greatest Halloween costumes; most of which she wouldn’t reveal until the big night! Oh, the suspense!
I always knew I loved her. But it wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized how much she molded me. She was such a great example to me. Sure, she had her moments. But Lord knows Hil and I tested that woman’s patience. It’s an art form, really. She was a stern monther. But I knew deep down, it was all out of love.
Today, Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Cindy would have turned 63. She must be putting her hands on her hips, cocking her head to the side as I tell her age. But I wanted to celebrate her life today. I felt a void in my own mother-daughter relationship growing up that was filled by Cindy with love, structure, Bocky-Chicken Casserole, English tea, Sour Dough toast with butter and honey and good lessons. Thank you Cindy for mothering me the way you did. I love you and miss you more than you will ever know.
Cindy, Hillary, myself, Steve (Hil's Dad) and Owen (Hil's son) at my wedding November 12, 2005.