Sunday, March 20, 2016

...the daughter of Mama Chefwannabe

Good Sunday evening friends.  I know that about now, I would be asking you all what was for Sunday supper, who you shared it with and all that kind of nosey stuff.  The truth is, I haven't had the desire to cook a single Sunday supper in over a month.  I can barely just fix something for my husband to eat on a weekday, I just am not feeling myself, and hope you all understand.

I feel like I need to tell you all about Marlene Smith.  What a smart, funny, diva, demanding, kind hearted, beautiful, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, daughter, friend, and neighbor she was.  I hate using the word "was".  It makes it seems like she is history and forgotten.  She was a fighter, with a will to live unlike anything I have seen.  She struggled, life held many struggles for her, and it held even more joy, she wouldn't want to talk about the struggles, she would just want to remember what she learned from them and how to not repeat them.  I miss her so much.  Let me start at the beginning...........

My mom was born in 1933.  She lived to the royal age of 82 (83 in July).  She grew to be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  She had many careers, she was a model (woo-woooooo), she was a teacher, she was a waitress, she was a secretary, but most importantly she was the mom of 10 children.  As the youngest of the 10, she always referred to me as her "baby".  I hated it.  I hated it so much, I would give my left arm to hear her say it just one more time!

My mom struggled.  Her and my dad who came just 9 months short of their 60th anniversary, were not wealthy in money.  Wealthy in love, and family, but monetarily, very, unwealthy.  My mom struggled with some emotional issues, arthritis, and a few other chronic issues.  My mom was not a perfect mom, I don't know anyone who is.  My mom was the best mom she could be, and she grew to be an even better mom with age.  Hers AND ours.  My mom and I didn't always get along great in my teen years, I don't know many teen girls who don't butt heads from time to time.  I even went a handful of years without speaking to my mom.  What a WASTE.  I can never get that time back and the truth be told.........I don't even remember what it was about!  Likely some bad choice I made that I didn't want to own up to.  Man, I have made plenty of those.  I realized pretty early in my 30's, that my mom was a wealth of wisdom and knowledge and love.  I decided instead of avoiding her at all cost, I should be spending every chance I could, spending time with her to learn everything I could from her.  I had so much to learn!  And before I knew it, I realized she was no longer just my mom she was becoming my best friend.  We spent a lot of time together and talked about many things.  We talked about the past, we dreamed about the future, and we watched LOTS of "Little House On The Prairie".

I learned so much about cooking from her.  We would laugh about how she could make 1 lb of ground beef and 2lbs of macaroni and her canned tomatoes feed all 12 of us.  How we would be on a treasure hunt for an actual piece of ground beef!  How she would add water to soup to make it go further!  Any meat she had leftover was going to undoubtedly become a ground up sandwich spread.  I curse those damn meat grinder inventors!  She made homemade spaghetti sauce like a dream.  It took her an entire day to cook.  I never knew you could even buy it in a store until I was 20 years old!  Cinnamon rolls, kolaches, meatloaf, and fried chicken were her claims to fame.  Nobody can TOUCH the woman's fried chicken, NOBODY.  I got to eat the ends of the rolls of cinnamon rolls that weren't perfect, and we used to eat raw ground beef and hot dogs, oh the things we did.
She always had a pitcher of ice tea in the fridge for friends dropping by.  She was a woman with manners and expectations of others manners, like a queen.  She always knew what fork to use,  the perfect lipstick color, and precisely what jewelry complimented an outfit.  I loved all of those things about her.

In mid January, my mom suffered a small stroke at home.  We drove to their house 4 hours away and after much resistance got her to agree to go to the hospital.  I had no idea the journey was not going to end in her return home, but her return HOME.  She suffered a few more strokes of ranging degrees of intensity.  She endured a brain surgery, set backs, successes that led nowhere and she still fought on.  She suffered physical pain, inability to eat, or speak, and looking back, she never waivered.  She continued to fight, until at last, it was time for her to close her eyes and open them back up in heaven.  I was not ready, none of us were ready, how can you EVER be ready?  The day she left she took a piece of all of us with her.  I don't know what life will be like in the future.  I don't know how I will feel tomorrow.  I know how she would want us to live our lives, but sometimes, grieving just has to happen.  I don't know when I will be done, or if I will ever be really done.  I know the day I get to see her beautiful face again, can't come fast enough.  I want the world to know she was here, and because she was here, the world is a better place.

I know there is no sense to these mad ramblings of a girl missing her mom, but, I just wanted to put a few things down.  She was awesome.  She was funny.  She was bitchy sometimes.  She was strong, opinionated, and full of love.  She expected the best, and always was striving for it.  She expected no less from her children.

I hope I made her proud.  I hope she was as proud to be my mom as I was to be her daughter, and I hope she knows, that with or without her on this earth, she will always be my best friend.

March 2, 2016 changed my life forever.  How it is changed is yet to be determined.  I pray everyday I can turn this sad, dark, lonely, lost feeling into joy, happy memories and determination.  Right now, it just feels lonely. 

I miss you my beautiful momma bear!  Thank you for being my mom AND my friend.


  1. Hug those precious memories close.....she sounds so awesome like my precious Mom..... life sure isn't the same ..but we go on as they'd want us too.........hugs and love sweetie

  2. I am sorry for your loss. I just found the Franco American mac and cheese recipe and read about your mom passing my heart goes out to you its never easy to regain after the loss of a mom. I too stopped cooking after my mom/teacher/chef passed it took 3 months to feel like cooking again.. I wish you the best of life God bless.