Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Mother's Day

It has taken me a few days to recover from Mother’s Day. It is one of those holidays that I opposed, even when my mother was alive. It is what I think of as a “greeting card” holiday. One created by Hallmark and other related businesses, in order to increase card sales, flower sales, candy orders etc., on an assortment of specific designated days.

This year, it was a reminder of what my mother said every year – “Everyday is Mother’s day. I don’t need a holiday to celebrate who I am.” Of course this was only partially true. If we forgot to acknowledge how special she was, it would distress her. And when we did say thanks, with flowers or gifts, she told us it was totally unnecessary – but she preferred the acknowledgement.

Anyway, this year, my kids all called with good wishes and special gifts. Zak left me his first telephone message, and Jordan created a national holiday. That was wonderful. But David was away so I was prepared to be alone – but this did not happen. Traditionally my cousin Joanie goes to the cemetery and puts multicolored rose petals on the graves of the all the female relatives buried in the Newburgh cemetery. Having just been to mom’s grave, I was not sure what to expect. But with rose petals in hand and selections from “Gefilte Fish Chronicles, the musical” on a CD, we made our way from grave to grave.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, there was a clear absence of sadness. We walked around deciding on colors and amounts, but with a sense of joy and peacefulness. (My favorite part was when we went to an unopened part of the cemetery and heaved petals over the fence). Why a cemetery is locked, especially on a holiday that celebrates life, makes no sense at all… but what does lately.

Anyway, it was a lovely morning, followed by a headache and an afternoon in bed. This was not a bad thing. I needed the time in bed, and the headache was easy enough to lose.
And I took a good, deep, cleansing breath.

We have finally moved enough stuff into the new house to be able to sleep there. Although the first night we tried the IKEA bed we had purchased and paid someone to put together collapsed. “David”, I said, when I looked over at about 2am and didn’t see him, had just rolled on to the floor. Rather than deal with this most uncomfortable predicament, we moved the mattress on to the floor and went back to sleep. If I counted the number of trips we made to IKEA last week, to both purchase and return, I couldn’t do it on fingers and toes. But we are in, the bed is now fine, the rooms are an adorable mix of antique and IKEA, and other than the unfortunate fact that the glass on my Seeburg 100 jukebox was in pieces, everything looks fine.

Yesterday, I did my favorite kind of a mitzvah. As were were crossing 60th and 3rd we saw a woman slowly pushing a wheeled catering cart carrying two pieces of an elaborate delicate and fragile cake. We asked if we could help her and although she was too stressed to answer, first we helped her negotiate the sidewalk and then (this is the good part), I stepped out in the street and blocked all the turning traffic, so she could make her way slowly across the street. It was like my favorite scene from “Midnight Cowboy,” when Dustin Hoffman (the inimitable Ratso Rizzo) walks into the middle of the street, bangs on a car and yells, “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”

The cake was gorgeous. The name of Elizabeth’s business is Todaro's Exquisite Cakes. ( ) They ARE exquisite. It’s in Brooklyn, and well worth a try if you have a wedding or any cake-worthy occasion.

Mother’s Day is over and Father’s Day fast approaches. Yet another Hallmark holiday. But I guess it does give all of us a chance to say a special thanks to our Dad’s wherever they may be. We’re just sayin’…. Iris

1 comment:

Elizabeth Todaro said...

Although I am not Jewish I would like to say how thankful my cake and I are to have been part of your "mitzvah" Iris. Like I said in my reply to your very unexpected e-mail yesterday, it was the longest 2 and a half blocks of my life. I expected that cake to topple to the floor at any moment and when we got to the hardest part, which was crossing that street, my blood pressure rose to a peak. But I must say that when I looked up and saw you and David with your outstretched arms blocking the 4X4 truck and 3 other cars behind it so me and my little cart could get by safely I took a breath of relief for that second. You know, you meet so many people in your life in passing. Some you speak to, most you don't. Some you see again, most you don't. I'm glad that you took the time to ask me on that busy street who I was and I'm even more glad that I wasn't insane with panic in that moment to give it to you. Thanks so much for the nod here in your great blog. I look forward to reading it in the moments between my cakes. ;)