The Special Mother by Erma Bombeck

Very touching chapter from Erma Bombeck’s book, Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.

 

The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
“Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”
“Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew.”
Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God, “Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But has she patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.”
“I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness.” The angel gasps – “selfishness? is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word'”. She will never consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!”
“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice….and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side”.
“And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”

 

 

 

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Published in: on MayUTCbFri, 11 May 2018 20:52:14 +0000000000Fri, 11 May 2018 20:52:14 +0000pmFri, 11 May 2018 20:52:14 +000018 9, 2008 at 2:20 p05  Leave a Comment  

Joseph’s Thoughts

Just looking at this unique photo of the holy family after Mary had given birth to Jesus, I have a few questions in my mind as to what Joseph might have been thinking. After all, he was a huge part of this historical moment in time. There is not much written about him immediately following the birth. To me, this image shows the pure and raw feelings of amazement, wonder, exhaustion, joy and finally unbelief for both Mary and Joseph; not unlike what a present day couple might feel after such a long awaited, anxiously anticipated event. But, I think there is so much more that Joseph has swirling in his mind! Such as, was this really good enough for the birth of our Savior? Maybe I should have looked a little longer, harder for a proper place for this to occur. How can I keep him safe, both of them safe now? This tiny infant is so precious, vulnerable how can I be sure I’m up for the huge responsibility that lies ahead?

I also want to believe that he prayed long and hard to the God he knew for help and guidance for the journey ahead. A journey which he knew nothing about. This shows how his obedience came into play as he undertook such an immense leap of faith with his betrothed Mary. It is believed that Mary was only a teenager. Was Joseph also that young, or maybe a few years her senior? I guess we’ll never know the answers to some or all of the questions, but we do know one thing for sure. This was God’s plan, a plan that was fulfilled in the scriptures. A plan that had you and me in mind. Our salvation and promise for eternal life with him. We can gratefully and most assuredly know this to be true.

Published in: on DecemberUTCbFri, 08 Dec 2017 19:35:57 +0000000000Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:35:57 +0000pmFri, 08 Dec 2017 19:35:57 +000017 9, 2008 at 2:20 p12  Leave a Comment  

Farewell to a Life Well Lived

We buried my father in law yesterday. It was a bittersweet day.  He lived his 90 years focused solely on his family.   He was healthy most of his life up until about four years ago, when dementia slowly kept into his world.
This affliction slowly chipped away at his memory, physical body, dignity and his strength like an ever so patient whittler working on a block of wood only it did not create something beautiful. It was a ruthless robber leaving an empty shell but my father in law’s pride gave it a heroic fight. You could look into his deep dark brown eyes and see just enough defiance, as if to say, “no, that’s enough!”…. By the way, that simple phrase followed him throughout his life, as though it were his call to arms for anything that stood in his way.

His life was not an easy walk in the park.  He is one of the many courageous southern Italian immigrants who made their way, no, fought their way, to this country to make a difference for thie families.  And my father in law did make a difference.  It was because of his bravery and determination to stand up against the many struggles he faced from the moment he set foot on Ellis Island, leaving behind all that was familiar to him and transposing into a new life with a wife and small child that his family grew and flourished and realized the American Dream.  To see and be a part of this life through my husband, Sam, and our children makes it all the more meaningful.

The second love of his life was growing tomatoes in his garden and the family ritual of making and canning sauce for the winter at summer’s end.  I can’t begin to tell you how much joy this gave him.

So as our tribute to this gallant,  stouthearted patriarch of the Russotto Family we put together a planter of tomato plants, basil and parsley rather than the traditional bouquet of flowers.  We know this has a deeper meaning as far as expressing our  sense of loss to a life well lived with love, dignity, gratitude and humility.

Ciao, Supervisor!

  

Published in: on JuneUTCbThu, 04 Jun 2015 17:59:41 +0000000000Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:59:41 +0000pmThu, 04 Jun 2015 17:59:41 +000015 9, 2008 at 2:20 p06  Leave a Comment  

In Honor of Aunt Minnie

My dear Aunt Minnie  (Philemena A. DiGorio) passed away this week.  She was my mothers sister and my last living Aunt.  She was one special lady!  Full of life, sophisticated,  beautiful inside and out, and what I will always remember her for was her contagious laugh…a sort of cackle if you will!  She was so much fun to be around!

She was one of the best bakers I knew as she would bake cookies for weddings, holidays, and just about any reason or for no reason at all.  She always had an ample supply in her freezer. She was a wonderful cook as well.

I included her famous baked chicken recipe in my book, “Always on Sunday: Memories of an Italian Childhood”. This particular recipe, entitled Aunt Minnie’s Best Kep Secret Baked Chicken Breasts has been commented on the most to me. Some people have even told me their families request this the most and won’t allow any other chicken to be served in their house!!!! Honestly!

So I want to share her delicious recipe with you and hope that you try this for your family…you won’t regret it… If you happen to have my book, it can be found on page 55.

Rest in peace, Aunt Minnie and thank you for the beautiful memories!



Published in: on MarchUTCbSat, 28 Mar 2015 23:57:54 +0000000000Sat, 28 Mar 2015 23:57:54 +0000pmSat, 28 Mar 2015 23:57:54 +000015 9, 2008 at 2:20 p03  Leave a Comment  

There are No Coincidences in Life

My great nephew, Brayden Xander, was born on January 17, 2015. Prior to that, January 15 was always a sad day for me and my family. My mom had passed away on that day 15 years ago. Sometimes I wonder, can that even be possible? But, as the saying goes, ” Time marches on “.

The fact that Brayden was born on that particular days has us all believing that my mom had a little something to do with it. You see, my neice, Samantha was five days late. She could have delivered on any one of those days surrounding her due date. But little Brayden decided ( with some coaching ) to enter the world on that one day in January. I believe that God new about this child being born on this day many years before he was even conceived. It’s His loving and comforting way, how He works in our lives.

He took his good old time making for a lengthy labor and as described by the delivering physician, needed to be coaxed out with a suction type instrument which left a very noticeable red mark on the very top of his head. But we all know better than that….his great-grandma wanted to give him a kiss on that sweet head, letting us all know she was with him during the whole birth, confirmed by the fact that it only was visible for a short time, then disappeared.

Brayden had to remain in the NICU until today when he will be released to home to begin his very special life with his parents.

We are all grateful for this new life and thank God for his health and all the circumstances surrounding his birth.

Welcome home, Brayden Xander!

Published in: on JanuaryUTCbTue, 27 Jan 2015 18:13:41 +0000000000Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:13:41 +0000pmTue, 27 Jan 2015 18:13:41 +000015 9, 2008 at 2:20 p01  Leave a Comment  

What The World Needs Now

Well, here I sit in front of my blog site which has been horribly ignored for WAAYY too long!  Did life get in the way or did I get in the way of life?  No matter, it’s time for me to get back to my first love, writing.

i want to become serious about this passion of mine, this forgotten passion, and see where it may lead. Who knows—  the start of another book, a cooking blog, which, by the way, there are an enormous amount of those  in cyberspace, perhaps a daily encouraging message, a quick daily Italian lesson, a probing, controversial question to start a lively online conversation?  Whatever the subject, I will be sure to post on a more regular basis on a variety of interests of mine ( it is MY blog after all!).

Because it is the end of the year and we are on the heels of the emerging new year,  many of us are reflecting, revising, refurbishing our ways and habits, coming up with our lists of resolutions.  I truly dislike that word, resolution.  It sounds so formal and unnatural. Are we resolving or making a promise to ourselves for improving our ways?  I like to think of  it as a promise, more of a personal thing that only we can do.  We then are able to own these promises and possibly keep them.

The  first thing on my list of “promises” besides not neglecting my blog, is to look at others with a deeper understanding tinged with love. Considering the times in which we are now living,  I hope others will also give this a try and maybe we’ll see a positive change in this world.

Maybe we all can start singing or humming the 1965 song by Jackie DeShannon..”What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love”, making this our mantra.  I think it’s an excellent idea!

Published in: on DecemberUTCbTue, 30 Dec 2014 02:07:06 +0000000000Tue, 30 Dec 2014 02:07:06 +0000amTue, 30 Dec 2014 02:07:06 +000014 9, 2008 at 2:20 p12  Leave a Comment  

Life with Rosie

Rosie sat in silence the entire thirty minute car ride, staring out the window, taking it all in. As we turned onto our street, she turned around and said to her caged parakeet, Sugar, in the back seat, “Oh, Sugar, wait till you see your new home! Your’re gonna love it!”

And so, life with Rosie began.

My sister-in-law, Rosie, came to live with my husband, Sam, who she affectionately calls “Brother”, and I when her parents were placed in a personal care home near us because of the dementia which they both suffer from shattered the only life she knew for fifty-one years.

Over the past six months we saw how Rosie was gradually taking on the role of the care giver to her parents despite of her own limitations and special needs as the disease progressed in her mother and father. You see, Rosie is mentally challenged and has the mental capacity of a ten or eleven year old child. It clearly became evident that the living situation was an unsafe environment for Rosie and her parents. The difficult but necessary decision was made, after agonizing and very frustrating resistence from my in-laws to move them to a secured facility and Rosie to live with us.

Although this arrangement is still new and we all are facing adjustment after adjustment, I can honestly say that it has been smooth and without major difficulties. I attribute this to Rosie’s easy and sweet spirit and her generally happy attitude.

I believe that God has sheilded her from unnecessary pain and sorrow by extending his grace to cover her evey need. I am reminded of a verse of scripture in Isaish 42:3, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness, he will bring forth justice.”

Published in: on DecemberUTCbSat, 29 Dec 2012 19:07:50 +0000000000Sat, 29 Dec 2012 19:07:50 +0000pmSat, 29 Dec 2012 19:07:50 +000012 9, 2008 at 2:20 p12  Leave a Comment  
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The Necessity of Lists

I would be lost without my lists. Daily to do lists, weekly to do lists, grocery lists, bucket lists, places I’d like to visit lists, recipes I’d like to try lists, people I need to call lists, pro and con lists (most helpful when faced with decision making), books I’d like to read lists, books I’ve already read lists ( most helpful in preventing me from re-reading a book which has strangely happened), lists of lists I need to make….it can go on and on. They somehow make me feel productive, especially when I can finally draw a line through one of the items on my list. When the entire list is completed, well, that’s just a good reason to celebrate!

They keep me going. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m a slave to these lists, but I find more and more that I depend upon them. Let’s just blame that on advanced age memory loss. I find them not only helpful but in a strange way almost comforting. Just as they say that children need boundaries for optimal behavior, my lists provide concrete guidelines, a constant reminder, a sense of keeping on task to reach certain goals.

I’ve just finished reading “Every Day Life in Tuscany” by Frances Mayes and now feel compelled to start a new list, ‘Places to Visit in Italy’. Her beautiful and inviting descriptions of the out-of-the-way towns and villages she and her husband visited sound irresistibly charming. Beach towns, seaside resorts, mountain towns, tiny fishing villages tucked away in quaint coves…. It’s just a matter of time when I will begin my own list. My husband and I would like to take a trip to Italy next year and this list would be a great tool in planning our itinerary. I need to delve into my research mode and read as many travel books on Italy I can get my hands on. This will be a much needed diversion from the stressful situation in which we are experiencing right now. I keep telling myself, this too shall pass….words of wisdom I have so frequently offered to others.

Lists can be looked upon as either a drudgery or a facilitator in getting through everyday life. I prefer to view them as the latter and will continue to make list after list after list…..

Published in: on NovemberUTCbSun, 04 Nov 2012 20:02:16 +0000000000Sun, 04 Nov 2012 20:02:16 +0000pmSun, 04 Nov 2012 20:02:16 +000012 9, 2008 at 2:20 p11  Leave a Comment  
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“Not So Gourmet Egg Sandwich”

Every so often, on a Sunday morning I will make myself an egg sandwich. Now this is not by any stretch of the imagination a gourmet treat. It is simplicity in its purest form. This humble breakfast reminds me of the many Saturday nights I spent sleeping over my best friend, Karen’s, house in the sixties. Hard to imagine that a few eggs, scrambled soft, placed between two slices of soft white sandwich bread covered with Heinz ketchup could taste so good! Well, when it brings back those wonderful childhood memories, there is nothing like it….period!

Now, I have to paint a clearer picture, perhaps to explain why this humble little offering is such a craving of mine.

When I slept overnight on a Saturday, of course, the next day would find us and her five brothers and sisters at nine o’clock mass. And every Catholic knows, that back in the day, you had to fast three hours before receiving Holy Communion. Yes, that meant, my friends, no breakfast or morsel of anything was eaten until we traipsed back to her house after mass which was a good twenty minutes. This put our estimated time of eating anything at around 11 o’clock. By the time we reached her house, her mom was busy in her kitchen assembling these egg sandwiches for us to devour as soon as we entered, kicked off our shoes and gathered around the formica table. Each of us grabbed a half of a sandwich and downed it with a glass of milk. Then another, then another until the plate in the center of the table was holding only a few leftover crumbs. Something about that milk, whole milk that is, fresh from Aupke’s farm was heavenly. We were so hungry, we could have eaten anything placed before us! Oh, and the bowl of blueberries, sweet and tart at the same time was another added attraction to that meal.

You see, I was introduced to so many new foods that never made an appearance at my house.
Eating at the DeFazios’ was always an adventure. I had Imperial Crab, Bavarian Strawberry Cream, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Shrimp dip, I could go on and on…. Mrs. D was always making something new for her card club ladies and Karen and I would sometimes help but mostly would sample what was being served. I feel this was the precursor for my love of cooking especially adventurous cooking. I did learn all of the basics at home, but was thrown into a more creative mode of cooking by spending time in her kitchen. (She did go on to open a very successful Italian restaurant called Le Cresta for 15 years.)

Back to the egg sandwich, I do find myself craving it and when I do make one, I am sure to eat it slowly, conjuring up all the beautiful memories that are served up as a side.

Published in: on JuneUTCbMon, 11 Jun 2012 00:36:37 +0000000000Mon, 11 Jun 2012 00:36:37 +0000amMon, 11 Jun 2012 00:36:37 +000012 9, 2008 at 2:20 p06  Comments (1)  
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Pasta Carbonara

This is an extremely easy version of a simple yet delicious pasta dish that can be ready before you can say “pass the cheese, please!”. It’s adapted from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food magazine.

Pasta Carbonara is one of my favorites because of its silky-smooth and salty sauce, flecked with crispy bits of pancetta, bacon or salami, whatever your presence. In my opinion, the ultimate Italian comfort food!

Start by whisking together 3 eggs and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese in a large bowl (you’ll be mixing and serving pasta from it). Cook 4 ounces of pancetta (Italian bacon), salami slices, or regular bacon in a pan with 3 cloves of crushed garlic till crisp and then crumble or slice in small pieces. Set aside. Cook 1 pound of linguine or spaghetti; before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Add hot pasta to egg mixture, along with pancetta and garlic. Toss, adding enough pasta water to make a creamy sauce, you may not need it all. Season with salt and pepper, serve with extra cheese and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Serves four. Bon Appetito!

Published in: on MarchUTCbFri, 09 Mar 2012 17:27:52 +0000000000Fri, 09 Mar 2012 17:27:52 +0000pmFri, 09 Mar 2012 17:27:52 +000012 9, 2008 at 2:20 p03  Leave a Comment  
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