Foerster Family Portrait, 1919

Tomorrow I fly to Omaha, Nebraska for my cousin Aaron's wedding. Every single member of my mother's family will be there, so it will be an unprecedented family reunion of three generations with lots of new babies in the family to meet. I was looking back over family photographs and remembered this poem I'd written about my maternal grandmother's family. How I wish my grandparents Chuck and Dolores could be there!

Foerster Family Portrait, 1919

Grandmother, you are four, maybe,
the darling baby in a family of –
count them—eleven children,
plus who knows how many
additional miscarriages
or young deaths your clear-eyed
mother may have suffered quietly;
her German fortitude betraying
no struggles, she is all serene
and proud with her hearty brood.
Here, one of your sisters wears the
habit of Catholic nuns, in a few years
another sister would too.
In the back row: Hilda, Ella, Leo,
Sister Luke, Otto, Bruno, Laura
(later Sister Marcella) and Julia.
In the front row: Rudy, your father Frank
then you, little pixie, front and center,
your mother Mary, then Genevieve.

Grandmother, was it from your mother
or father’s line that you inherited
your wry sense of humor? Which sister
taught you to sew? Did your mother
make pickles with you each summer?
Which of these siblings was the prankster,
which the athlete, which the artist, which
one shy? What did your father like to do
in the evenings? Was your home filled
with music, baseball, stories round the fire?
Did your mother play cards like you?
How did you celebrate birthdays?
What did you do for the 4th of July?

I study the faces of your family - 
my family –
I hear the click of the camera,
the whoosh of the flash bulb.
A momentary pause
then in the next instant, I hear
you all jostling, laughing, 
heading off to lunch
into each individual and
infinitely detailed life.


You Came Walking to Me

You came to me, you came to me.
You came walking to me, calling me “Mother,”
instead of to someone else.
To me, my child…come walking,
Calling me “Mother.”

~Haida Song

Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough and Her Son by Giovanni Boldini

Mother's Day Weekend is a double-whammy holiday in our house. My son Xavier, the one who first made me a mother, turns four today. We are celebrating him with a big picnic potluck in the park. I can't wait to see his face when I bring out the Darth Vader cake.

Tomorrow we celebrate me and I get to bask in how much I love being a mother. Plans include my husband's eggs benedict with hollandaise, a stroll in the Japanese Gardens, pushing Georgia in the swing, perhaps a nap and then a babysitter watching the kids while we go out to dinner. Bliss.

In the past few weeks we have also been rallying around and celebrating my strong and resilient mother, who just came through open-heart surgery beautifully. She exemplifies the power of positive attitude for fast healing. I have so much gratitude for her, to her, that I will need to write about that separately. I try to celebrate her continuously and take notes, always.

Happy Mother's Day Everyone! As Thich Naht Hanh says, "We are all, each other's mothers."


Next Year, Same Time, Same Place

Indian Springs Girls Weekend to celebrate the birthday of our beautiful - on the inside and outside - friend Vanessa. A few photos to share....