Posted in authors, children, Daughters, family, grandmothers, mother, mother & daughters, mothers, son, womens fiction, writer, writers

Mother’s Day Thoughts

As the author of mother-daughter stories, I thought for Mother’s Day, it fitting to look to some of my favorite authors on what they had to say about mothers in their books.

As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sue it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.” Kristin Hannah , Summer Island

 

“Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the  window”                             Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

 

“I wonder if other mothers feel a tug sat their insides, watching their children grow up into the people they themselves wanted so badly to be.”                                                                                                          Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith

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Motherhood is a complicated profession, and anyone that does not consider it a profession, most assuredly has never been one.  My own mother passed away in 1996, and I still miss her every day, The woman she  was when she left us was the not the Mom I remember. Mom was a five foot two spit-fire. She walked so fast that I could never keep up with her. Mom, clad in a red terry bathrobe, stuck her curlered head in the oven to dry her hair while she ran around  the red Formica-countered kitchen preparing casseroles to take to family reunions. Mom did head-stand contests with my brothers and I to the utter dismay of my father who would come home from work and bend at his waist to look at my upside-down mother and ask “What for dinner?” Mom never understood how I never learned to cook, when I spent seventeen years of my life perched on the red stool in the kitchen babbling away while she cooked. She said, “I thought you were paying attention.” Ugh – sorry Mom,  not.  Mom rode my brother’s mini-bike on a dare – and drove it right up a tree. We tried real hard not to laugh. Mom loved fast cars, her favorite being her 1966 red Ford Mustang.  Are you seeing a pattern here of red? Her favorite color and so fitting of her personality.

When I married, moved away and lived in multiple states, I gave little thought to my mother sitting home in the now quite house with a stoic husband who rarely spoke. Her household went from a boisterous family of six to a sedate family of two in only two years. My heart breaks for her now, and I can only hope she understands that I finally get it. One of her favorite saying to me was, “You won’t understand until your are a mother yourself.” No truer words could ever have been spoken.

Parts of motherhood came easy – the loving them unconditionally part. Others, not so much. I am the proud mother of three daughters and a son. As a grandmother many times over now, I see the short-comings I made as a mother. As hallowed as the word “mother” is,  we are a flawed species. We make mistakes – lots of them, and we carry the guilt of those mistakes with us forever. We fall to pieces easily – whether it’s a joyful or a sad occasion.  Tears are a part of who we are.  And sometimes – if we have to defend our young, we will fight to the death.  It’s a humbling existence to be a Mom. You often  feel set aside, obsolete, forgotten. But I’ll tell you this – if you did your job even half right, your thoughts, your words and actions will be so ingrained in your children, that even when they don’t think they are listening to you, their sub-conscious is.  The most we  can hope for is when are time comes, and the good Lord looks at his list, checking of “mother” as your profession, He says, “Come on in, well done.”

Tell me your favorite mother story – either as a Mom or about your own Mom – or someone that fit the bill of Mom. Being a Mom does not have to be genetic.

www.joannetailele.com 

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Posted in angels, family, Florida, grandmothers, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, love, Merry Christmas, mythology

A Holiday Story- The Marco Angel

island of angels - Copy (2)

Happy Holidays to everyone. Instead of an author interview, for my holiday gift to you, here is a short story I wrote a few years ago about the Marco Angels, hundreds of them, all over our island. They are a wonderful sight.

The Tradewinds

 

Island of Angels, a short story  December 2012

by  Joanne Simon Tailele

The young girl hunched down in the backseat of the car. Her nose almost touched the screen of the I-pad she balanced on her lap. Bright pink ear buds blocked out the other sounds in the car. As the car approached the crest of the Judge Jolley Bridge, her mother hollered to her above the music pounding in her ears. “Liza, look, an osprey.”

Liza lifted her head just as the bird spread its wings and took flight above the sparkling blue water. She watched as it flapped twice, and then glided on the wind. It headed across the island into the setting amber sun where the high-rises in the distance appeared to dance on the water’s edge. “Nice,” she said somewhat sarcastically and buried her red-capped head back in her lap.

This was not Liza’s idea for a Christmas vacation. Who ever heard of Christmas without snow, or friends or blazing fireplaces? If they had to go to Florida, couldn’t it be Disney World? No, Mom and Dad said it had to be Marco Island. Liza knew what this was really about. It was about saying good-bye. They thought she didn’t know, but she wasn’t a baby. She had looked it up on Google. Lymphoma. The chemo had only made it worse. She threw up all the time and her long blonde hair fell out in clumps until she just shaved it all off and stuck a cap on her head.

Gram’s house was cool and it had a big pool right off the back door inside a cage. Liza could push back the huge sliding doors and walk straight into the water, if she only had the strength. But even with a big artificial tree, and lots of lights on the house, things still did not feel like Christmas.

On the second night, Gram announced that she was taking Liza out to see the town. Big deal, Liza thought. This town sucks. She’d rather be back in New York with her friends.

As they rode down Collier Blvd, Liza noticed the angels. Beautiful silhouettes of praying angels lined the street in front of building after building of condominiums. They turned down Barfield, and then San Marco, then Bald Eagle. More angels graced the lawns of pretty homes and businesses. “What is this Gram? What’s with the angels?” Liza heart began to soften and a lump formed in her throat.

Her grandmother smiled at her. “This is the Island of Angels, don’t you know that?” She pulled the car up the steep drive to the Marriott Hotel and handed the keys to the valet. “Come, my dear. I want to show you something.”

Liza and her grandmother entered the lobby of the hotel. The most beautiful tree Liza had ever seen filled the room, surrounded by dozens of red poinsettias.  They descended the stairs and exited the double doors into the courtyard. A wedding reception was taking place and Liza smiled at the bride and groom surrounded by their friends and families seated at white linen tables in the soft moonlight. Passed the party, passed the pool, passed the restaurant on the beach, Liza walked arm-in-arm with her grandmother toward the shoreline. Those who observed them would not have known who was supporting whom. They kicked their shoes off as they reached the soft sand. The salt air tickled Liza’s nose. When the only sound they heard was the surf lapping on the beach in its own rhythmic beat, Gram spread a blanket and they sat down, shoulder to shoulder. The breeze from the Gulf was cool and Gram lifted the edge of the blanket to wrap them together in a cocoon.

Thousands of stars lit the sky and the moon’s reflection pirouetted over the water. Liza leaned her head on to her grandmother’s shoulder. “This is beautiful. Thank you for bringing me here. Tell me, Gram, why do they call this the Island of Angels?”

“Because it is.” Her grandmother stated rather matter-of-factly.  “Hundreds of years ago, the Calusa Indians knew this, and that is why they settled here. Angels look over this island and keep it safe. When big hurricanes like Wilma and Charlie, or Katrina blow toward this island, the angels all get together and flap their wings at the same time and blow the worst of the storms away.”

Liza snuggled a little closer. “Do you think angels are people that have died?”

Her grandmother thought for a moment. “No, I believe they were created to always be angels, that they are immortal, with no beginning and no end. They just are. But there is something else they do, Liza. They also blow away fear.”

Liza lifted her head from her grandmother’s shoulder and looked into her eyes in the moonlight. “How do they do that, Gram?”

“If you are afraid, just sit very still and quiet. Listen for them and they will come. When you hear the flapping of their wings, you will know that they are lifting your fear and taking it away.”

Christmas morning, Liza was too weak to open her gifts, but a special gift hung by a silver chain on the tree; a Marco Angel bowing with a candle in hand. Her grandmother hooked the clasp of the chain around her granddaughter’s neck. Liza looked up at her and pressed the angel to her chest. “I can hear them, Gram. I hear their wings. I am not afraid.”

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all of you.

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Tai and Joanne