carnations, butterflies and the color purple


My Mom loves carnations and each year I’d send her a bouquet of them with some extra little surprises. She also LOVES butterflies and of course the color purple. In fact, she likes purple SO much that she had her hair dresser place a wide streak of purple from the front of her head to the back.

I never expected to this close a relationship with my Mom as I do. Especially when we were growing up!!! With Dad being in the service and gone most of the time, discipline was handed over to her. I don’t think she really liked being the disciplinarian of the family. However!!! When one of us (there’s three of us) would do something that drove her to her wits end, she always exclaimed: “Wait till I tell your Father!” or “Wait until your Father comes home.” Oh boy!!!

We were spanked with a wooden paddle, and if the end of it had had any holes in it the spanking would have much, much worse and the pain probably would have lasted longer! Luckily for us, it didn’t. I was spanked a few times and will tell you that the most memorable time of such a spanking was right after I turned 18. Yep. Not just 18 mind, but LEGAL. At least I was in the State of New Hampshire. I have a younger sister by a year and a younger brother by 5 years. I was a chubby girl, still am as a matter of fact, and because of that I was constantly teased. Constantly in the cross hairs of the popular kids and the bullies. Including my brother!!

The kitchen had just been remodeled and I was in the kitchen (go figure!) and in comes my brother. The smart ass. He still is, but I love him anyway! So the teasing starts. Not bad in the beginning but it began to escalate with the name calling and the light slapping on the arm and the semi-hard punch to the shoulder and the harder punches and the name calling increased as did the volume. I warned him to stop, I honestly did. I warned him that if he continued I’d be doing something both of us could get into trouble for. But, he was young and on a mission and I was older and seeing RED.

I grabbed him by the shoulders, spun him around and pushed him through the wall. Right in between the two-by-fours. I warned him!!!

Our sister, whom we always liked to refer to as “the goody two-shoes” immediately came in investigate and was calling out to Mom even BEFORE she began to turn toward the front room.

All hell broke loose. Sort of.

I got spanked. At 18 I got spanked. It hurt like hell, too. But my pride was more hurt than my bottom and after that punishment I went and hid myself in my room. My brother was next. Sitting on the bed I am, tears still rolling down my cheeks. I’m wearing a half-smile and thinking … hope she spanks you harder!

She did. But he didn’t feel a thing. He ended up stuffing a book or two down the back side of his pants and felt absolutely nothing.

Until Dad got home.

My Mom is a very beautiful woman. I talk with her about anything and everything. Nothing is taboo or off limits. We laugh, and quite frequently and quite a lot. A few years ago (2019) I moved out here to help my brother take care of her — taking her to Dr. appts., hair appts., getting her nails done or even shopping. She is amazing!!! Caring. Thoughtful. The kind of woman that made anyone and everyone that came into our home FEEL at home. Friends that my siblings and I would bring home from school called her Mom. And she was. She was Mom. To SO many!

Our relationship became tight and we’re extremely close. Like two peas in a pod! We laugh alike. I have some of her characteristics and look like her (chubby and bubbly and blue eyes). I love that woman. With all my heart. She gives the best hugs and the most sloppiest of kisses that any Mom could and I love that.

She turned 83 on November 6, 2021.

She passed November 15, 2021. My brother was with her when she drew her last breath, and he kept saying to her “I love you. I love you. I love you.” She wore a smile when that last breath escaped. I saw that smile and my love for her has intensified. I honestly believe that this was what she wanted. I’m a very emotional person. Like my Mom. I would have gone into shock and not known what to do or screamed or something that would have sent the entire household into an uproar or panic.

I love you Momma. I know that you will always be with me. And that you are only a whisper away. Even in my head.

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