Happy Mother’s Day!

May 6, 2011

Gracious Living Day by DayWhen I think of that word – mother – of the very essence of motherhood – I think of my own mother.

My mother’s name was Maria, but everyone called her Mara.

My mother

My mother

She was a shy, quiet, introverted woman who liked to stay in the background and never monopolize the limelight. But when she was in a room, the atmosphere changed.

My mother was a housewife and for many years I wanted to be different from her. My mother lived to make the world warm, comforting and enjoyable for her family and friends, while I found fulfillment in intellectual pursuits and valued those above all else.

My mother never questioned my (or my sister’s) motivations or tried to discourage us in any way. Our goals were her goals. We delighted her with our very existence, with the people we happened to be.

She loved my sister’s outgoing, mischievous personality, her determination and creativity, her beauty and her long, thick, wavy hair.

She loved my obsession with books, my need for solitude, my idealism and my short, thin hair.

She didn’t want to change us. She wanted to help us get to where we wanted to go.

Mara and her daughters

Mara and her daughters

Now, I recognize that my mother was an artist.

She created a home for us that was safe, warm, beautiful – a shelter from the threats of the world.

She was always doing something, but never busy. She could knit the most complicated patterns that she designed herself. She embroidered tablecloths and made lace for curtains and our school uniform collars.

Her curiosity was boundless.

She loved to read. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens.

She loved poetry.

She loved to cook and bake and created works of confection art. Her recipes were in her head.

From my childhood, I remember a midsummer day.

Outside it is bright and hot, but inside my mother’s kitchen the wooden shades are drawn and there is a cool and pleasant darkness.

My mother, sister and I sit at our kitchen table. Mother is drinking Turkish coffee from a tiny porcelain cup while my sister and I each sip from a glass of lemonade.

In the middle of the table, resting on a rose covered platter, there is a tall, layered cake with white lemon frosting .

Mother carefully cuts three pieces and places them on delicate plates. She positions a plate in front of each of us.

I take my fork and slowly, deliberately carve out a slice. I don’t take my eyes off that fluffy, creamy nugget as I carry it towards my face. I am being careful not to drop it and smudge my mother’s embroidered white tablecloth.

I take a bite.

The world is a delicious, glorious place.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

The Nerdy Nurse May 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

This is beautiful.
Hope you got the recipe for that cake and wrote it down somewhere, because now I want a piece!


Liliana May 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

I am sorry to say – I don’t have the recipe.

My mother always cooked from memory, and at the time, I wasn’t interested in learning.

I so wish I did!


The Nerdy Nurse May 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

OH no! She have an sisters? Or perhaps a 2nd or third cousin knows it!
I understand the lack of desire to learn the recipe in your youth.
Although I often would go in the kitchen with my dad wanting to learn to cook whatever it was he was making and would ask “What are you doing?”.
He always responded “I’m playing touch football”- consequently, I don’t know how to make very many of his recipes.


Liliana May 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

Very funny (and sad, I guess) how differently we think at different times of our lives.

My mom was unique in her culinary abilities, but I grew up at the time when it was really cool not to know how to be a good housewife. I confused so many things then.

My mom grew up in Serbia, and her sister died, so the recipes are gone. All we have left are stories!


Sandra May 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Happy Mother’s day to you and your sister 🙂 thank you for sharing such sweet memories of your mother. Mothers are the heroes of the world!



Liliana May 10, 2011 at 7:26 am

Thank you, Sandra, and wishing you all the best. I agree, mothers are the heroes of the world. Hugs to you, L.


Jelena May 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

Happy Mother’s day to all the moms we know! It’s good to be reminded of the legacy we’ve inherited from our own moms, and think a bit about what we hope to pass on. Thank you for sharing the memory. I remember those cakes SO well!


Liliana May 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

Happy Mother’s Day to you and to your mom. Love and hugs and hope for many more wonderful years. L.


ann mulhern May 6, 2011 at 5:40 am

Happy Mother’s day to you Liljana. A beautiful remembrance. Lovely photos of your sweet mom.


Liliana May 10, 2011 at 7:24 am

Happy Mother’s Day to you, sweet friend!


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