A Memorial Day Memory

Wow. It’s been 13 years. Seems like yesterday, and at the same time so, so long ago. My beautiful mother went to Heaven 13 years ago today. And so today, I do what I always do every May 27. I call my sister and then go to church to light a candle. Why do I do it? I’m not sure, except that it’s the one thing I can do.

Here’s what Mom looked like when she was a child.

Elizabeth Delena <i>Baker</i> Lucas

Isn’t she cute?! So full of life! In this picture, she’s not so very much older than the Baby Cakes. So blonde and so tiny. She was always tiny. The day she delivered my sister, she weighed 105 lbs. Who does that?!

She set such a good example for me. She taught me how to live. And, when the time comes, she taught me how to die. And so I try to follow in her steps.

But I miss her. I remember when I was small asking her if I would still be alive when the calendar turned to the year 2000. She said, “I hope so!” But, she herself didn’t see the sun rise on the 21st century. She didn’t live to see enemies attack America in 2001. She was spared that, at least.

And so today, it is fitting that the 13th anniversary of her ascension coincides with Memorial Day. I lit a candle at Sacred Heart today for her. It is such a beautiful, tiny chapel in downtown Peoria, and today it was exceptionally stunning, decorated with roses and red candles presumably for Memorial Day.

Or, maybe it was for Mom?


A Fairy Happy World!

It began innocently enough.

John and I were at a nursery picking out flowers for our beds, when I saw a fairy garden for the first time. It wasn’t really very fancy, but I loved the idea! So, I bought a tiny white table with two chairs, an itsy-bitsy tea set and one beautiful fairy and headed home to create my first fairy garden. It was small then, with just three tiny flowers planted in a narrow container that hung on the deck rail. Before the summer was done, it was home to two fairies, a gnome, and a variety of teeny birds. Even a purple mushroom sprouted. Our granddaughters, Lindsay and the Baby Cakes, loved the fairy garden as much as I did. Oh my, what fine tea parties those fairies had! There was a 12-piece tea set, tiny cakes, miniature cheeses,  little loves of bread and even itty-bitty glasses of wine! Although the birds or squirrels would visit and steal and item or two now and then–it was hours of fun. I was sad (and so was Baby Cakes) when it was time to pack up the garden for the winter. That was last year.

So this year, John surprised me by purchasing a wine barrel for my new, bigger fairy garden!

I spent hours on the internet, looking for items that would make the fairies comfortable in their new home. Who knew you could buy so many things to make your fairies happy?

So the new fairy garden has six plants and everything a modern fairy could want!

Lots of flowers, a vegetable garden, a real pond, mailbox, pot of gold and even a fairy-sized bathroom! Let the tea parties begin!!

Baby Cakes’ World

Ahhh. To be two. Grandpa and I pick the Baby Cakes up from day care every Tuesday, and it’ s always a new adventure. When we first started picking her up about a year ago, she clung to the day care lady like a little lost lamb trembling behind Mary, and making me feel like a baby snatcher as we drove off in Grandpa’s truck with her kicking and screaming. (I was always crying, too!) Honestly, I felt I should offer to call DCFS for her.

What a difference today! When we go to pick her up now, she bolts out the door, headed toward our truck with her face aglow and screaming, “Nana!! Gampa!!!” Now I will admit that I’m not above bringing a bribe with me every time we pick her up. I started in the early days, and even tho we probably don’t need it anymore, it’s just a little insurance I carry around. I mean, when you’re dealing with a two-year-old, you can’t have too many tricks in your bag, can you?

Yesterday, it was a “twirling light” that I picked up at Walmart for a buck. “I go to park,” the Cakes announced mater-of-factly as she climbed in her seat. “Oh, Honey, it’s raining,” I said. “I go McDonalds Park!” she answered.

Well, you can hardly argue with that, can you? At least I can’t. It’s not raining inside McDonald’s. I was out of excuses. So, Grandpa and I dutifully took her to the McDonald’s with an indoor playground and had a drink (okay, a soda) while we watched her play on the playground. Time to go? No problem, I promise her a bath and a tea party before dinner!

Afterward, we took her to a restaurant for a fine kid’s dinner of chicken fingers, french fries and chocolate milk. Then, it was home to Mommy.

But today’s not Tuesday. It’s Wednesday. And I miss her.