Mother’s Day!

“Remember, childhood only lasts 10-12 years.  There’s a lot needs to be squeezed in to make for a lifetime of happy memories.” ♥

I wrote the phrase at the top of this post in my 2000 Calendar.  And this is one of the pages I did for the scrapbook our family put together for my mom for her 80th birthday.

I could not go away to England without taking a moment to celebrate one of my favorite days of the year; which affords me another chance to tell my mom what a FABULOUS WONDERFUL HEAVENLY MOTHER she’s been to me.

♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥

 My mother’s singing was the background music to my childhood.  She sang as she washed dishes, hung clothes on the clothesline, poured Cheerios onto the highchair tray for the baby, and in the car on the way to the supermarket; and we all sang along with her.  As our family backed out of the driveway at 4 am, on our way to Sequoia National Park for a week of camping, she sang “We’re off to See the Wizard . . .”  How can you be sad if your mother is always singing?  You can’t.  She had the happy gene and she spread it around like the frosting on a three layer cake.

Because of my mom, I know the words to songs most people have never heard of.  I can sing all the Shirley Temple songs from her movies, because my mom and Shirley Temple were born on the same day and my mom loves her, so I love her too.  My mom is also responsible for alot of my other hidden talents.  She taught me how to twirl a baton (even left handed!), play jacks (my mother still does a mean ‘ups-downs’ and always gets me on the ‘down-downs’), walk-the-dog with a yoyo, juggle oranges, diaper a baby holding safety pins in my teeth, fold hospital corners when I put clean sheets on the bed, iron starched puffed sleeves on a baby’s dress (try it sometime, it’s a true talent! That I never use :-)).  She watched American Bandstand and bought our first 45, “Rock Around the Clock” through a TV offer, for us, her almost-teenagers; then she taught us how to dance; she helped us put on circus’s for the neighborhood kids in our backyard that included man-eating-tigers (one of my brothers eating animal crackers behind a blanket curtain); taught me how to knit, make my own clothes, how to play poker, embroider, cook, be self-sufficient, speak “arf and arfy” fluently (as you can see, there’s a reason so many of these talents are kept hidden), sing mares-eat-oats and does-eat-oats, and believe that if I really want something, I can probably make it myself.  Both my parents made something from nothing every day.

“Here, you’ll love this,” my dad said as he pulled a large flat box from the rafters in our garage and handed it down to twelve-year-old me.  Inside was my mother’s teenage scrapbook.  Glued to the yellowing pages were black and white photos, my mom and her best friend Alla, Aunt Jose and Uncle Roy, Grandma Carpenter, women with corsages, men in sailor suits, newspaper articles, dried flowers tied with ribbons, bits of crepe paper steamers, ticket stubs, match book covers, restaurant menus, and handwritten captions for it all.  My dad held the big album for me as we carefully turned the heavy pages, under stress with all that she’d glued to them, to read her teenage handwriting; she wrote about her friends, family, school, dances and boys.  I was enthralled.  Talk about windows into new worlds. My mom wasn’t my mom anymore, she was that elusive romantic thing, a teenager, woman of mystery, like the girl in one of my favorite books, Seventeenth Summer.  She was me.

My mom wasn’t a carefree teenager for long; my dad, just home from the war, knew a good thing when he saw it.  They’d only been dating for a few months when they discovered they both really loved pork chops; it was their favorite food, so he charmed her with a letter that said, “Let’s get a house and have pork chop wallpaper, pork chop furniture, and a whole bunch of little pork chops running around.”  Who could resist pork chop wallpaper!!!? And so they did.  When she was seventeen and he was twenty-two, their very first pork chop was born, me.  There were seven more pork chops to follow.

Because she was so young, my mother had a clear memory of what it was to be a child; she loved to play with us, and teach us her games.  And there is no one better at Kid Food than my mom.  She never met a miniature marshmallow she didn’t like; and if they were pink?  Even better.  Potato chips were “garnish” and Jell-O was a basic food group; bananas inside made it a health food.  She made cookies every week, including these delicious Potato Chip Cookies (which I knew you would love as a Mother’s Day gift from my mom! ).  She became an expert Birthday Cake maker; she baked dimes into her cakes, which was OK then; it was before “choking hazards” had been invented, no one got hurt, and we loved it.  She was a strong believer in food as scientific fuel for building strong bodies; she never referred to food by its actual name such as potatoes, chicken, and lettuce; she called it “starch,” “protein,” and “roughage.”  ”Honey,” she would say, “You’re not eating enough roughage,” filling a yellow melmac cereal bowl full of what the rest of the world called “salad.”  We all, including the adults, drank milk at every meal.  Even at Thanksgiving.

If we didn’t have a lot, we sure didn’t know it; she was constantly “thanking her lucky stars” for her blessings, so we truly believed we had it all!!!  And believing is the same thing as having!  On Mother’s Day we would pick dandelions to bring to her as a gift; she put them in water in a jelly jar on the kitchen table as if they were the most beautiful roses in the world.  We would go back outside to play, feeling wonderful that we had made her so happy.  Smelling like a mix of Ivory soap, Breck Shampoo, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Johnson’s Baby Powder, I’ve never met anyone more naturally adept in dishing out the little things that make life sweet than my mom. 

It won’t surprise you when I say that motherhood actually isn’t all a bed of roses; most of you know that by experience, although, from my front row seat, I really think my mom made it look that way.  Dealing with us could not have always been easy, the noise, broken bones and stitches, the teasing and spilled milk, the muddy feet and dirty diapers; teething, colds, flu, chicken pox, the terrible two’s (times eight); getting us from here to there, I don’t know how she did it.  My mom received no days off, no raises, no gold stars to tell her she was doing a good job; barely a thank you.  She considered the time spent in the hospital after giving birth (which in those lovely civilized days could be up to a week) a “vacation” because she was so “pampered!”  When I moved out of the house at eighteen, I thought I detected a look in her eye that said, “Can I come too?”

She made a game out of everything. Here I am with my brother Jim; I’m wearing one of my Great Grandma Carpenter’s embroidered dishtowels as an apron; we’re “doing dishes.”  (My mom’s very proud of the teeny little braids she managed to get my hair in, she always mentions it when she sees this photo; and look, I’m wearing my favorite kind of pants!).  That pan we’re doing dishes in, a couple of years later, throughout my time at home and after, became known as “the throw-up pan.”  In fact, if any of us saw it today, that’s what we would call it. This is our door knob, this is our cat, this is our kitchen table, this is our car, and this is our throw-up pan. Perfectly normal family.

Because of my mother (and dad!), the twelve years of my childhood provide memories that have lasted a lifetime; they’ve brought me solace in times of trouble, given me a foundation to stand on, made me believe that everything would be OK.  My mom taught me that it was the everydayness of life that was worth celebrating; like the quote by Mark Twain, “We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all.”  Nothing ever happened to us, and that was just perfect.  She gave me the kiss to build a dream on.

This is my mom, at my sister Shelly’s house with Shelly’s twins, Mason and Paden (still wearing the pirate makeup from Halloween; no he doesn’t already have a beard!).

When I wrote my first book, Heart of the Home, I discovered that almost every word could be a kind of thank you to my mom, by showing her how the little things she did made such a difference in my life.  That book and all the ones to follow, became a thank you, not only to her, but to all moms, as a way to tell them that even though we seem to take it all for granted, we were watching, that we could see, and that we’re grateful to the tips of our toes for the dedication our mom’s had to their home and family, for the sacrifices they made for love, for all those delicious homemade cookies, and for the memories! I wanted to tell them that what they do really does matter.  Not to just one kid, but to the world!  THANK YOU MOTHERS OF THE WORLD!

The most important door a student walks through, is the door of their own house. ♥

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to my own dear Mother, Patricia Louise Stewart, and to all you moms, aunties, and “other mothers” who make such a difference in the lives around you every day. Here’s an old children’s song for you, one of my mom’s favorites that we would sing doing dishes together, called Forevermore (turn down the sound a little bit first) . . . You had the words, now you get the tune!

XOXOXOXOXOX

And we’ll be jolly friends forevermore . . . ! 

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368 Responses to Mother’s Day!

  1. Susan Cohen says:

    This will be the first Mother’s Day ever without my Mom. She died in August and I miss her more than I can say. I loved your tribute to your Mom. We are both lucky to have had these years.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Susan, how difficult, I can only imagine. xoxo

    • Janet says:

      Susan, here’s something I read when I lost my Mom 16 years ago.

      “God gave us memories that we may have roses in December and Mothers forever.”

      • sbranch says:

        That is the pure truth!

        • Karin Hootman says:

          Susan you have a wonderful singing voice and looking at your pics you look a lot like your grandmother.

          I grew up singing “Whistle While You Work”, “The Red Red Robin” and “Mairzy Doats” . I was probably in my late twenties trying to figure out what a “mairzy” was when it dawned on me what the real words to that song were. That was a chuckle.

          Mom’s birthday was May 1 and at 78 she still works doing upholstery sewing. She inspires me.

          Looking forward to seeing England with you!

      • Susan Cohen says:

        Love this… ;-)

        Thank you.

  2. Nellie says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post today, Susan! I LOVED hearing you sing! Now, we just need to recruit you for our Senior Chorus here in Knoxville.:-)

    It has been a busy, busy birthday time here, and I think we have them all taken care of – for a week or two, anyway.:-)

    Just be sure you double check your luggage before you sail away. It is very tempting to become a stowaway! :-)

    Nellie xoxo

  3. Heidi Rose (Issaquah, WA) says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom and to motherhood! ♥ Your mom’s legacy of love, creativity and fun has clearly been handed down to you, and you so wonderfully now pass it along to all of us girlfriends. Thank you Susan! Oh! And I think that you have a very lovely singing voice. I remember singing that song with a friend while doing that hand-clapping thingy together. Do kids do that anymore?? I hope so! Blessings to you on your trip. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your posts and seeing England through your eyes, especially Hill Top Farm which I saw in 1986 and need another visit! Bon Voyage!! :)

  4. Patty Jane in SLO says:

    I just had to laugh when I read the part about the “throw up pan”! Sometimes I think we grew up next to each other, the way we share so many common memories. We had a throw up pan too and it was sort of a comfort to have it nearby when you were feeling “peaked”, as my Mom would say. But the bonus of those sick days would almost always be a trip to Thrifty to buy a Nancy Drew Mystery book that I would get to read in bed to help me feel better. Thanks for the memories – my dear Mom is gone now, but if yours is still here, please give her a big hug. You’re right – mothers mother all of us, not just their own kids!

    • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

      I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries and the Bobbsey Twins books. I do not care what anyone else says, to me they will always be literature classics.

  5. Elaine says:

    What a lovely tribute Susan ! Like others it left me teary eyed! – but touched just the same ;-)

    • Paula B. says:

      Agree, if Susan’s tribute to her mom didn’t do me in then reading these wonderful comments has my tears not drying very quickly. There’s no one like your mom, that’s for sure!

  6. Barb says:

    Hello Susan,

    What a beautiful tribute to your “Mom” today
    It tugs at all our “heartstrings” in everyway
    Your “songs” from ago, brought a smile you see
    For stirring up many a “childhood memory”

    Thanks for “sharing” such a glorious story about your wonderful past. I want to wish you, your Mom and all the Girlfriends, a Beautiful Mothers Day to EverLast!
    Hugs &Smiles (Barb – Ludlow, MA)

  7. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Dear Patricia Louise Stewart,
    Did your heart just get really FULL of Happy?!! Your daughter is something else
    isn’t she! You have raised a TRUE sweetheart!! “Blessings” to you and all your
    “Wild Indians” this Mother’s Day!!! You created and gave them memories to
    last a lifetime! Also, I would like to personally say, “Thank You!” for some of
    your recipes that have become “Family Favorites!” at my house….
    Spareribs & Juice, Chicken & Dumplings, Veal & Dumplings, Strawberry
    Shortcake, RAINBOW JELL-O and the adorable…Circus Cake ( we call it the
    Carousel Cake) !!! You’re a good family cook and you have fed us well !!! :)
    I agree that music makes a house HAPPiER!!! Many days you would hear us all
    singing “Que Sera, Sera!” by Doris Day. And I just found out that my
    twentysomething daughter has been singing, “Kay Sarah, Sarah!” all these
    years!!! :) You truly have given your family something that ALL the money
    in the world cannot buy….your Time….your Love…..YOU !!!
    And now….I think it is safe to say… that I will never ever…Look at a
    Pork Chop dinner the same again!!! :)
    God Bless You and “Thank You” for passing on the Happy Gene!!!!
    XoXDawn

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Susan…..*sigh*……Wish we were next door neighbors so I could bring
      over some fresh-from-the-oven Rhubarb Crisp! And if we were….
      I might get to know the “SPICE” of Susan to go with all this
      SWEETNESS!!!!! Truly, such a beautiful blog….You did GOOD!!!! :) :) :)
      XoXDawn

    • Sue's mom says:

      Hi Dawn, from Minn.,
      “Yes, my heart is full of happiness!”
      Thank you for sharing our family’s joy!
      Glad you enjoy Sue’s efforts.
      Patricia Louise Stewart

      • sbranch says:

        Look at you Mom, writing on my Blog!!! How fun it was to find this!!!! You are too funny . . . I see a computer looming in your future! xoxo Love you!!! Thank you Paula, for getting her to do this!!!

  8. Lori C. says:

    What a Precious post! We’re so grateful to your Wonderful Mom for giving us you! Love Potato Chip Cookies! I was introduced to them while attending Grand Canyon College (it has since grown up and become a University). One of the girls in the dorm next to mine, Grandmother made them for us. She had also made the beautiful patchwork quilts on their beds. Come every September I have to get the recipe out and make them. You never know how far a simple blessing of cookies will go.

  9. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    Susan,
    This is beyond precious!! You’ve said it all. Can I just roll this post into a scroll, tie a ribbon around it and give it to my mother. Your way with words and art give such a vivid memory of days gone by, and truly touch the heart and soul in such a beautiful way. Thank you for singing Forevermore to us. I remember singing it as a child, but had honestly forgot about it. My granddaughters and I are always singing Shoofly Pie and Old Dan Tucker, now I can add Forevermore! Thank you! Your singing voice is ever as charming as everything else about you Sue. Precious picture of your mom and those cutie pie twins. My mom is a twin, and I always wanted a pair. No luck yet, but maybe grands or great grands. Now remember to sing when your packing your suitcases for your voyage. (Or are you taking a trunk?) :)

  10. Barbara from SoCal says:

    What a beautiful tribute! Thanks so much for sharing once again :)

  11. Jane says:

    I have such a lump in my throat reading this! I am from a family of 8 and I know my mom worked so hard, just as your mom did. They are incredible! Having raised my own 4 children, I know it’s the hardest job in the world, but the most rewarding. And I know I was quite good at it as I had my mom for an example! Thanks for such a wonderful and sweet post. Give your mom a kiss from me!

    XO
    Jane From Chicago

  12. Cynthia H. Riley says:

    What a beautiful post. My Mom was much like yours-and I made sure she knew what a blessing it was to have had her for my own. The lop-sided cakes, the singing, reciting poetry,the making sure each day was special-that was her. I have tried to be the same mom to my three-that is my tribute to her.

  13. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan, Loved reading this tribute to your Mom~a very, very special lady. It was my Dad who taught me the “mares-eat-oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy” song and we’d sing it together and my Mom would sometimes too. But, yes we sang the “Playmate song” all the time but I never knew the middle verse – only the first and last! What a memory and thanks for taking me down memory lane! Just loved how you said your Mom sang all the time which tells me she was one happy lady, and I could see it in the picture of her with your twin nephews too. She was wearing a blouse with my favorite colors of yellow and blue! When I saw the little round cirlce with the Blessed Mother and her baby that says “My mother, my confidance” it brought tears to my eyes! I had one of those growing up but haven’t seen them in years and years! I also have my mother’s charm bracelet which is so very special to me! Ball and jacks were my favorite game as a child and we loved hopscotch too which we called “potsy”! We know you’ll have a wonderful trip with your honey! Can’t wait to tune in everyday! I’ll be praying for your safe journey! Hugs, Gail Buss, Bev. Hills, Fl XXOO

  14. Carol says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love to read about your wonderful childhood, happy mother,father and siblings
    It’s like reading a fairytale that I know is true. Please tell me what to do with the nagging pain of a childhood with a cold bitter mother who never,ever gave an encouraging word? Actually, she would look for something negative to say in the most positive situation. I choose to forgive but the pain doesn’t go away. I do not dwell on it, nor feel sorry for myself. It simply is a gaping hole in me.By the time I was ten, I believed there was something wrong with me-that I was unloveable. I know better now! All my siblings are screwed up.
    I thank God He has helped me to be a good mother(who has made many a blunder,) and my children love me and “rise up and call me blessed”.
    Now I am her primary care giver, I treat her with respect and as I would want to be treated. I’ve decided not to try to hash this out with her because it would only hurt her,which I have no desire to do.
    Sorry I’m whining.
    Don’t stop telling us about your wonderful stories! xxxooo

    • sbranch says:

      I thought about that when I was writing this, because I do have very close friends who didn’t have this experience. My thought is to encourage those engaged in the most difficult job in the world, in the hopes that, in a little way, it gives those involved the understanding of how important what they are doing really is. How much it means. In the moment, it’s hard to know it. In no way whatever are you whining. You have every right to feel that loss.

      You are amazing to be the healing without really feeling healed. How to fill that hole; I know an answer that has worked for me in another way. Meditation is like filler. The more you do it, the more that hole will close. It’s not easy to do, hard to keep that focus, but people do it, and so we know it can be done. It’s cumulative, and it works. I don’t know anything better. xoxo, you are making a huge difference. What your own mother lacked, you have been equipped with. How lucky you are!

      • Jack says:

        Another country chimes in — first — Sues right on with her advice to
        tune your mind to the positive through concentrated meditation , also make are you are willing to release , let go , of any and all significant feelings that recalling those days of your life bring forward …..it’s like quitting smoking ….if you really -WA N T – to you can do it …….the point here is , if you want it to be — it will be ! You are in charge of you !
        Also it seems to me that you have already come so far on this problem
        by yourself , as shown by your care giving and your candid approach to an open discussion in this format …..that you have already done
        most of what you need , to feel good about yourself going forward
        You know already that the past is forever just that …and what counts is today….and Carol today you are a most wonderful person to be the person you are !

      • Carol says:

        Thank you Susan,
        It is encouraging because when I was a child I knew our home wasn’t average or “normal” I would look at healthy families and say to myself-it is possible!
        That’s why I say- keep telling your story you give hope!
        Have a great trip!

      • Carol says:

        You are very encouraging! ooo

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        Oh my darlin’ – Please help yourself to forgive your mother for not being the mother you wanted or needed. She was troubled. Maybe she is your greatest teacher . . . . . God bless you for taking care of her.

      • Terrie from Atlanta says:

        Carol, honey, i know this is late arriving ~ but I, too walked (am still walking) in your shoes with a difficult, cold & angry mother. My salvation as a young teen and onwards was to find “other mothers” … be they the warm mothers of my girlfriends, or teachers, church youth group leaders, up into work mentors & my MIL once I became an adult. As I age, losing some of these incredible women has become inevitable, but I like to think their teachings helped heal the broken bits. Hope you found solace along the way, dearest. And now we have Sue! Xoxo

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      Hi, Carol~
      I just want to tell you that you are not alone. My own mother suffers from mental illness and my 6 siblings and myself have dealt with a lot of pain and a sense of grieving almost for the Mom we never really had. To make things worse, my father spent his time “escaping” from it all with alcohol and gambling.

      It took me many years to find peace with all of the negative memories of my childhood. Mother’s Day, especially, was difficult (and honestly, still is to some degree). I could write a very sad book about all the awful episodes I’ve had to endure over the years with my mother. But I don’t want my life to be defined by something I have no control over. And so, gradually, with the love and support of my grandmother, husband, children, siblings, wonderful friends and the Grace of God, I am now at a place of peace and forgiveness….and gratitude.

      I can’t agree more with Susan….at least in my experience, meditation has been so healing. Once, a few years ago, when I was consumed with the stress and sadness of my relationship with my mother, a very dear friend of mine suggested something for me to try during meditation and it made all the difference in the world to me: I was able to envision myself wrapping my Mom in a very soft blanket ( in the nurturing way that a mother wraps a baby) and gently handing her over to God so that He could care for her. I can’t tell you the peace that has brought me!
      Without even meeting you, Carol, I know that you are a good person; very caring and loving. You are modeling respect and forgiveness to your children…such a wonderful Mother yourself!

      Just be sure to put yourself on your list of “people to take care of”. You’re doing that every time you come to read Susan’s blog, right?!

      Sending you peace of heart and a great big hug!
      XOXODebbie

    • Karen Saunders says:

      Carol…I read your post and I wanted to comment and tell you what I always told my kids when people treated them badly. I tried to get them to focus on why that person was not nice. The person’s abusive nature could stem from jealousy, or from their own messed up childhood and insecurities, but what they say doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s just a reflection on how messed up THEY are. Unfortunately children tend to believe their elders and grow up thinking badly about themselves. (I never let my kids get away with believing mean things people say to them…even to this day.) They were always kind and generous and compassionate. When they were growing up I told them to say two words to kids that said vicious things to them….and that was ‘you’re mean.’ And it always worked. For some reason kids (or people) don’t want to be classified as being ‘mean’. It kind of put their actions in perspective. I know how hard it must be to take care of your mother now but at some point you have to feel sorry for a person that lived her life with so much anger in herself that she had to pass it on and make other people feel as hateful as she did. Remember……what goes in….comes out. Good goes in, good comes out. And you are good.

      • Carol and Others who are hurting from a sad childhood, you have been given some very loving advice from Susan, Jack, and others and I just want to add and I must admit it doesn’t come from me being totally able to understand how parents can “abuse” if not physically most importantly mentally such precious beings as children. I cannot imagine how scared and alone you must have felt; but, I just want to tell you how wonderful it is that you had/have the courage to break the cycle with being a wonderful Mother yourself and for your children. You stopped the flow of whatever it was that made your Mother not feel or show the love to you. I had a recent experience of being a caregiver to my husband’s Mother who I always felt was less than a fan of mine and I want to tell you this….I accepted this challenge with grace and hope that she would have the end of her life with us to be calm, loving, and most of all keep her dignity and she did. What you are doing in lieu of what you had to endure is pleasing to God and he will show you his mercy and grace and when this journey is over you will come out on the other side with some peace and closure. Blessings to you and your family.

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Well, reading the above comments on “less-than-wonderful” mothers brought tears to my eyes. Carol, my mother was not the world’s best, either. I read Susan’s post yesterday and was acutely aware that it didn’t apply to my mother. I’m not sure what all the issues were though as an adult I can see more clearly. I went through a period where I tried to analyze it all, figure out what was wrong, whether I was responsible, if I could “fix it”, etc. The comments above are “right on”. Jack is right–You are in charge of You. You, like me, have to make the conscious decision to give it up, give it up to God–if you will–and concentrate on the positive things in your life and not let it “eat you up”. In my situation, as I’d guess in most cases like this, there was no “fix”. I had to get past feeling guilty, like it was my fault things were the way they were. My mother is gone now and I wish I could say I have good memories, but I don’t. There was so much criticism, constant little hurts, and negativity. The last several years there was so much pitting of siblings against each other and games that went on. I remember when I first encountered Susan’s “happy gene” term and thought to myself that unfortunately it wasn’t there for me to inherit. However, I WAS fortunate that over the years God provided several positive “mother figures” in my life–caring women who set a good example and, I think, enabled me to become who I am today inspite of the negativity I grew up with. My BF Sandy’s mother was a God-send to me and I adopted “Onward and Upward” as my personal motto. I’ve chosen to put it behind me, a closed book, and move on with my life now in a positive way. I can tell you that it doesn’t have to define you!

    • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

      Carol, sweetheart, it breaks my heart to hear your sadness. But it sounds to me as though with God’s help you have channeled that pain and turned it into some beautiful qualities that have made you a loving, compassionate, caring person….something that was not modeled for you, obviously, but given to you as a gift. Good for you!!!! After the rain comes the rainbow and YOU are the rainbow! hugs…

      • Carol says:

        Thanks everyone for your kind words. God helped me recognize that I was responsible for my actions and future when I was about 14. Then when I was 25 I found out that GOD LOVES ME! As He does everyone! oooo

  15. Jan from Michigan says:

    Thank you Susan for the beautiful post! I bet a lot of us Girlfriends had to replenish the kleenex box after that! Love your voice! You can sing to us (and Jack) anytime! Have a wonderful trip. Can’t wait to follow along with the blog.

    PS You have made such a HUGE impact on so many people. I feel I am the luckiest girl in the world to have found your books, beautiful calenders and especially this blog. What a blessing you are to us all!!!

  16. Cathy S. says:

    You’ve brought back such wonderful memories to me, too! The ‘throw-up’ bowl brought me the biggest laugh. When we were growing up my Mom had a ‘throw-up’ bowl for us and when I became a Mom I carried on with that ‘tradition’. To this day, our daughter cannot stand to have a metal bowl in her house because it reminds her of the ‘throw-up’ bowl she grew up with. She substituted a plastic pail for her children’s ‘throw-up’ bowl. Your post has brought back many fond memories of growing up and also fond memories of our two children growing up. Our children have blessed us with five grandchildren and we’re still building more memories for them. I think being a Mother and Grandmother is the greatest job on earth! Thank you so much for this beautiful post. xoxoxo

  17. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Susan, your childhood is so similar to mine. I’m the oldest of 7, with parents who were 19 when I was born. We never knew how poor we were – we always had food and clothing and Christmas gifts so we thought we were rich. And looking back, we were. One funny memory I have is of having to take one brother to a dance party! He just sat in the corner while the teens danced!! Guess he just had to get away or mom was mad at him! Parents are gone now but all siblings are here and when we all get together it’s just like we are those kids again!! Thank you for your loving tribute to your mom and mine, Diane Lennox.

  18. Linda Trokey says:

    Susan,

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of your mom. My mom passed away when I was 25 and I miss her every day. She encouraged my love for dolls and all things miniature and with four kids under 6, she still put a home-cooked meal on the table every night and never minded that I’d rather read a book than play outside, although I ended up doing that quite a bit too. I loved reading that you loved the book “Seventeenth Summer” as I still have my
    Scholastic book copy and still love to give it a “quick read” when I see it.

    You must be so excited about your trip – I don’t know if I could sleep without getting up all night long to check my packing or look at the itinerary. I’m looking so forward to “sailing” along with you!

    Linda T

  19. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Beautiful post!!! I could especially relate to the “throw up bowl” :) We use our childhood “bowl” to change the oil in the car! Everytime my husband gets it out I think of all those sick days!!!! hahaha

    PS: I’m happy your mother was such a great mother. Look at the gift she has given the world. She must’ve had a wonderful mother also!

    • sbranch says:

      My grandma was pure paradise, but I would say that, because she was!

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        I truly loved my Grandma too! Someone once asked me if I could live over any day of my life – what would it be? I told her I would spend a holiday dinner like Thanksgiving with my family when we were all young, shiney and bright – with my grandparents again and really, really pay attention and soak up all the love and goodness. What a blessing the wonderful, strong, loving women in our lives are.

        • sbranch says:

          Sounds like you would love the movie Peggy Sue Got Married!

          • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

            I’ve thought of that movie many times!!!!!!!

          • Paula B. says:

            That is one of my all-time favorite movies for so many reasons but the part that always gets me is when Peggy Sue answers the phone and it’s her grandmother on the other end… if we could all just have a phone call back to our loved ones in the past, just to hear their voices and to chat once again.

          • sbranch says:

            That is the moment! Insta-tears.

  20. Janet says:

    Great post – as usual. And the Girlfriends have already said it all – I can’t think of anything to add that hasn’t already been well-said by someone else. So I’ll just say a very very Happy Mother’s Day to everyone here. Some of us have little kids, some have big kids, some have furry kids – and some have them all [!!!] but we all love and care for something that loves and needs us back – and that’s motherhood!

    PS – is it just me or do you look a lot like your mom? Very strong resemblance especially to the one picture that’s captioned “Natural Beauty.” I’ll bet you at 17 were an absolute ringer for your mom at 17…

  21. Laura says:

    You have such a lovely singing voice! I have tears in my eyes! Everything you wrote about your mom and Mother’s Day was so touching and beautiful. Thank you for mentioning “other mothers.” And thank you for reminding me about that song from my childhood – - I had forgotten all about it.

  22. christie ray says:

    i’m crying now…..we sang that song on the playground doing the clap pat clap pat cross over hands clap pat clap pat…for entire recess, with all our little girlfriends!
    Thank you for singing the tune, and bringing back a flood of memories…my grandma always sang or hummed…and mother always sang scarlet ribbons as she tucked me in bed at night. At 6 years old, I would cry just hearing her sweet voice singing that sweet song. I’ve always been all about pretty ribbons…goes back that far…
    You’re a dear one, Sue…
    Christie

  23. What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful Mom. I bet no one is as proud of you as is she. You little pork chops are just precious too.

    Have a terrific voyage. Can’t wait to enjoy it with you through your blog. I will be reading each entry!!!

  24. Angie(Tink!) says:

    omgggggggggggggggg…Sweet Sue You My Dear Can Sing!!!!! You have A Beautiful Voice…May I Be Your Talent Agent?… :-) Your Tribute to Your Wonderful Mom Has Filled My Heart & Soul with Pure Joy….Now We All Know Why You are a Very Magical Girl….Huge Smile on My Face! :-) & Pitter Patter goes My Heart…Thank You for This Wonderful Mother’s Day Inspiration!…Now it’s Like 2 more Days & Your Beyond Fabulous Adventure Begins! Yay! sending Love & Hugzzz….& We’ll Be Jolly Friends For ever More….Safe Journey Pixie~Dust Everywhere! Yay! I Love You Sweet Sue! xoxo~Angie(Tink!) Poof!

  25. Barbara (WA) says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Patricia Louise Stewart! You did such a wonderful job raising Susan and now she brings so much joy and hope into our lives. Thank you!

  26. Oh my goodness…are we sisters? I think we have the same Mom! : ) You brought back so many childhood memories, even though I grew up in a tiny town in central Missouri in the 1950′s. My Mom even sang that little song to us but I never new the name of it. And I have tried to sing it to my grandchildren! My Mom went on to be with Jesus 9 years ago this month & Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me anymore. Cherish your Mom…and thanks for the memories!

  27. Debbie says:

    What a wonderful post! I am going to have my Mother read it. I remember my Mother singing the “Forever” song with me, but we called it the “Playmate” song! I have tears in my eyes from reading this post!

  28. Siobhan from Santa Monica, CA says:

    Oh, jiminy, I’m just bawling here, Susan! What a special childhood your mom gave you…truly a vintage dream. I wish everyone could have that in the world…don’t you think it would be a happier place? I do. I’m glad you had such a happy happy childhood, and your mom still gets all the love and honor you can dish out. How wonderful for her! And, lucky for us, you share. snif snif.

  29. Sandra says:

    What a delightful, love, fun filled post; well done, Susan! What a blessing filled life God has given you, beginning with your beloved Mother.

  30. Such a precious tribute! My mom really did make it look so easy. She’s one of the most important people in my world.

  31. gina h says:

    Enjoyed this post! My mom sang all the time too, and when I got married, my husband said, “you know more songs than anyone I have ever known”. Things like Mairzy Doates and We’ll be Jolly friends, and the list goes on! I still catch myself singing ones that my mom forgot the words to and finishing with a lala or hum hum. Ha, and we never learned the words she forgot!

    I remember dissolving into laughter when she helped me with a science project of putting an egg in a bottle…one of the hundreds she helped us with.
    (My beautiful mom looked like Ava Gardener, but I look like my dad!!)

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. We all think it was worth the time you took to post it. :)

  32. melissa says:

    Oh, Susan, I love this sweet tribute to your mom!! My mom sang that song to me when I was little, too! The way I learned it was …”slide down my rain barrel, holler out my cellar door”. The rest was like your’s, except I didn’t even know about the middle part! :) I sang it to my two girls, and now to my grand daughter. ♥

  33. Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

    Dear Susan~
    I just want to tell you that you continue to inspire me with every topic you write about! As I turned the calendar page this morning, I instantly thought of Mother’s Day and the challenge it presents me. I don’t have the wonderful childhood memories of my mother that most do. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. However….I have been blessed with 6 brothers and sisters and we remain very close and supportive of each other. We share the care of our parents as they are aging….not always easy but we are lucky to have each other. Anyway…you reminded me of something my younger sisters and I talked about last year. We realized that because of our family situation, we have really become “mothers” for each other. We really are lucky to have each other! So Mother’s Day this year, I will find some wonderful way to honor my sisters! Thank you for all you share and inspire!

  34. Susan (in VA) says:

    You’ve written some amazing posts, Miss Susan, but this one takes first prize. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more touching tribute to a parent. This sure wasn’t like my childhood, but you brought it to life as if were actually there with you all.

    And those potato chip cookies? I do think I’ll just have to try those out.

    Thank you.

  35. Heather says:

    Your comments about your mother always singing really resonated with me. I have strong memories of my mother singing while she worked. Two particular songs I recall were “My Happiness” and “Buttons and Bows”

  36. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!! ok..it’s certain now..somehow..someway..we were raised by the same person 2000 miles apart!!!!…and weren’t we soooooo very lucky…..the song.. one of our favorites..the cookie recipe..never seen it anywhere else but at moms..the singing…lalalala..all of the time..the traveling at 4:00 AM ( a little late for us!!! : ) )…the knitting…the cooking…(however, I taught her to bake..and swim!!!!)…ohhhhh..loved this post..and have loved reading all of our girlfriends’ replies..carrying their mothers in their hearts and actions..so inspiring…..loving our children and other peoples’ children everday..hoping to bring joy and calm to their lives….to come from a nurturing home means everything..and all of us here are passing it forward….thank you for leading the way…your mother is proud for sure!! Well…getting closer!! I saved the New York Harbor webcam link in my “favorites” and plan to help send you and Joe off on Friday…We are hosting a Derby Day Party on Saturday..so I will be making simple syrup for the mint juleps, and baking our traditional Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Derby Pie..and yes..I have a hat too!!! Bon Voyage friend..have a glorious time! love, cindy

  37. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Susan, this post was so great…my mom was not 17 when I was born, but 40, and I’m still blessed to have her at age 88. She relished being a homemaker after a failed first marriage and a young son to support forced her to return to the workforce in the early ’50s. Growing up, I had lots of time to read, play and just grow at my own pace, while knowing she was always there nearby. Our home was the one the neighborhood kids came to when they needed a hug, advice or a fresh-baked cookie. I gave her a run for her money; I was a strong-willed and determined (not to say obnoxious! :) ) youngster, but she has always been and remains the biggest blessing in my life. I remember her sewing my clothes, reading to me, singing to me at night and generally just being the best mom I could have ever had. And she still is!

  38. Pamela says:

    I can’t read all the comments before mine, so if someone else already said this, forgive me for the repetition.
    You sing like Doris Day – I love your voice! And I know that song – my little neighbors and I sang it – they had it on a record. Thanks for bringing back the memory. That was fun!
    Goodness, you write straight to the heart. Your mom will be so touched when she reads this. Those photos are adorable.
    Happy Mother’s Day, dear Susan’s mom!!! You are an amazing lady and you raised a daughter who is a shining light on this earth. Bouquets to you. . . applause. . . BRAVO!

  39. Linda Auwerda says:

    My sweet mom used to sing the Playmate song to me and I hadn’t thought of it in years. Your memories brought back some of my memories of my dear mom, who I miss a lot.

  40. Ema says:

    Delightful! Thank you for sharing your happy childhood memories. I have so many happy memories of my mom and I try everyday to give them to my own children.

  41. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Good Morning Susan *
    Your new post…”Mother’s Day”…your endearing words (and music)…your special family photos and your “heart-tugging” tribute to your Mom, was a joy to read today.

    And I am so delighted you shared it all with us. Thank you!
    Most of all, your sweet Mom will treasure every little word, every little happy memory and every little picture you placed on your “Mother’s Day” page.

    To quote from the “Forevermore” song that you sang (soooo adorably):
    I hope we’ll be jolly friends for-ever-more too!

    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington*
    P.S. Speaking of friends, Lori from Maine posted to you, that she and I just”connected off-your-blog”. We really did! Now, we are in the beginning of a blossoming friendship, via e-mails, hand written letters, your blog and I added one more connection …the phone!
    I surprised her this morning with a little “hello-chat”. She is so delightful, and so easy to talk to, even though we just met. We are discovering how much we have in common, the very first being You and Your Blog, where we met!

    Susan (and Joe), Have a wonderful, fantastic, happy vacation in England!
    Hi Lori! Have a wonderful day today!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s great! Tell her I said hello next time! xoxo We leave tomorrow, and as I have said before, “Yikes.” Still stands.

  42. Susan F. says:

    Loved your post. It’s so funny how shared memories are “generational” – I’m 55 and Forevermore was one of my Mother’s favorite songs to sing to me:) I haven’t thought of that song in years. Thanks:)

  43. Betty says:

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your Mum. She is an inspiring woman and it’s easy to see how she has been an influence in your life. Happy Mother’s Day to her from me :)
    Betty (Melb.Aus.)

  44. Suzanne in Sydney, Australia says:

    A gorgeous post Susan.

    Two days to go until you sail off the The Old Dart! Enjoy your trip, who knows I could walk past you in London, i’ll be there part of the time you are. Smooth sailing, happy travelling and have a great time collecting memories for you and for us watching your blog.

  45. Darlene (nyc) says:

    Dear Susan, what a beautiful tribute to your mom and what a beautiful mom she is!! What you’ve shared ripples out and touches our lives for the better….thank you for sharing your mom. What a lucky girl I am to have stumbled upon your books and found you.

    • Darlene (nyc) says:

      p.s I know the song but always sang “slide down my rainbow!!!” Love that I have the all words and your beautiful singing voice to go with it now!!

  46. I feel choked up from the posts by the ladies who did not have such loving mothers for I had such a mother. In my case, however, she was not “there for me” because of my father and he was his way because of his life experiences. So in the end it has helped me to see the other side of the coin and be more understanding of why people aren’t always so lovely because I loved my parents no matter what and miss them terribly.

    And Susan, now we know why you’re so adorable! It was your destiny!

    My tribute to Mothers: All women are mothers in a sense because we each had a mother, such as they were, in some cases. The mother in us reaches out to others to offer love and nurturing to anyone who will accept it either from our stockroom of love or our need for it.

  47. Linny144 says:

    Your very blessed to have such lovely memories. Although I had a mother, I never was really ‘mothered’. My memories are similar to Carol’s. I actually did not think people had positive relationships with their mother’s because many of friends did not have loving mothers either. Its one of the reasons I was so ambivalent about having children although I did not make the connection until I was much older. By the time, I dealt with some of the issues and met people with great relationships with their mothers, I was not able to have kids. Mother’s day is difficult, but I focus on my many other blessings including finding your blog.
    Looking forward to reading about your cruise.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll be your mother. A good mother. who loves you, nurtures you, inspires you, and yes, sings to you! xo

  48. Mary Eva says:

    Susan, I just loved your Mother’s Day tribute. I have to comment on your Mom’s picture, she was so beautiful. When I look at my own Mother’s early pictures she also was so beautiful. They truly were Ladies back then weren’t they? Even in everyday pictures they were so romantic looking in a healthy way. I know they couldn’t have been happy all the time, but they sure fooled us. Things today seem much more casual and that is good as well, but I sometimes wonder if I weren’t born in the wrong era? Thanks again for this post.

  49. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Dear Darling Sue: Wiping away the tears, so I can see to make a comment! This blog is so beautiful, I’m printing it to show my 96 yr old Mom, & tell her I wrote it – just kidding about the writing part! My heart aches for those who didn’t have Moms like ours, but they learned valuable lessons & became wonderful Moms! One GF of mine says “everybody has a story”, & I love it that you share parts of yours with us. You’re an amazing writer & painter (& singer), & have amazing parents & GFs, & husband, & kitties – thank you so much for sharing with us! “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” to you and yours. Love you, Joanie

  50. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    What a lovely tribute to your mother and to all moms! You surely did have a very special mother who was truly born to the calling, Susan. This brought back many special memories of my own childhood and time spent with my own mother. I don’t know whether it has been mentioned yet, not having read all the comments, but my mom knew all the jump rope jingles from her childhood. She taught them to me, my sister and our friends. We spent hours jumping rope with girlfriends. We also had a long rope knotted to the door of the garage so that my sister and I could jump alone as well.

    Mom was also very good at mimicry and she would mimic the teachers that she had in school for our amusement. And she fostered my love of reading in me. I can still feel what it was like to nestle against her on one side, my sister on the other, while she read “Under the Lilacs” by Louisa May Alcott to us.

    Thanks for the jaunt down memory lane!

    • Elizabeth in Montana says:

      My mom jumped rope too! She was a Double Dutch champion in childhood!

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        Oh my, I didn’t know they even had jump rope championships! That would have been so much better to watch on Sat. and Sun. afternoons on the educational channel than bowling championships.

        Your Mom being a Double Dutch champion really would have been something to be proud of!!!

  51. Karen says:

    What an amazing post. I loved reading about all the things that your mom taught you, and the wonderful photos.

    My mom is 86 and I just went to see her in Vermont yesterday. The older I get the more I know that she has taught me the important things in life, like ice cream tastes better with chocolate sprinkles; take time to embrace special moments; there is always time to watch a sunset; and cookies taste like love when wrapped in a paper napkin.

    Have a beautiful time in London. So many of my friends are so excited about your trip. Wouldn’t it make a lovely book?

    Karen

  52. Carol Divis says:

    Can’t add anything that previous posts haven’t been said but I’ve never read such a heartfelt, joyous, appreciative, loving tribute to anyone than the one you give your mom. God blessed you and your siblings with an angel on earth and you certainly shine with all the lessons she taught you.
    Thank you, Mrs. Stewart, for the love you gave Susan and therefore, allowing her to share herself with us.
    Wonderful!

  53. Robbie Hall Raker says:

    Susan, your Mom is the kind of Mom I have always aspired to be – not always successfully! It’s easy to see where you got your ability to INSPIRE others!
    The song, ‘Forevermore’ was always my Mom’s go to song when she sang to us! We always called it ‘Playmate’ and I sang (to use the word loosely!) to my kiddos as well when they were little.

    Safe travels and Bon Voyage, Susan and Joe. England will be an even cheerier place with you there!

  54. Robbie Hall Raker says:

    p.s. – just listened to the song! And the girl has ‘pipes’ to boot!! Love it!

  55. Patricia from Philly says:

    Dear Patricia Louise Stewart (and Susan, too!)
    My mother never wrote recipes down. She always said “a little of this, and a bit of that” – and never wrote down the cookie recipe that I loved most of all, which had a crunch to it, the “secret ingredient”. Years later, after she died, I tried to remember the flavor of the cookies to see if I could conjure up the ingredients. No luck. I talked about those cookies to anyone who would listen, and no one acknowledged that they knew what I was talking about.
    And then, lo and behold, there they are! On Susan’s blog! The secret ingredient is potato chips! Tra la! I am in cookie heaven, and I will be baking them this weekend!
    That is, if I can find a chef on the Queen Mary who will allow me the use of his oven! I will be “going ajourneying” to England! Can’t wait!
    Thank you, Mrs. Stewart! Thank you, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Bake now and bring them with you! :-) she said, rubbing her cookie fingers together gleefully.

      • Mary Ann says:

        And to make them company special…well dip one end in melted dark chocolate and then sprinkle with just the tiniest pinch of very crushed chips…

  56. Sue says:

    I think that this is one of the best ever blogs that you have written, tears are flowing and smiles are happening!
    Potato chip cookies that is a new one, but you know I’m going to try them, the Lays are calling to me…thanks an excuse to eat potato chips.
    AND, I love hearing you talk, and I have heard that little song before, can’t remember if my Mom sang it or not. My Mom was 76 on April 25, she has to use a walker to walk now, but she can tell great stories of her childhood!
    Thanks for this wonderful post today!

  57. pat addison says:

    hello everyone, good morning sorry i haven’t been on lately, been busy helping a good friend and will be busy most of this week helping her out. her husband passed away sunday night, now he has been slowly deteriorating for about 2 years and this past year has been the worst with this past winter really being bad, so its more of a relief to her than a shock. but today they want me to meet them at the funeral home out here, evidentally the funeral home out here is the only one that does cremation. so they are bringing his body out here and she wants me to meet her there so she won’t be alone. think i’ll have her come back to the house with me and have coffee and some sandwiches while we wait for the process to be over with and then can determine the date of the memorial service. anyway, Happy mother’s day to all the moms, grandmothers and moms to be, hope you all have a wonderful day. bon voyage susan, in case i miss that. have a warm sunny day today everyone. hugs….. :)

    • Terrie from Atlanta says:

      What a dear friend you are, Pat! The whole process post- mortem puts so much responsibility back into the hands of the family, and the thought of cremation is a bit graphic. You were extra- kind to both wait with & offer comfort and distraction to your dear friend. I remember being called to sign for the FedEx box with my Dad’s ashes ( he died at a ski resort far from home). Talk about a time when you need your friends, a pot of tea (or adult bevvie) and a bit of levity! Hope y’all got through everything as best you could. You girls are lucky to have each other! XOXO

  58. Kathy says:

    Priceless photos. Thanks for giving us a peek. More priceless — the memories.

  59. Jack says:

    I just got a call from Jack, your cat, was hard to understand over the phone, but what he wanted, was for you to play, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” on your I-Pod as you are sailing and toasting with Joe, out past the Statue of Liberty. That was nice singing on the tribute to your mom. You did good! Kinda reminded me of how I sing the Tennessee Waltz or On the Wings of a Dove, but please don’t beg me!

    • sbranch says:

      No one sings it like you Dad! XOXO

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Oh, I LOVE the Tennesee Waltz! Hmmm…how can we hear you sing it, Jack? (other than driving from Minnesota to Arizona, that is…) :-)

        • sbranch says:

          Be careful what you ask for :-)

          • Joan Lesmeister says:

            Love it that you sing Jack – my Dad did too, a lot! Tennessee Waltz was one of his specialties, but a lot of his songs weren’t exactly the latest on the Hit Parade!!

          • carmel says:

            Oh please have your Dad sing those songs and video so we can hear (when you return and recover from your trip, of course). I loved your singing that song that I haven’t heard since childhood. We used to sing them in sync making up those hand claps (I don’t know what they’re called). Anyway, maybe you both can entertain us with a duet with your dad on video. I’m serious, I think that would be just lovely and fun. Jack, thank you for your comments. They’re greatly appreciated for many reasons.

  60. Candice says:

    Susan,

    That was such a lovely tribute to your mother; it brought tears to my eyes. Have a wonderful trip to England!

    Candice

  61. Linda says:

    What a great mom you have! I love the pork chop jokes! Thanks for the inspiration to make my kids’ childhoods more fun and loving!

  62. Pat Mofjeld says:

    So, Susan, you leave home tomorrow but the ship sails Friday, right? There is a virtual tour available of the ship and it was fascinating–all new to me. You are kind of opening up another world for some of us who have never taken a cruise or even known anyone who has! :-)

  63. SharonS says:

    Wishing you a wonderful and memorable trip. Will be watching the ship leave NY harbour on Friday. I am sure you will be taking deep relaxing breaths as you sail towards all the new adventures and memories in the making. Looking forward to hearing the stories. Have fun.

  64. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    The Bouquet waiting in your room: Wild Purple Iris’s, Fresh Lavender Lilacs,
    Ruffly Orange Roses, and some little Lime
    Green Things that I don’t know the name of

    The Champagne: Is GOOD

    The Note: BON VOYAGE JOE & SUE!!!
    Wishing you many “Pinch Me” Moments,
    the Magic of Moonlit Nights, and
    the Hand of Your True Love!
    Now GO……………………
    and make some Dreams come True!!!
    Waving & Wishing, XoXDawn

  65. Susan, what a sweet sweet tribute to your mom!
    Bon Voyage! Have a wonderful wonderful time! Can’t wait! :)

    xoxo
    CJ

  66. Lois Burgess from Nova Scotia, Canada says:

    What a lovely tribute to your mum, Susan :-) She sounds like a beautiful lady – inside and out!! My mum will be 86 this August and I am so lucky to still have her in my life. I love her a lot, but it wasn’t until I was in my 30′s that I truly came to admire her for being herself. I am so thankful to have had a mum that has stood beside me in the ups and downs of life even when it hasn’t been easy. Thank you to all the girlfriends for sharing their stories too!! I’m so excited about your’s and Joe’s trip!!! I have marked the departure date on my calendar. And Susan…you have a lovely voice :-) I hope this isn’t too personal Susan, but do you have an accent? I love accents — guess that’s just another reason I’ve always thought anything British “loverly”!

  67. Kelly J. says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom; she sounds like a terrific person! And, guess what? We had a throw up pan too! Haha! Too funny!

  68. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Bon Voyage Susan and Joe! Bon Voyage and happy returns to Lady Liberty. Safe travels and extended days of delight!! BON VOYAGE!!!

  69. Candy Stevens Job says:

    I love your tribute to mothers! My mother has been gone 4 years, so she would be 81 if she were still with us. I hadn’t thought of the Playmate song in 40 years (at least). I don’t even know if I sang it to my children. It sounds like we had similar childhoods. Mine was made up of tea parties, homemade doll clothes, and many other special things. How blessed we are to have have wonderful moms.

  70. Georgie says:

    Tick tock goes the clock
    Soon you’ll be standing on the dock
    One more day and you’re on your way
    The Queen Mary 2 will be sailing away
    500 girlfriends with tears in their eyes
    Will be watching the webcams and searching the skies
    There’s the ship here it comes. Is that Susan and Joe?
    We all send our love as to England you go!

    Bon Voyage! Love and Kisses! We will be waving and following along.

    Georgie from NJ

    • sbranch says:

      Love it Georgie! Tick tock is right! We leave the island today around 3 ish, if we can. We have until around 3 tomorrow to get ourselves to the ship, but we are trying to go around noon so we can be on board as soon as possible. The only appropriate word these days seems like Yikes!! So excited! CUTE poem!

      • Georgie says:

        YIKES! YIKES! YIKES! will soon be AHHHHH! Now just to get to that point! ;)

        Happy race around, tie up the loose ends (or not) day!

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, must go out and fertilize the roses this morning!!! In the rain, but I want them booooteeful when we get home!

  71. Silvia Niomi says:

    What a lovely blog. Your mother and father both are lovely too and we are fortunate they had you. I have been collecting your artwork for many years now. It has been charming and fun to look at and has been an inspiration to me as an artist as well. Your blog makes me smile. I really enjoy hearing anecdotes from your childhood. I’ll bet you have plenty of them too. LOL at the pork chop story. Now, every time I think about pork chops it makes me laugh (in fact, just today I was thinking about what to have for dinner and I happen to think I have pork chops in the freezer – and the thought of pork chops made me smile, imagining pork chop wallpaper…funny :) ) I have one pork chop. The good Lord decided to only give me one chop. And what a joy of a pork chop he is. I told him I could have ten pork chops just like him … that would suit me just fine. He’s been fun. I absolutely adore motherhood. Out of all the things I’ve done in life, I cherish motherhood the most. My love for motherhood started when I became a preemie nurse. I did this for many years and have held some of the tiniest people on the planet ( the smallest a little over a pound). A dad with big hands could slip his wedding ring over their little one’s hands. It was hard work nurturing someone so tiny and then came the day that we would wrap them up and get them ready to go home. Some homes you just knew they were going to be loved and mom and dad was going to be wonderful; I’d sigh in relief. Some homes, well I’d say a little prayer for everyone in that home because the challenges were going to be many. Experiencing this type of work made me really appreciate the strength of a good home with fun and loving parents, priceless.

    p.s. one thing I use to tell my son when he’d start to whine because I wouldn’t let him go somewhere (somewhere I thought might be ‘iffy’) I’d say, you are worth more than the biggest diamond ring ever and you wouldn’t leave the biggest diamond ring lying around would you? He never knew how to come back on that.

    p.s.s I am going to learn that little song….

    abbracci e baci (italian for hugs and kisses)
    xoxox

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful Silvia …. One of my dearest friends in the world, Diana, just retired after something like 35 years of being a baby nurse; preemies where her forte. I visited her at the hospital many times, and was always in awe of what she did! And what you did! She also had one pork chop and he is also the light of her life.

      • Silvia Niomi says:

        How fun :) Pork chops are fun. Your friend is a dedicated trooper to have lasted as a baby nurse for 35 years. That is no small accomplishment and she’s probably witnessed many big changes in neonatology. I was in nursing for about 20 years, 10 of those I was a preemie nurse. There are times when I think about those tiny folks and wonder where they are at. At some point I may go back to nursing. I will tell you that what you do is awesome too. There have been many times when life has given me plenty to deal with. Sometimes, I’d get to feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all and that’s when I’d pull out my small collection of artwork and look through each of them. I’d look through one of your small calendars and some of your cookbooks with all the delicious food charmingly painted on their pages and it would just take me somewhere fun and light…. just what I needed. I love watercolor artwork… it’s very delicate. Just a couple more tiny tidbits…. about 25 years ago I started to collect little bits and pieces of your work whenever I’d bump in to it. I always wondered who Susan Branch was… this was the pre-internet days, we were not as connected. Then along the way I learned about Martha’s Vineyard and how beautiful it was…. anything Martha’s Vineyard drew my attention. I always thought ‘someday, I’d love to visit there.’ Then came the internet. I wanted to find more ‘birds of a feather’ so I googled some of my favorite artists. That’s when I bumped into your blog. What a fun blog and to boot you live on Martha’s Vineyard… a two for one :) As I read through your blogs and comments I think there are sooo many ‘birds of a feather’ here…. why, they are all perched on the Branches of your blog tree….. great! xoxoxo.

        p.s hence forth…. I promise not to be so long winded. I just wanted to tell you these things.

  72. Mary Ann says:

    I lost my Mom 30 yrs ago but I talk to her everyday. This was a lovely , lovely post Susan I know I will read it many times in the next few weeks and I think you should include it in a book! I am so excited though to be leaving for england…lol!

  73. Vicki says:

    Thank you Sue! You are so dear!

  74. Thanks for your tribute. Your mom and mine come from the same generation. My mom always made life fun and still does (Thank God). Mine would make peanut butter and jelly and tuna salad sandwiches and put all the sandwiches in the bread bag. Then she’d pack some fruit and we’d go to the beach. She always made a picnic and still does. Now it takes her forever to make a meal and get ready to go anywhere (she has to have her feet up before putting on her surgical stockings for her varicose veins). Her meals are still amazing and she still dirties every pot and pan but when it was time to eat it was always an occasion even if it was just tomato soup, from the can, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Every meal had candles even when we camped. Now she has the cutest Airstream she camps in. When she was over 60 she said she was too old to sleep in a tent. God Bless her!!! We were there for Easter and I’ll see her again for Mother’s Day.

  75. Peggy Mayfield says:

    What a tickle it was to hear the playmate song!!! You sing it VERY well – my Aunt’s Nancy & Linda taught me that one when I was still the only grandchild in the family! I haven’t thought of it since my daughter was little.
    Have a lovely trip – and thank you for everything.

  76. Christine Anderson says:

    Your mother is so like my mother! I know all the songs fro the 30′s and 40′s, WWII songs, fifties songs. My mother sang all the time! I miss that mother as she has dementia for the last 3 years. She still loves to sing in church so we take her almost every week.

    Tell your mother you love her while you can!!!

  77. Karen V (Connecticut) says:

    Dear Susan,
    Just wanted to tell you how much I loved this post, there was so much in it!

  78. Karen V (Connecticut) says:

    Well, OK , my computer twitched, and I didn’t get a chance to say that the tribute to your mom (and all moms) was lovely, thanks for the cookie recipe (they sound amazing) and the part about the throw-up bowl had me laughing so hard I was crying! Didn’t everyone have some kind of throw up bowl at their house? T
    hat was hilarious…and kind of gross. But all silliness aside, loved learning more about your mom, now we know why you turned out so good!
    Looking forward to waving to you sailing off tomorrow on the webcam! Have a great trip!

  79. Kathie says:

    Hello again…

    This blog always makes me feel young again remembering all the times growing up with similiar interests and activities.
    The song you sang, Susan, was lovely….I remembered the lyrics and melody immediately. It took me back many, many years.
    Have a wonderful time in England…have a safe cruise….can’t wait to see the blogs from Britain!….Bon Voyage!!!!!

    Kathie from Limerick

  80. Gale Puffenberger says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your Mom! And thanks for the memories with the “Playmate” song-we sang this all the time and played a hand-clapping game that went along with it. My grandmother’s house had both a rain barrel and a cellar door:)!

  81. Susan says:

    Have a wonderful fun filled, not much work to do vacation in England! WooHoo!
    BTW, with Mother’s Day, I think of the “Mom’s Crown” you had online a few years back. Any chance I can find it and print out one more?
    Travel Blessings to you and Joe!

  82. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    My gosh Susan…my mom taught me that song but I forgot about it! So happy you reminded me…now I will teach it to my granddaughter.

  83. Dinahsoar says:

    Oh Susan…thank you for the walk down memory lane…I loved it. Your mom sounds wonderful as does your childhood. It’s refreshing to hear about someone who had a great childhood…seems rare these days. The song ‘Forevermore’ reminds me of “Hey Hey Snowflake”. Thanks for the sweet memories….from the hills of TN

  84. Wendy says:

    Absolutely perfect post… wonderful pictures from your past. Thanks for sharing! My 96 yr old Mother lives with me. She is now a great grandmother, as of 10 mos ago! Many memories. Sweet music and thoughts. Ready to sail?

  85. Lynne Neal says:

    Susan I loved this blog, my mum died a few years ago and now after nursing my little Aunt in her death I realized I have no reason to buy mothers day card s any more ,how sad but I loved this and hearing of the happy memories of your mother .

  86. Kimi says:

    Susan

    I ask you forgive me but I’ve been away and did not see this post and all your others until today! First please let me say from my heart so very sorry to hear about you lovely Mom and her passing last year. I can see the love you have and had for her still, anyone can see she was a very loving and good mother I have come to understand this about your mom from you and your blogs. Dear Susan you mom lives everyday in your heart and that no one can take away from you! for every time you think of her I tell you she very near! We don’t die Susan we just move over. I wish you peace and to your mothers Soul. Don’t be sad someday we will all be together again that’s Jesus promise. Gods peace Susan I send you XO XO “This ones from your Mom XO….

    • sbranch says:

      Not this Susan, I can’t tell who you’re speaking to Kimi, just don’t want people to get mixed up (especially friends of my mom) because my mom is well and fine.

      • Kimi says:

        Susan can you let me know you forgive me for the goof up! I am now for sure going to get glass Joe has been telling me to go and have my eyes check. I truly read your post with love but now I understand what happen the first reply below your blog about your mom and her life and yours, their was another Susan and it was her mom that past! I got so upset I thought it was your mother this was my boo boo. Can you please remove my post I’m really am in embarrassed! about this. “Can you let me know your not upset by this blunder of mine and send it to my email address Susan A fiend Kimi

  87. Barbara L Seman says:

    Hi Susan, Love your Mother’s Day post ♥ My friends Carol & Billy are from England – up by Scotland. They went home to visit & came back to the U.S. on the QEII. Brought me a red tee shirt from the ship. They had a fantastic time!
    I hope you do too. I’m enjoying your blogs & have not gotten sea sick yet!
    ♥ Barbara

  88. Linda Gilliam says:

    Susan,
    Your singing this brought tears to my eyes, my own Mama who died 7 years ago used to sing this to me when I was little and playing with my Tiny Tears doll…
    What a WONDERFUL trip down memory lane…
    You were SO lucky to have brothers and sisters, I am an only child and both of my parents are now gone, I feel a bit lost to say the least…my Mama was my VERY best friend in the world, you just CANNOT replace that love!

  89. Nicole says:

    Susan…this was one of my favorite posts you have done. I sing show tunes to my little ones all the time, and they love it…even my 8 year old requests specific tunes before bedtime. You are my inspiration. Because of your mother and how she treated you…you have given so much to so many others who are trying to be better for their own kids. Thanks so much both to you and your mom!

  90. Caren says:

    Just love your Mother’s Day Tribute to your Mom. Sounds like we had the same type of childhood. My father was 21 and my mother was 16 when they married. I had a wonderful childhood growing up in San Francisco in the “Wonder Years”. I was the 3rd of 4 girls and my mother did all the same things your Mom did, they must have grown up at the same time. You are still lucky to have your Mom. My Mom passed away many years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and he is now 42 years old. I still miss her. Have a wonderful trip and I surely enjoy reading your blog.

  91. Susan :) we sang this song when we were little and I taught it to my kids and their little friends :)

    Rilla now sings it.

    We’d sing it on the bus clapping our hands and knees to each other seeing how fast we’d go and who’d win.

    Except our words were different a bit…

    So Sorry Playmate
    I can’t come play with you
    My dolly has the flu
    She’s turning black and blue
    Climb up the apple tree
    Down to the cellar door
    and we’ll be jolly friends
    for ever more more jolly jolly more more :)

    Love the post for your mama <3

  92. HELEN BECKUS says:

    I found the story of your Beautiful Mom, large family how fantastic LOVED THIS STORY and touched my heart so much. Thank You! for being You!

  93. Debbie Prifrel says:

    Such a trip down memory lane! Yesterday would have been my mom’s 83rd birthday. She’s been gone for almost 6 years. She taught me “mairzy doats” “forevermore” and made potato chip cookies. We always watched Shirley Temple movies together too! With tears in my eyes, I thank you.

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