She was born in Haiti and raised by her mom. Back then single moms were uncommon, but my grandma was a tough lady. When we came to the states, she spoke very little English. It was the first time she seen snow. She was a great seamstress. She could she a picture of a dress or blouse and reproduce it without a pattern. I always had the most fashionable clothes growing up. She worked making men suits and then moved on to work for lingerie designer. The timing could not have been more perfect because I was getting married that year. I had nice things for our honeymoon.
She showed me how to cook, clean and do laundry. She was tough, but loving. If I wanted something, I went to her first and she would then speak to my dad about it. Do you remember, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” Tom was amazed at how much it was similar to my upbringing.
She lives with my sister back East and I miss her. I call her every Saturday. She’s always so excited to hear from me. Each time I speak to her, I realize how much she’s slipping away. She has Alzheimer’s.
I’m grateful for the stories she told me when I was younger. Stories of her falling in love with my dad. Stories of things I did as a kid. Recipes shared from my childhood. I’m grateful because she doesn’t remember much now.
The last time I saw her she had a hard time remembering me. I speak to her all the time. I send her pictures she has framed in her room. She knows who I am when I call, but seeing me in person threw her off. It took everything I had in me not to cry. It took a good part of the day before she recognized me. God was good to me and heard my prayers. By the third day, she woke up and knew who I was right away. One of the biggest compliments my husband has paid me was that he told me I am a lot like my mom – kind, caring, loving and selfless. I love my mom. I will always remember her fondly even when she can no longer remember me.
© Nadine Z. 2008