Sunday, April 5, 2009

I promise to be true...

Bridesmaids and groomsmen were in their places after strolling down the church aisle. They waited patiently for the ceremony to begin. Each young woman wore a gingham dress they had sewn in a color to suit them, pink, yellow or lavender. Their escort wore a matching colored shirt crafted by me and a white tuxedo jacket and black trousers and bow tie. They were sharp! The church is full. Outside, the ground resembles dotted swiss with small snowdrifts here and there from the snowstorm earlier that week.

Bob Junker, in his brown plaid suit jacket, began singing "Sun Rise, Sun Set" at the front of the church as my brother Larry Kies accompanyed him on guitar. As he sang, "is this the little boy I carried", Rick walked in on the arms of his parents, Robert and Doris. Later during the stanza "Now is the little girl a bride?" I nervously entered the church aisle on the arms of Dad and Mom. I wore a white lace dress that I made myself for $12!with fabric I purchased from Woolworths dime store. Father Ralph Simington, the man who introduced us 2 + years earlier, presided at our wedding Mass and helped us administer the sacrament of Matrimony to each other. Many of our relatives and friends were there. Mary Dittmer was expecting her first child, Mike, and was smiling as she bumped into every one with her belly. (just kidding, Mary :) My brother, Pete, was busy snapping photos, along with Art Scigliano, Audry's father-in-law. I remember the church was full, the reception was fun, in spite of Rick's high school friends dipping into the liquor stash early, getting rather enebraeted before we arrived. The drinks they mixed were WAY TOO Strong! We had a great luncheon prepared by Ellen Kremer's sister and some of Mom's friends. Rick's brothers and brothers-in-law tried to 'steal' me from the party, but I resisted. All those years of wrestling with my brothers paid off and they put me down. When the reception was over, Rick and I and a few others crashed our parish dance in Waterloo and danced a few dances. That was fun, arriving in our wedding attire and stealing the spotlight for a few moments. Then on to Henry's Hamburgers for rootbeer and french fries for me. I hadn't eaten much that day. I guess I was nervous and it had finally caught up with me...

That was 34 years ago today. I'm still married to my best friend. We were babies by today's standards when we met at age 18 at a church function. 2 years later we married. I was 20, Rick turned 20 3 weeks after our wedding. Yes, he married an older (and wiser, I like to add) woman! ;) Our lives have been filled with many things since that day. I gave birth to 4 children: Eric, May 1976, Dean November 1978, Kathy July 1980, & Adam February 1982. Together we raised our family, believing God had brought us together for a reason. Our children have all grown up, moved away, moved home again, moved out again, etc. We enjoyed the time when all were under our roof, especially the years all were teenagers. Going to the activites they were involved in, listening to them talk, taking some fun trips and helping them grow to be the adults they are now WAS an enjoyable time for us. Yes, there were some shakey days when they didn't agree with our decisions and being the 'stupid, strict parent' wasn't very popular, but I like to focus on the good times we had. We had our stressful times as a family, but we pulled together - all for one and one for all. Some might say we grew up together, Rick, I and the kids. But those who know me know the real truth, the kids grew up, I didn't! :) Maybe some day... Now when they all are home together, along with our family's new additions: Trela, Meg, Kile, Cavanaugh and Lauren, it is a wonderful time. Each time they come it is like Christmas to Rick and I.

So today, on our 34th wedding anniversary, I say 'Thank you to God for bringing my life's partner into my life at such an early age. For giving us the grace to keep our focus on you, through the stages of life. Thank you to God for helping us to realize we are not alone, in good times or in bad and for blessing us with our family, friends and our life together.'

Today we will attend Mass at 10. I will have Taylor (my 12 string guitar) and will accompany the youth choir. We will probably go out to eat somewhere for our noon meal, relax this afternoon and finish up our day with a meeting at 5. I know it will be a happy day for me.

Love, Mona

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My mother, my friend...

My mother, age 83, should be a poster child for Breast Cancer. She does a monthly exam and because of that found a lump in early February. Within days she was scheduled for a biopsy, subsequent surgery and consultations. After her lumpectomy healed she began radiation this week. 4 down, 26 to go. At this time Mom has opted not to go on the hormone therapy when radiation is completed.
Mom is an amazing woman. She takes whatever comes her way with faith, determination and grace.

I remember for many years as a young mother, mom and dad would call me on my birthday just to sing "Happy Birthday" to me. I cherish this memory. My dad went to his creator in October, 2002 so the phone duets have ceased. Now Mom and I chat several times a week on the phone about anything and everything. I try to make it in for coffee at least once a week, but I can't always get that to happen. She is understanding as always, "I know you are busy."
Now as Mom goes through her radiation therapy I will be her escort on Tuesday mornings. I look forward to the time spent with her. As she leans on my arm while we saunter into the clinic, I can't help but remember all the times I have leaned on her.
Mom delights in the grandchildren and great grandchildren that come to visit her. It doesn't matter if you live next door and stop each day or come once a year. Mom is excited to see you and makes you feel special. Baskets of toys and games from second hand sources are readily available to entertain all interests. If Mom has any favorites, I would hesitate to guess who i
t might be. Everyone is loved equally.
Mom's faith life is one to look up to. I can remember as a high school girl her early morning times with God. Many days I would arise to find her at the table, head bowed, Bible open and her eyes closed in prayer. Her days began with her creator and on Sunday mornings in church she sang the many hymns with gusto.
Mom's life has been one of challenges, triumphs, heartbreaks and joys. My favorite memory of my mother will always be her quick smile, hearty laugh and eyes of love. No one can leave her home after a visiting without a hug, kiss and an "I love you."
I heard once that as daughters age they become their mother. I only hope I can live up to my mother's example.
Thank you, Mom, for being the mother, friend and mentor to me that you have always been.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas eve wish

December 24, 2008.
Kile, age 5 and Cavanaugh, age 2 dashed through the house, uninhibited as their excitement built to a frenzy. They squealed with delight as each family member arrived. The table had been transformed to a Christmas wonderland as it sparkled with Hansen heirloom dishes, crystal goblets, and golden cutlery. Oyster and sage colored linens adorned all surfaces while festive glass bulbs invited your eyes to feast on the sight. Kile and Cavanaugh's special place settings were appropriately adorned with snowmen and penquins.

Rick and I (Pappa and Grammie), Aunt Kathy and Uncle Adam joined Eric and Trela's family for a delicious meal of lasagna, bread, salad, wine and of course the Hansen family tradition of "crackers". As the bits and pieces of the new tradition were cleared away Kile bounced up to me.

"Grammie, I know what you are giving me for Christmas!"

" You do? What do you think I am giving you for Christmas?"

"You are giving me pajammies or something."

"Why do you think I am giving you jammies or something?"

"Because, you make things and you always give me something you make. (pregnant pause, followed by a wistful sigh) I wish you were a toymaker."