When I Go to My Mom’s House

My hubby, daughters, and I recently returned from a visit with my family in Pennsylvania. I was so glad that Baby G was able to meet my maternal grandmother, who helped raise me, during this time. They shared a heartfelt hello, and good-bye.

We stayed with my parents, as we always do. And as always, my mom made sure her house was ready for us. She put clean towels in our rooms, along with new clothes for the girls. (“Don’t worry about packing them anything!” she said.)

30_When I Go to My Mom's House

My mom has a second freezer in the basement. When we arrived, she began thawing the food she prepared for our visit weeks earlier: breaded chicken, lasagna, stuffed cabbage rolls, zucchini fritters, and—per Little G’s request—lots of cookies. I think second freezers in the basement, bursting with goodies like these, may be distinctive of families of Italian-American heritage. 🙂

Towels, clothes, homemade food … all creature comforts. Who wouldn’t love to “come home” to these things? What I love about my mom’s house, though, is that these things symbolize her caring for my family and me.

All this caring takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort. Of course, this is what moms do.

I remember a moment soon after Baby G was born, when both my mom and Stanton’s mom were standing with me in my kitchen. My mom was staying with us for a few weeks to help out, and I mentioned that Charlotte did the same thing for her own daughter about a year and a half earlier. Playing with the new baby’s older sisters; getting their breakfasts, lunches, snacks (so many snacks!), and dinners ready; making sure they were clean and well-rested. Plus hundreds of other things that moms do every day, from putting Band-Aids on boo-boos (including the imaginary ones) to calling a plumber because the kitchen sink faucet is dripping (again). Basically, taking care of everyone and everything.

“You both did so much,” I remember saying to my mom and Charlotte.

They looked at each other and laughed. “Well, we’re battle tested,” Charlotte said. It was something any seasoned mom could relate to.

As the years move on, I want to create the kind of house that my mom has, and Charlotte has. And I want to be the kind of mom that they’ve been to their children (four each!). I want my daughters to know our front door is always open to them and their friends, and later their families. I want them to know I’ll always take care of them, whether they’re 4 years old or 40. When you come to my house, there will always be plenty of everything. Just bring yourself.

Another hope I have is that my girls will be as close as I am to my sister and brothers. During this recent visit, my sister took time off from her job in New York City to be with us. At one point, Jenna handed me a cup of coffee along with a plate of my mom’s Jimmy Carter Cake and said, “OK, let’s go.”

“Where?”

“To eat and watch an episode of Fright Night Lights, DUH.”

I laughed and followed my sister to the nearest TV, coffee and cake in tow. Because we love simply hanging out and sharing a cup of coffee together (Friday Night Lights reruns optional). It’s the little things, right, friends?

Yes.

I hope my daughters develop a similar bond. And I hope that as they journey along with their own lives, they come back to my house to reconnect.

I’ll need to get my own second freezer one day.

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.

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Writing Anything: The 7 Writing Truths I Live By

Whether I’m working on a blog post or business proposal, I write by these seven writing truths. I hope they’re helpful for your own writing, from blog posts to business proposals and everything in between. Good luck, friends!

1. Practice “less is more.” When you write, use exacting language. Take your time picking out the just-right words and the several details that are worth including, that help paint a picture in your reader’s mind of the story you’re telling, be it fact or fiction. Norman Maclean, who wrote my favorite book, “A River Runs Through It,” was a master of the “less is more” approach. Check out the power in the simplicity of this passage from his acclaimed memoir:

“We had to be very careful in dealing with each other. I often thought of him as a boy, but I never could treat him that way. He was never ‘my kid brother.’ He was a master of an art. He did not want any big brother advice or money or help, and, in the end, I could not help him.”

Powerful, right? I try to write “less” as much as possible in my own writing, too.

2. Read a lot. And read lots of different things. Ideas for how to improve your writing can come from wonderfully unexpected places. Case in point: Slate’s “Mad Men” TV Club recently inspired the ending to a piece I was working on. I loved how John Swansburg “signed off” his piece here with the closing “Can we still go to Friendly’s?” (a reference to the “Mad Men” episode in question) and took a similar approach with my blog post “History and Memory in Relationships.”

Another unexpected source of inspiration: Sports Illustrated. Their writers have a talent for threading witty phrases through feature stories, so that you can’t help but smiling.

3. Write as much as you can. The more you practice your craft, the more certain skills and techniques become second nature. For example, the submissions guidelines for many publications prefer one space rather than two after periods. If you regularly space sentences this way, then you can be efficient when you submit your work.

4. Revise. When you have something to write, you should just start writing—extraneous details, “more” rather than “less,” and all. But when you’re done writing, take a breath. Step away for a moment. Finesse the finished product into something sound and beautiful.

5. Include; don’t exclude. When you’re revising, check that your writing welcomes as many people as possible, so that you can reach and inspire the broadest readership possible. The original title of my post above was “History and Memory in Marriage.” During my last revision of this piece, I changed “Marriage” to “Relationships.” Why? Because I believed that the spirit of this post spoke to interpersonal connections beyond marriage—also friendships and the bonds between siblings. And other kinds of romantic relationships, too, particularly those between same-sex couples. The word “Marriage” was acting exclusively here, and I didn’t want it to.

6. Make a connection. In a blog post, ask a question or two. “Have you had a similar experience?” “Tell me your story.” In a business proposal, use “we,” “you,” and “our” rather than the more hands-off “the company” and “the project.”

7. Keep in touch. Encourage feedback and communication. And when you get feedback, reply to those comments and follow up with any reader questions. And always, always share your contact info in an easy-to-access place.

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Melissa Leddy has been writing professionally for 10 years. She’s the author of three e-books, including the popular short fiction “The Moms.” You can follow her writing on her website, and connect with her on Twitter at @MMLWrites.