- Family and Parenting
My Mother Loved Blueberries
What Blueberries Make Me Think Of
It's funny how your mind associates things with one another. When I started thinking about participating in this quest for silly July holidays and I found out that July was Blueberry Month and July 14th was Blueberry day, I thought about the many attributes of this small, blue fruit, how blueberries were full of antioxidants, how they were low in calories, how they were sweet. My next thoughts were of the many blueberries recipes that I know and like to prepare and eat. From there my memories took me to a NJ shore town where, in the 50's and 60's, we children would gather fresh, wild blueberries in the summer and bring them to a lady down the street who would turn them into all sorts of delicious culinary delights. These tasty treats would be all the incentive we needed to set off right away to gather more berries for her to bake with.
Next, in that same Jersey town, I had a fun memory of all us kids running after the mystifying fog put out by the insecticide spray truck, ah the wonderful memories of childhood! We waited impatiently every night for that truck to come. My next thought was what a downer of a lens that would be, children running after, and breathing in, poisonous chemical sprays of DDT and the like. It is however, a wonderful memory of innocent times, tho' not necessarily healthier ones. Finally, I thought about my mother and how much she loved blueberries. So much in fact, that she wouldn't share them with us kids. That used to make me angry, but today, over a year after her death, it makes me happy that she enjoyed those blueberries enough to keep them for herself.
Keep Your Blueberries
I think most people think that mothering and maternal instincts are innate in women, and maybe they are in some, but they were missing in my mother. She wasn't huggy, touchy, feely or kissy. She always seemed angry and upset. As a child, I figured it was something I did. In fact, many times my Aunts would unwittingly reinforce those feelings by telling me, "Look how you have upset your mother"! With two much quieter and calmer sisters and a baby brother, I was the hyper child who was always into something. Sometimes things aren't as they seem, though you don't usually find out what was really happening until much later. My mother was one of those things. And most of my life I avoided her favorite fruit, I think, because I didn't want to be like her.
Did You Have Any Blueberry Issues Growing Up? - Blueberries AKA Mom
How did you get along with your mother growing up? Did you have any unusual mother - daughter or mother - son issues to deal with?
Did you get along with your mother growing up?
Bad Years For Blueberries
When I was 11 my father died. He was my favorite parent and closest friend. It was heartbreaking to say the least, it was most scary because I was now left alone with my mother. Yep, the blueberry lover. It seemed for many years I didn't have a parent. It was only a short time after my father died that my mother re-married a man who never realized she even had any children. And she had 4 of them. As a teen I had all the freedom I wanted, but no child ever really wants quite that much freedom. These were not good years for my mother's blueberry crops.
The Blueberry Farm Has Moved To Florida
My mother lived in Florida for 25 years and I never knew her home phone number. I had to look it up whenever I called her. It was before the days of cell phones when we actually had to know the number we wanted to call. Remember them? I went to her house more after she died than I was while she lived in it. When she moved to Florida, it wasn't as if I missed her, because for the most part, she wasn't there much when she was with us. I had quite a few years to get over my issues and I didn't even realize it was happening.
I Start To Eat Blueberries
Somewhere during those 25 years my mother lived in Florida, I began to eat blueberries. And corn muffins. Both are things my mother loved and I would think, "Oh, Mommy liked these"...finally with no anger behind the thoughts. I now had 4 children of my own and realized how difficult it must have been for my mother. She was left a widow at the age of 35, living in a different state far away from her family, not knowing how to drive, and never having had worked in her life. Would scared be a good word, would depressed be a good word, how many good words can describe what she must have been feeling? My mother was a woman of a different time. It was a time when women didn't work, they were housewives and mothers. Homemakers, domestic engineers, the wife, the mother, the blueberry lover.
I came to understand my mother, but didn't really forgive her or even like her. After all, I still didn't even know her phone number. Can you imagine? What I did learn from my mother was the kind of mother I wanted to be. I hugged my kids every day, I kissed them even when they thought they were too cool to be kissed by a mom, I took them everywhere and spent years on sports fields, my kids knew I could be upset with them and still love them. I owe all this to my mother. If she wasn't who she was, I wouldn't be the kind of mom I am.
My mother came back up north for a family function in 2009 alone, my step-father died not long before, and she never returned to her home in Florida. She became ill while here and was bedridden in a matter of weeks. She was placed in a nursing home and then a Hospice House a short time later. It seemed her "time" was upon us. My sister made the decision to bring my mother home to care for instead of leaving her in that Hospice facility. My sisters and I are sure she would have been dead in a few days if we didn't remove her from the hospice center and bring her to my sister's home. We three girls took care of the Blueberry Queen for three months. By then we were so exhausted from giving round the clock care to a bedridden, dying woman that we hired a 24 hour live in care giver. You think that would be the end of the story, but NO. It was only the beginning.
Those blueberries must have been magic because my mother lived another year and half, all the while under hospice care. She would go down and come right back up again. She never got out of bed and for most of that time was in a great deal of pain. It was a terrible time and at the same time, it gave me a chance to get to know my mother as I never had, and make friends with her. I always wanted to do this but was too angry to work at healing our relationship. But now, who could be angry at this woman? She was in great pain, she was in a hospital bed for over a year, she was very brave and very strong, and she fought to live. These were attributes I never thought my mother had, but there they were, painfully so.
My sisters and I came full circle. We became a mother to our mother, and she became our child. We took care of her. We never knew we had it in us, but she trusted us to care for her. She passed peacefully after a long and painful illness. Thank God for small kindnesses, we couldn't have lived with her suffering in the very end. It's funny how, in the end, I got the time I needed to send her off with good and kind wishes. I always loved my mother, but never felt she loved me. That sounds so terrible, but now, when I think of her, it's of those last 18 months we spent together. And now every time I see or taste blueberries, I think of her and smile and remember how much she loved those blue berries and how in her own way, she loved me.
Blueberries For Me
In the end, I am glad my mother kept the blueberries for herself. Everyone should have something special they love and don't have to share with anyone else, until they are ready. In the end, I had bushels of blueberries from my mother. It just took a very long time for me to know it.
Were You Able To Resolve Your Blueberry Issues? - Yes, Once Again Blueberry Really Means Mom
If you did have mother issues growing up, were you able to resolve them as an adult? What did you do to resolve the problems you did have?
As an adult were you able to resolve the 'mother issues" you had?
What Do Blueberries Have To Do With Love?
Life has a wonderful way of bringing things full circle. Love is everywhere, even when we don't recognize it. Love doesn't always come with shiny wrapping paper, sometimes it's not as pretty as a bunch of flowers, sometimes love brings pain, but it is always love. Sometimes love needs to be searched for and dug out, it can be hard work. When we do find it, it's the biggest surprise of all because as it turns out, the love is in you.
What Do Blueberries Mean To Me?
Blueberries are a sweet treat, a healthy snack, the fruit my mother loved most. And that's all. Never get too caught up in blueberries, there are so many more important things to worry about. I have to be grateful that I had those months with my mother and got to see a strength and love in her that I had not noticed before.
Maybe it was my own stubborness, maybe it was my anger at my father's death, maybe it was her...the important thing is, it doesn't matter what it was. It is gone, it shouldn't disrupt my life now and happily, it doesn't. I have many memories of my lifetime and I am thankful that among all those memories, both good and bad, there are some great times shared with my mother. I have a respect for her now that I didn't have growing up. I have an understanding that I never had before and it's a freeing experience for me. The issues I had with my mother, the issues I was able to resolve and let go, have all been valuable lessons.
I have been formed by these lessons and am wiser for them. Every step forward leads us to a better place, a place where we know ourselves, understand our goals and our wants, learn to let go when necessary, and most important, we learn to fill our needs. Let me leave you with my best wishes for myself and to every mother's daughter or son out there for this simple and welcome wisdom.
More Blueberry Information
- The Blueberry Council
Get Blueberry news, recipes, facts and fun stuff for kids including trivia and some activity ideas. Do you know when it's Blueberry month in Canada? It's the month of August!
- You Pick Em
Go and pick your own blueberries...this site will tell you where. Would you like to go to a Blueberry Festival? This is the place!
My Mother Loved Blueberries
Won Lens of the Day On August 8, 2012
This lens won LoTD! I am completely speechless, but still want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments, for taking my polls and for letting me share a bit of my story. I think the best part about Squidoo is the people who share parts of themselves with the rest of us. Thank You All.
Yes, July is National Blueberry Month and July 14th is National Blueberry Day, and blueberries were my mother's favorite fruit. When our minds start connecting things life becomes like a game of 6 degrees of separation. What do blueberries bring to mind for you?