Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend, 2011

David arrived home after completing his freshman year at college on Saturday! He drove straight to meet us in Seattle, to a Kentucky Derby party to which we'd all  been invited.

You may know that I love the Triple Crown Races - I love horses, and I used to ride as a young girl. When the television coverage begins, I park myself in front of the set and do NOT want to be interrupted. I want to hear the stories of each horse, the trainers, owners and the breeders. Seriously. When the parade to the post begins, my heart rate goes up. When the horses are loading into the starting gate, it goes up higher, and when "They're off!," my adrenaline flows freely. It's the most exciting 3 minutes of the year, times three.

I bought a hat at a discount store and decorated it just for Derby Day.
I was looking forward to seeing David, to this party and to the race. But first, Gregg and I decided that we would make a quick quilt delivery to Seattle Children's Hospital, since we were going to Seattle anyway. We took an early ferry so we could arrive at the party at least an hour before "post time."

Unfortunately, I did not know that the main highway through the city was under construction last weekend, AND I had completely forgotten that Saturday was opening day of the yachting season in Seattle, which means University of Washington crew (rowing) races on the lakes, right through the Montlake Cut. The Montlake Bridge was open for the boats (closed to auto traffic) ALL DAY LONG. We sat in traffic for two hours in order to make a 10-minute delivery of 56 quilts and blankets.

My dear husband uttered not a word of complaint nor reproach to me. Not even a word of irritation - we just listened to the radio, opened the sun roof (yes, the sun was shining in Seattle!) and laughed and moaned a bit at our predicament. He is a wonderful, patient, understanding, non-judgmental man. I was especially thankful for his character on Saturday - and we arrived at the party, just as the horses began the parade to the post.
A few of the lovely ladies in their Derby Day hats
I hope you had a happy Mother's Day.

It can be a difficult holiday, if you've had a complex relationship with your mother or daughter, if your mother or daughter has died, or if you didn't get to know your mother or get to spend enough time with your daughter...there are many permutations of possibilities. It has been painful for me for the past three years, ever since the last Mother's Day when Katie was alive (2007).
Mother's Day 2007 - my girl and me at Campagne restaurant with our family, enjoying her remission
Last year was one of the hardest.

This year was the first year since Katie has passed away that I can actually say, I had a happy Mother's Day. It was due to several things. My husband and son were present and considerate. My brother and sister-in-law invited us to join them with our parents for a stupendous buffet brunch in a beautiful setting.
David, Grandma, Jim, Kappa, Caroline, me & Gregg @ the Seattle Tennis Club Mother's Day brunch
David, Grandma & Kappa
Gregg, Caroline, Jim, David (funny guy!), Grandma & Kappa
My parents are are doing well.

And I suppose that I am getting more accustomed to the fact that Katie is with me in spirit, and that is what I have left to enjoy of her, for now.

I felt Katie's presence strongly last week, before Mother's Day. I felt her in a way that made me know her love and her spirit are with me. It was comforting, personal and just the right "gift" for me. It was as if she had brought me a bouquet of the most colorful flowers that will never fade. It was a vision of light and warmth and love. I can't explain it, but it was a lovely gift.

David brought me a beautiful, heartfelt card and a Gonzaga shirt (though we don't normally give gifts on these occasions). Gregg gave me a lovely card, and asked me what I wanted. Since we don't "do" presents for one another, I asked if he and David would clean the house as a gift for me. David's reply was that that sounded more like a punishment than a present, but they did it. It was a perfect gift of love for me, since I clean the house regularly - and I appreciated their help very much. We took a walk in the afternoon, and enjoyed spending a quiet evening together. For some reason, I didn't feel deprived of Katie's presence; perhaps it's because she was with us. It was a good day.

God is generous, faithful and loving. I am thankful.


Elizabeth said...

Oh, this has made my day. Your words are so beautiful and uplifting, but most of all it is a relief that Katie's spirit is living in you and you feel it, warmly.

I love you so much, Karen -- love hearing your thoughts and about your days. Happy Mother's Day to one of the finest mothers I know (and have never actually met!) :)

karen gerstenberger said...

Elizabeth, thank you - I hope you had a happy Mother's Day too (I am way behind in blog-reading)! You are a joy & inspiration to me. xoxo

Ellen said...

Elizabeth how I admire you. You have strength but such tenderness...and I have not even met you but know this to be true!

If there is ever a woman to help another woman it is you. How your heart heals each day since your dearest heart daughter left your family's arms is a process that must be hard. Your grace and warmth, your faith and supportive friends and family is truly beautiful.

And isn't it such an amazing feeling when we sense our loved ones who have gone before us in a moment, in a place...we just feel their presence somehow...

Busy Bee Suz said...

I am so glad you had a nice Mother's day....and that Katie is 'around' you so much.
I think it is so interesting how you love the derby races so much...I always want to go out there and set the horses FREE. :) I know they enjoy the racing, but it just looks dangerous to me.
Oh, and that traffic jam....I would have lost my mind!!!!


Kay said...

I'm glad it was a good day for you this year. I usually skip worship service on Mother's Day because something will inevitably happen that is hurtful and my heart just says "I'll pass". So I'm glad you had a good day. With a most wonderful present! Great idea.

Love you ladies in your hats. Very festive and cute! : )

Tracey Axnick said...

I thought of you on Mother's Day and meant to send a note, but the day got away from me.

I've been so extremely busy with work that I haven't been keeping up with my Blogger Buddies at all. But I do think of you frequently, and was thinking of you this past Sunday.

I'm happy to know that this was a GOOD Mother's Day for you... that's a wonderful thing!

And the fact that Katie brought you her presence, love and grace the week before I know made it extra special.

Blessings, Love & Peace to you and your family, my friend. :)