God’s Best Work

My mother was the single most influential person in my life. This past Saturday she would have turned 62.

When I was a child, my mother attended French cooking school. She studied the Larousse Gastronomique diligently and created legendary meals. I was introduced to Le Creuset, All Clad, and Wüsthof. I wondered why my friends didn’t have a butcher block in their kitchens. I learned the proper way to set a dinner table and what wine paired best with what course.

I was an event planner in training.

As a little girl, I’d “dress up” in my nightgown and robe, pretending it was some fancy evening dress purchased in an exclusive boutique, arrange my stuffed animals around the living room, put on Scott Joplin (usually “The Entertainer”), and served “martinis” to my “guests” in Dixie cups. It was my New York City cocktail party, and my mother thought it was hysterical.

I was an event planner in training.

There were the trips to the ballet, followed by a delicious dinner (late at night) served on china, with polished silver, and water goblets, and a server using a crumb catcher. Mom and I would examine every movement deliberately choreographed in the performance we just enjoyed and the inspiration it drew from us.

I was an event planner in training.

And then there were trips to Denny’s after hours of ballet rehearsal where Mom could buy us “a luscious, hot meal” because she was too sick to cook. Or Kraft Velveeta and shells for dinner four nights weekly because that’s what the budget allowed. Or the hot meal Mom was served from the hospital cafeteria that she greeted with a “thank you” for 34-plus years. A cocktail of three pink pills plus one light blue and two white accompanied by a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea just to be able to move her frail body in the morning. Some cheerful Bach playing lightly in the background, accented by the soft shuffle of Mom’s limp or clack of her walker or cane.

I was a child, an adolescent, an adult with a very ill parent.

There are many people who I’ve been fortunate to know but no one like my mother. She was difficult, as we all are, but she was brave and strong, and there has never been a day in my life when I doubted her love for me. She looked Lupus in the face and laughed; she was the only one running her life.

Through her example, I learned appreciation for the daily blessings, from the gift of waking up each morning to the excitement of a first snowfall to the lyric of a song that was brilliantly crafted and delivered. My mother showed everyone around her that each moment held an infinite amount of possibilities for greatness and that that alone was reason for celebration, no matter the experience or the price tag.

I was an event planner in training, receiving my best education from my very ill parent.

My daily “food” (not just what I eat but where I pray, how I’m inspired, when I do a specific task, who I relate to) are all a reflection of my mother’s teachings. This is knowledge I source proudly; this is a result that I hope my mother is proud of from afar.

It’s taken me two years to thaw out from the freeze that came over me when my mother passed, create some infrastructure to support the flood of emotion that then followed, and find some peace with life without her just a phone call away. I miss my mother deeply, and it still hurts to reflect on the altered trajectory of her life as a direct result of being ill.

She didn’t have a choice in that matter, but she did have a choice in being Pattie, who found a luscious, hot meal in that which was most simple or a connection with people who others may not have found noteworthy. She was an event planner, an event coordinator, a designer of extraordinary celebration. She was, and still is, for me an example of God’s best work.


 

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12 thoughts on “God’s Best Work

  1. I don’t think I realized Pattie was the origin of your event planning ways, but it does not surprise me either. Pattie was a model for classiness AND strength — qualities any woman should want. I love the image of you twirling around your living room in a nightgown. I used to do the same thing!

  2. And you my dear sister Becca are the great example of what the love and care from Gods best work can accomplish. I love and admire the courageous and strong woman you are today and thank you for sharing your mom and this beautiful story with me. Forever your friend and sistergirl….Anna

  3. Oh, Bek… You have put it into words perfectly – your mother was one of God’s greatest masterpieces. I remember the fine china and silver as a young child (especially eating cereal with cream, not milk, from REAL silver spoons!!). Your mom was the person we should all strive daily to be, by taking stock in our “Daily Blessings,” as you have. We all miss her terribly. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  4. Friend, you are so gifted in your ability to express your own emotion, growth, and gratitude. I am so happy to see your writing and get to know you better through it. Hugs.

  5. Your comment that this was you best piece of work caught my attention and I am moved. Continue to dig deep and play full-out! I’m thankful that the “Family Division” connected us all those years ago!

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