Skip to main content

God Has Blessed Us Exceedingly

Last night I prepared a new dish for dinner. As part of effort to be more daring, I've challenged myself to try recipes that are a first for me, last night it was stuffed shells with ricotta cheese and spinach. This is not particularly difficult, in fact it was darn easy as well as incredibly tasty with the addition of freshly grated and sauteed garlic. The moment of epiphany for me, and the inspiration behind the title for today's post came when my mother stepped to my side and helped me stuff each shell. Still not impressed?

Then consider this: this simple shared moment represents the culmination of a lifetime's pursuit of a mother-daughter relationship that is healthy and based on mutual caring for one anothers' individuality. Certainly, we have always loved and respected one another, however, like many mother - daughter relationships ours has been fraught with petty jealousy, misunderstanding, differing expectations, and disappointment.

Growing up, I was Daddy's girl. My father took me to swim practice and every swim meet. When I became interested in cooking, my father started collecting cookbooks. He's the one who drove me to college and then sent me boxes of his famous chocolate chip cookies. I was his 'pumpkin'. During these same years my mother and I hardly spoke. She always seemed to be working or pursuing one of her five degrees, which ultimately included two masters and a doctorate in education. Her interest in housekeeping and cooking was nil, in hindsight, I realize it was because she was so busy making a living. But as a child I didn't understand, I only knew that I wanted a mom like my friends had, one that would go shopping with me, create a peaceful house, lead me through the girly things that I was so insecure about as I grew too tall yet remained too flat-chested as a pubescent swimmer, and most of all make me feel secure in her love.

My mother and I have now been living together for ten years, since my father passed away while my parents were living in Kiev and she asked me to join her there. These years have been rocky and more than a few times one or the other wanted to find an exit, the balance of power shifting, boundaries tested when my own behavior was less than stellar and then after Mom's heart surgery when our roles often changed depending on her health. Many years before this period, when I was still living in New York and Mom and I were in one of our 'not talking to you' phases, I went to Mass and prayed to Mary that she, Mother of God, would intervene to heal the relationship between me and my mother. In the years since I have had moments to ruefully reflect on how well this prayer had been answered.

Then, last night as we stood together in the kitchen preparing this new recipe, I reflected on the new peace we have achieved. We have the relationship I dreamed of as a child, but without the desperate co-dependency that it once inspired. We are healthy in mind and body even as we travel this last bit of road together. It is because of this new equilibrium that I can now move away. By the end of the year I will have bought and moved into my new home (Inshallah). Mom will spend some months with me there and some (winter) months at home in Florida. We have found a new peace in our roles as mother and daughter, but also in our mutual need to be recognized as individuals.

So, last night as we worked together, this phrase popped into my head: 'God has blessed us exceedingly'.


Vodka Mom said…
that was lovely..........i miss my mother.....
Mark Salinas said…
Wonderful...thank you for sharing. :)
LarramieG said…
Though those years apart cannot be relived, I am very pleased that you both found each other. And communicate, communicate, communicate.
JCK said…
It is a blessing when you can feel the blessing.

Yeah on you moving into your new home!!


Do you have a Middle Eastern heritage/link? Have we talked about this and I'm spacing? I lived in Lebanon in the 1970's.
Mark said…
I hope you had a nice weekend!

Popular posts from this blog

Women are Highly Esteemed in the Eyes of This Man

I enter the sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace Church and my eyes adjust to the dimmed lights as the only illumination comes from candles on the altar and their glowing reflection in the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament.
My friend and I had come to join the Mary and Martha’s quarterly meeting which started with an hour of Adoration.
I took my seat in one of the pews, knelt, and surreptitiously glanced around the sanctuary. In the gloaming, I could see thirty other women kneeling like sentinels in silent prayer. 
Over the course of the hour, we would remain in contemplative silence.
As I slipped in and out of my prayers and wandering thoughts, I considered how pleased God must be when he sees us gathered in the simple and divine act of Adoration.
But in fact, women are highly esteemed in God’s sight not matter where we are. 
We only look at the life of Jesus Christ to understand how dearly he cherishes every woman.
In the Gospel of Saint John, a group of men bring a woman caught i…

When our spirit hungers

The precocious toddler’s interest in talking to her mother grew in insistence as the gathered group settled in for an hour of silent prayer. Shushing didn’t work, so the mother led her child into an adjoining room where she would still be part of the sanctuary, but sound would be dampened. Despite the closed door and heavy glass walls, the child’s fervent desire to speak with her mother was still audible.
I said a prayer for the patient mother determined to stay, and for the child who was either tired or hungry or impatient for Mom’s undivided attention. And then tried to bring my wandering thoughts back to prayer. I had come to Adoration with my own pressing need for answers.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a growing emptiness in my heart. A void, as if something is missing. It’s not psychological. Not physical. After doing an internal check, I determined it’s a spiritual void that I’m experiencing.
No, I’m not doubting God, his existence or goodness. I have full confidence in…

If you are tired of the guilt trip you usually feel at church, here’s a different perspective

I am counting the days until I fly to Fort Lauderdale to see Mom for Christmas. Yes, I speak with her every day, sometimes twice a day. But as you know, phone calls just aren’t the same as being with someone you love. I look forward to seeing Mom’s smile, to holding her hand, to going for a drive along the beach with her. Spending time in the presence of someone we love enriches our relationship with them.
I believe the love I feel for Mom, is a sliver of what God feels for each of us. I believe God longs to share that love with us. Which is why we are called to spend time in God’s presence daily. We experience God’s presence when we meet him in our prayers, in church, and hopefully in one another. If I could make one wish for each of us, it would be that at some point during the next four weeks of Advent we would experience how much Jesus loves us.

The Best Christmas

During my morning devotions, I read these two verses of Psalm 117:
Praise theLord,all you nations;
extol him, all you peop…