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Friday, May 11, 2007

The Many Faces of Momma

Mommahearts_2My momma had many facets. Many faces, too. As we approach this day--the first Mother's Day I face without her--I want to (finally!) share her many faces with you.

See, I need a way to celebrate her, to be close to her. It helps to make the day still very special, and more bearable.

It's all too easy to make those no longer with us out to be perfect. It's easy to forget when they struggled. But mom's struggles taught me a pivotal lesson...

While our hardships serve us with challenges, they also give us a choice: through them we can choose to be bitter or we can choose to be better. Choosing--well, trying really hard--to be better has kept me going, and definitely kept me writing, these past six weeks without her.

Momma will forever be very much "alive" to me. But in my writing she'll always be a character. So in addition to sharing her with you, I'm taking this opportunity to dedicate my writing to her. My talent is truly what I have. And I just prefer giving what I have back to her. Thank you for being so very good to me through this time, in return it gives me so much joy to share with you the many faces of my smart, sweet and silly momma. Click on any of the pics to enlarge them to full size...or view a video of them at the end of the post.

Ckpageantmom_2Smiling-for-the-judges momma: Here she is as a kid (at 6) in a beauty pageant--isn't she a beauty? I love this shot capturing her as she's just starting out her life's journey, all full of bounce and innocence. If you click to enlarge the picture you'll see the number they tagged her for the pageant was "20." That suits me just fine given, on a scale from 1 to 10, she was truly a 20.

Winning momma: This shot of her hollering (in her late 30s/early 40s) is the happiest Ckmomparty_2 moment of her life and I am beyond grateful to forever have a record of this face. At this exact moment she learned she'd won the election--she has so many emotions going on her face doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. With zero political experience, she possessed a passion which drove her to win Deputy Mayor against a 7-year incumbent and the honor of being the first woman EVER elected to the role. That was impressive enough to land her an invite to Reagan's inauguration (yeah, you have to be invited to those events). She's wearing a Philadelphia Eagles shirt because many from the team were there to support her as we lived near Philly at the time.

CkmomwaterSwimming momma: Ah, the underwater shot. This is my MOST favorite shot of her (in her late 40s). No, not because it's silly, but because of the story behind it. You see, we had a robbery earlier that year and momma said, "Here's the way I see it: with the insurance money we can either buy new silver and replace my jewelery...which could be stolen again...or we can go on a cruise--and they can never steal those memories." So we went to The Bahamas, baby! To the scoundrels who have our silver and gems, I say: thanks a million for the memories.

Ckmomswing_2 Swinging momma: Here we have mom (in her mid 50s) swinging with with her oldest daughter --my beautiful sister Melissa--two days before Melissa's wedding in the South of France. Enlarge it to see momma giggling on the swing set with her daughter. Apparently mom was going through a "blonde" phase at the time (a phase lasting about two years). Melissa, this one is really for you: you've been a rock for your sister through all of this. You make me better and, while you received much from our mom, most of all you inherited her generosity. Believe it.


Charming momma: Here's momma talkin' up Joe DiMaggio (believe she's in her early 40s). I can see it now, she's working to engage Joe around one of her many causes while getting his autograph. What a charmer, right? Yeah I learned from the best ;-).

Classic momma: The last shot below (in her early 50s) is "classic mom." It's mom at her most radiant and is the face that comes most to mind when my sister and I think of her. Melissa sees momma in her dreams, but I've not yet seen her in mine. Maybe one day.

CkmomI'll end with a few words for her: Momma, thank you for teaching me that people--all people, from all walks of life--are so very much worth getting to know. That inspiring people is what gives us our humanity. And that when we listen to others we're not only learning from them, it is in those moments that we're most respecting them. It is a magnificent honor to have known you, to be of you, to miss your many faces...and to dedicate my writing to you. Happy Mother's Day, from both your girls.

P.S.: If you ever miss my momma's faces don't you worry, this dedication is forever available on my blog's side rail (otherwise I would miss her too much).

Update (05.27.07): Many kind bloggers (I should just say friends who also happen to blog) paid a tribute to momma and planted a tree in NYC to honor her--which I call "momma tree!" It's a beautiful tribute, and you can read about it here.


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Beautiful, CK. These memories will never fade.

Thanks for sharing these memories of your mom. You're right, it appears you learned from the best! What a great heritage, and what a great way to preserve her memory. I'm even prouder now to be associated with the e-book that will carry her name.

I'm flying home from Chicago at midnight Saturday so I can be with my mom on Mother's Day. Your post reminded me just how fortunate I am that she's still here at age 83, and still reminding me to take my sweater because it's bound to be cold in Chicago. :-)

Beautifully written and perfectly told. I love so much that you had a momma like that. It's so fitting. :)

She was a wonderful and radiant person, your Mom (my Aunt).
What I remember the most is that her smile and laughter was contagious. She was fun and fun loving; always spreading sunshine and joy.
Sorry to make her sound so perfect - but that's how I remember her.
I love you. Thanks for sharing her many faces with me again, and everyday.
You're simply amazing.


Perfect. Now...not only have you honored her, but we get to as well. It sounds like you two deserved each other!

Lucky for you both.


A perfect tribute, CK - simply stated and straight from your heart. Thank you so very much for sharing! Joe DiMaggio - wow! I love the election win pic :) But the swimming story? That's the one!

I love the stories about your momma as it helps us get to know her, and in a way we get to know you better as well. You are the living tribute to Sandra and you continue to honor her every day. Thank you SO much for being open enough to share your momma, as we are all so much better for 'knowing' her.

Thanks for sharing a great story and tribute to your mom. Memorable indeed.

Thank you friends, for indulging me. And, finally, you get to see her face (many of them!). I'm just a silly sap over my momma (and yes a marketing wonk, too) but I can't begin to tell you what this community has given me over the past year...and the past six weeks.

I'll never quite feel worthy but I'm beyond grateful. Please know and trust that.

do you remember that guy who, few months ago, wrote that bloggers are disturbed persons not able to build a relationship with other humans? well, he should read this post and meditate about it.
ck, thanks.

I'm sitting here at work - tears streaming down my face and missing my mother. This will be the 4th mothers day without her. Some days are easier but not alot. I still drive to and from work having private conversations with her.
Yes, she has visited my dreams - your mother will come to visit you in yours... it is very- very nice for those seconds.

Thank you so much CK. What an awesome tribute to an amazing woman. You're truly blessed indeed.

Beautiful tribute CK! I love "smiling for the judges"!

"And we went to the Bahamas, baby!" THAT is so awesome!

Thanks so much for sharing the pictures and the stories behind them... and then "hanging it' on your sidebar.

Boys don't cry so I'll assume my eyes are watering due to allergies. Nice post CK.

Thank you for sharing these memories with us all. I love the "Swimming/Bahamas" It's just so unexpected... wow! You're right Lewis, boys don't cry, so I beleive my computer screen must be too bright.

Simply precious. The photos are wonderful as is each story behind them. This is a gift. Thank you for sharing these memories so openly with us. Your Momma was very special.

Thanks sister-pie for writing such a beautiful post on our Mom. She would have loved it! Love you, Melissa

CK- Such sweet and fitting words. I really don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said here.

Your words and actions over the past 6 weeks have been a wonderful tribute to your momma and do more to honor her than you'll ever know.

I doubt Mother's Day will ever feel the same to you, but I have a feeling that your appreciation for your momma will always be very strong and special.

Enjoy this day, reflecting on what a wonderful woman your momma was and always will be through the living memorials you and Melissa are.

Where are the tissues? Bless you, brave girl.

My heart goes out to you as this was my seventh Mother's Day without my mom.
Your memories will never fade, they'll only get stronger. It does get a bit easier as we take the lessons we learned from our moms and grow from them.
Lucky us that we had moms who inspired us and will continue to do so.


So much light is manifesting through your dear mother's Soul. It shines brightly through this beautiful post and images.

Now each day is your chance to spread love and light in ways that please your Mom's Soul. For she is living inside you and inspiring you. As you help the world through your self-offering, you will receive her Soul's love more powerfully and convincingly. And that will be your ever transcendent journey. :)

Very well written blog. Glad to be here.

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