Today is a special.

Nothing major will happen today. Publishers’ Clearing House isn’t coming to call. In fact, no company is expected at all.

No today will begin like any other. It may be a little colder than those during our recent taste of spring but the forecast says the sun may even shine down upon us for a bit during the hours of daylight. Which will be a nice change as many early March days in the past have come roaring through like a lion, as the saying goes.

If the day goes as planned, I may be making cookies or making slow-cooked pot roast. I hope I have a chance to do some baking or cooking today because making recipes I remember enjoying in my childhood makes this day even better.

Cooking a pot roast slow in the cast iron Dutch oven so that when you’re ready for supper it just simple falls apart it is so tender. Pairing it with mashed potatoes and dark brown gravy filled with flavor and maybe some green beans on the side for added color on the plate. This in fact was a favorite meal of mine. At times, I’d switch out the pot roast for a pork roast.

I can remember returning home from college for a visit and this would be the meal I’d request. Mom always asked what I was hungry for when I visited since I didn’t get home often, despite being only an hour away. Work and school filled the days so completely that sometimes it was several weeks before a trek up Route 322 was possible. But when I was able to come back home, Mom always made sure I had a favorite meal while I was here.

I haven’t thought of those long-ago school days in quite awhile.

As with all college students, it was a time of independence, of challenging oneself and of making our own decisions about life, all made with the surety that if we got into difficulties, home was never very far away. Home meant help when needed, advice when asked for and always, unconditional love.

That safety net made strong with the bonds of family.

Those bonds despite the loss of loved ones are still strong today and still as clearly felt as they were when a teenager took those first steps toward independence. It is those bonds that wrap me close today in a myriad of ways.

A meal, a memory, and a date on the calendar – all of these bring memories of Mom to mind and with them comes the feeling of closeness we always shared.

At one time, in those younger years, if told Mom and I looked like sisters, I didn’t always take it so well. Mom, of course, would get a kick out of it. I would wonder if I looked so much older when in reality it was likely she looked younger as she always seemed full of life. She wasn’t one who sought the limelight, but rather she would help when called upon. If she heard of a friend having problems, she would immediately offer to help.

Mom was the type of person that always put someone else first, no matter what was going on in her life. A trip to a hairdresser, who liked old-time beauty items, had her taking old-fashioned beauty containers and trinkets to him on the next visit. Items that her mother or grandmother had kept.

Another time, a nurse was going to have a baby. The next time Mom went to see the cancer specialist she had a little gift for the soon-to-be mom and baby.

Today is special.

Nowadays, when I’m mistaken for her or someone says how much I look like her, my reaction is much different than that younger version of me. Today I smile and hope the similarities are more than just skin deep.

How often have we heard a character in a television show or in a novel, say something and then declare, “I’m turning into my mother!” as if that is a bad thing. I guess it would depend on the type of person the mother is or was.

Born Dorothy, she was more often referred to by friends and family as “Dottie” or “Dot.” Old-time family still called her Dorothy Mae as if she was still a little girl but she’d answer with a smile, never showing that she didn’t really care to be called by her full name. That was normal; she was the peacekeeper. She never wanted to cause a scene or make people feel uncomfortable.

Making one feel welcome and at home. That was the type of person she was. That is one of the many lessons she taught her children.

The memories of helping her and dad prepare for family to visit. We’d get snacks ready – a plate of pepperoni, cheese and crackers, chips and dip, a homemade pie or cake, and setting up the coffee maker. Simple yet welcoming, that was Mom’s style.

While those days are long gone as is Mom, the memories have remained.

Today is special.

Today Mom would have celebrated her 79th birthday. She left this world 15 years ago this September with a final promise of “I love you.” Not surprising for a woman who’s life revolved around loving her family and showing others love and kindness.

Today is special.

Today is my birthday, too. Another connection we shared; a connection we cherished; a connection that still bonds us together even now.

I am my mother’s daughter...proudly so.

Yes, today is special. For today brought her into this world and today, made me hers.

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