(Melinda) Many of the memories of my mom have to do with transportation. Or the lack of it. You see, my mom was infamous for running out of gas. She was also a “skills-impaired” driver. Police officers regularly issued APBs when she left our driveway.
So it might seem strange that one of the sweetest legacies that my mother left me has to do with a ritual she started while she was driving. We’d be out on the road and hear a familiar sound: the wailing of a siren.
Yes, sometimes it was a member of law enforcement.
Often, however, it was a fire truck or an ambulance. Each time, my mother would immediately command us to stop all conversation. “Hear that? We have to pray. Pray for the person who’s hurt and for the doctors and paramedics,” she’d say.
When my daughter was about two, I was driving with her and heard a siren. Without a thought, I told her to fold her hands and pray. It was not a conscious decision to pass down this legacy. It just happened. It was so engrained in me that it was automatic. My kids are 15 and 12 now and are often the first ones to say, “Mom, let’s stop and pray.”
Unfortunately, they’ve also had to say more than once: “A police officer has his lights on behind you.” Like mother, like daughter.
(Kathy) My daughter calls my mother’s spaghetti sauce, Grandma Sauce. She completely associates it with my mother: warm, inviting and nourishing. When my kids smell the familiar concoction, they immediately say, “Ummmm. Grandma Sauce.”
I make it slightly different from my mother. My sister makes a much spicier version than me. My nieces have yet another take on it. In our minds, the orginal designer was my mom. She may have inherited the recipe from my Dad’s mother, but she put her own signature on the dish. She labeled it the family elixir. It cured everything from the common cold to a teenage broken heart.
I grew up learning how to make it from scratch. I started out by just standing on a chair and stirring. She proceeded to dump in the ingredients on cue: olive oil, garlic, onions, sausage, beef……. All we contributed was making sure it didn’t get burned and to keep the wooden spoon moving.
She passed down the legacy of nurturing. Grandma Sauce holds more than tomato puree and seasonings. It’s a reminder of our greatest job as mothers: to take care of our loved ones. By using something as predictable as a traditional family dinner, we share ourselves, even if we changed the original recipe. She still makes it for me when I go home — in case I have a sudden case of the sniffles, of course.
It’s often the little things we do that pass down faith or communicate love to our children. What is one small ritual you are doing with your children that you hope they pass down?