Daughter reflects on ‘gifts’ of a great woman

Touched by Mom

Julianne Root with her mother, Ann Pauszek, on the day of her wedding.

I was working on an article and some memorials to submit to the OBSERVER a couple of weeks ago when I wondered if the Mother’s Day articles would be in this year. I received a response last week and then I thought, “Gee, maybe it’ll be too difficult emotionally this year for me to write anything about Mom?! I should just let it go for now.” My Mother, “MaMa” I called her, passed away last June 22.

Vicki Notaro of the OBSERVER had responded that the plan this year was to encourage school children to write about their moms. Excellent! That’s something I would have encouraged my former students to do years ago when I taught! Vicki also said, though, I could write and she looked forward to hearing from me. So finally here I go, trying not to cry …

Ann Pauszek was a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife and mother with the list going on. She was the person who carried her six children in her womb for nine months then on her shoulder for many long restless nights and sick days.

She taught us how to care for ourselves, for others and for God’s creations, especially animals and plants. She taught us the different names of birds and what to feed them, and she would often draw their pictures for homemade cards she made. She also loved growing things and would plant flowers outside and inside the house! Plant life everywhere! (She even started tomato plants from seeds she saved from tomatoes she ate, and there is an orange tree plant growing at my brother Ray’s house, which she started a couple of years ago). My brother Johnny and I would take advantage of the free flowers outside and pick them for her for Mother’s Day and her birthday. She loved it!

We all got “gifts” from Mom in talents or skills or collecting things or talking or praying. She taught us how to bake her wonderful desserts and make our Polish pierogis and celebrate our traditions. (I find myself wanting to call her at times to ask what I did wrong that the dough is too sticky and how can I fix it?!) She spent many a long night sewing dresses for us girls for school and church activities, then later in life our birthday nightgowns! Most importantly she taught us our faith and to love and serve the Lord and others.

The list could go on and we all have our special memories of our mother, which we can laugh or cry about and miss her for. We were blessed to have her for so many years. Two of my favorite memories will always be how she gave me a special blessing on my wedding day, and how the week before she died she grabbed my hand as I was getting her settled in bed and said, “I love you!” I responded, “I love you too, Mama!” and she said, “OK, I just wanted you to know.” I didn’t realize she would be gone by the next week nor that I would be there when she left this world, but I do know now that something very special took place between us.

Before she was gone I remember people saying, “Enjoy her now because she’ll be gone before you know it” or “If there is anything you want to ask her, ask now because she’ll take the answers with her.”

They were right! Also, I’ve heard many times that no matter how old you get or how many years pass, you will always miss your parents when they are gone. So if you happen to be reading my story and are blessed to have your Mom, pick her a flower and spend some time with her and ask questions while you still can! Happy Mother’s Day, Mama! I love you!

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