A Toast to Beauty

There is nothing like the love of a mother. There is nothing more beautiful than the bond that a mother and child can share, one that can be passed from generation to generation. On this Mother’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to toast…

A Toast to Beauty

There is nothing like the love of a mother. There is nothing more beautiful than the bond that a mother and child can share, one that can be passed from generation to generation.

On this Mother’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to toast all the women who play influential roles in our lives, all the mother figures, biological or not, for they truly do make a difference, each and every day. And I wanted to take a moment to tell you about my mom.

I woke up to the start of this weekend with mixed feelings. I was excited because I knew that my little ones had been working hard all week at school, crafting special, sort-of-secret projects to celebrate Mother’s Day for me. Me! As if I needed presents – having them in my life is present enough. But I adore the handmade cards, the gifts with their hand prints (which sadly get bigger every year), and the pride in their eyes when they give them to me. But I was also feeling rather glum – I found myself truly missing my mom.

I lost my mom at a fairly young age; I was in college when she lost her second battle with breast cancer. I was left with memories of her laughter, strength, and courage. She was the most wonderful mother I could ever ask for, and I was blessed to have her in my life, even if for a short while. She is the woman I aspire to be.

To give you an idea of what my mom was like…she was the fun mom, the one who knew how to do the Macarena when it first came out and wasn’t afraid to dance with us in the kitchen…the one who would dare to eat anything…the one who had a zest for travel and adventure…the one who was always patient…the one who was creative and could sew beautiful costumes for my school performances…the one who could always make everyone laugh…the one who hated to cook but loved to bake…the one who disinfected the books we brought home from the library…the one who showed bravery when she fought her cancer…the one who never let on to just how sick and scared she was, even at the end…the one whose name, Linda, suited her, because she truly was beautiful.

I craved my mother’s presence today, and as providence would have it, my phone rang – it was my aunt, my mother’s oldest sister. She was calling to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. And she was calling with love and pride. I found myself in tears, missing my mom, but feeling her love through my aunt. And I came to realize how lucky I am to have many mother figures in my life – I have aunts, family friends, motherly friends, and a wonderful mother in law. I cherish them all.

I can only hope that I emulate the best of them for my own children. So for all the mothers in our lives, I raise my glass to you. A glass of my most favorite wine.I have been wanting to share this wine for quite a while, and I feel that today is the right time. If you recall, I adore Ridge Vineyards, and had promised to share my favorite Ridge wine with you.

The 2006 Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay is my best loved wine. In many ways, it is like the best qualities of a woman: it is strong yet delicate, versatile and complex, seductive and nurturing. Take one sip of this beautiful wine and you will feel the lightness of orchids, taste the vibrant flavors of pear and apple, and imagine yourself lounging in a garden in full bloom, with the warmth of the sun on your face. Perfect for the summer months ahead – it is sophisticated but not too serious. It is a wine that we like to enjoy all by itself.

Wine Spectator awarded it 95 points and it also won the Sunset Wine Award in 2009. This remarkable Chardonnay embodies all that is Monte Bello – if you are familiar with Ridge, you will know at first taste that you are indeed enjoying a Monte Bello wine.

I hope you get to try this wine. I hope you get to enjoy it with the beautiful people in your life. It is most certainly a Chardonnay ideal for celebrating.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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  1. skip to malou

    this post made me cry… im pretty sure your mom is smiling because of how you turned out… and she’s alive in you because you are creating beautiful memories with your little ones as well, the way she did for you.

    when i saw the orchids in this post, i can’t help but think of my mom as well… i talked about her in my post today as well…

    liren, im so glad to have found you online… here’s a toast to you too..happy mother’s day… cheers!

    • Liren

      Malou, I’ve found a kindred spirit in you! I think our moms would have gotten along well if given the chance — your post was so touching! I’m sorry to have made you cry! Thank you for your sweet words – I can only hope that I am half as good as my mom at making memories with my little ones! Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. skip to malou

    did you noticed? i used so many as well in the comment i just posted? hahaha… i was tearing up while typing it and i didn’t even see… now where’s the tissue…

  3. denise @ quickies on the dinner table

    Oh Liren! I can’t really see what I’m typing because I’m crying. You’ve made me realise how much I take my mum for granted. And how lucky I am to still have her with me.

    Thank you for this beautiful and jolting (I needed that) post. Your mum must be very proud of the wonderful person you are. It’s been a happy but tearful day for me so far – maybe I should stay away from Foodbuzz till the day passes….

    Happy Mother’s Day Liren!

    • Liren

      Happy Mother’s Day, Denise! In the few months that I have been reading your blog I have seen how you are such a committed and wonderful mother yourself! Your boys are so lucky to have you. I’m sorry to have made you cry but do enjoy your mum and the time you have with her. Life is so precious!

  4. merry jennifer

    Such a beautiful tribute to your mom, Liren. I’m sure she is so proud of you and would have loved to see the mother you turned out to be. Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

    PS – LOVE Ridge! :)

    • Liren

      Aww, thank you! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, too. Your little ones are so sweet – I am in awe at how you do it all. And yes, isn’t Ridge the best?

  5. Jenn

    *wipes tears* [Crap, good thing I’m wearing my glasses because I wouldn’t be typing properly.]

    Beautiful post dedicated to your mum. Conscience, thoughtful, full of love. What more can your mum have asked on a day devoted to Mothers??? She’s obviously influenced you and shaped the woman you’ve become today. You’ll see her again :)
    Happy Mother’s Day To you. Enjoy your lovely day with your children/blessings. xoxo

    • Liren

      Jenn, you’re so sweet. Thank you – she really has been my hero. All moms are. I hope you enjoyed this day with your family, it sounded like you had such fun plans for the day! Hope your little Horace gave you Mother’s day snuggles!

  6. Stella

    Hey Liren, my eyes are about to let all the water run down my cheeks. This was kind of intense, but I’m glad I read it-makes me appreciate both my parents.
    Your mother sounds wonderful, Liren. I know it must hurt your heart to remember all that she went through, but I know she would not want you to feel that way.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you and your kiddies. My Warmest, Stella

    • Liren

      Hi Stella – I know, I know! This ended up being a much heavier post than I had intended, but consider it a heart dump – I let it all out. Almost didn’t press “publish,” but I did. Thank you for your kind words – she really was wonderful and that is what I remember most! Hope you enjoyed Mother’s day with your loved ones :)

  7. Jean

    Happy Mother’s Day, Liren. I’m sure each day with your little ones is a blessed one but today, I hope it’s filled with even more joy and fond memories of your own mother.

    • Liren

      Thank you, Jean! So true, each day is a special one with these little guys, and it’s holidays like these that make me remember my mom even more.

  8. Berna

    Beautiful! As always… Happy Mother”s Day. YOU are a mother, many would aspire to be now and in the future…

    • Liren

      Sigh, oh Berna, thank you! Happy Mother’s Day to you, too! I hope you had a wonderful day – you are an amazing mom, and I look to you for your nurturing ways! Hugs :)

  9. norma

    Thank you for sharing this post. I know how hard it is. I am on my way to Florida to visit family and to see my mom’s resting place and sit and have a long visit with her. I miss her dearly. You have best friends in life, but never like Mom. Unfortunately, I lost her way before she left us…she suffered from Alzheimer’s.

    • Liren

      Oh, Norma, I hope you had a good visit with your family and Florida. For me, it’s always important to visit my mom’s resting place whenever I go back home to NY. It is so comforting. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to witness your mom suffer from Alzheimer’s – my heart truly aches. Thank goodness for family and friends to support us through these hard times!

  10. Julie

    Ryse… just wanted to let you know that this post brought tears to my eyes. I remember your mom too. She always had an easy and open laugh. She truly was beautiful and I just know that she’s in you and with you always, not to mention incredibly proud of the woman and mother you’ve grown into.

    • Liren

      Oh Julie, thank you! When I see your mom (in person or even in pictures), it reminds me of my mom and how much she loved your family. They both have that same passion for gardening, I’ll remember that, as well as the same bubbly and strong personality! Both you and your mom are the motherly friends and Titas I am so grateful for! Hugs!

  11. Mdivani Monroe

    Beautiful post and tribute to your mother. Definitely a wine aficionado and want to try this one!!! Perhaps paired with the berry tart :)

    • Liren

      Mdivani, thank you so much. And yes, try the wine – you will love it. And pairing it with the berry tart sounds like an excellent idea! Like the way you think :)

  12. Cristina @TeenieCakes

    Liren…this is such a beautiful and heart-felt tribute to your lovely Mom. There’s nothing quite like the unconditional love and nurturing of a parent and the bittersweet memories of them when we’ve lost them.

    I hope you had a memorable Mother’s Day with your little-ones.

    • Liren

      Hi Cristina, thank you so much, I did have a very memorable Mother’s Day with my little guys. This particular Mother’s Day was just such a poignant one for me, and I do appreciate my mom and my children each and every day!

  13. Cinda

    A beautiful post about your mum. You are her daughter and all the love that she gave you lives on and you share that same special bond with your children. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Liren

      Thank you, Cinda! I am thankful that she lives on in my heart and in my children :)

  14. Debi (Table Talk)

    I’m a bit teary eyed reading this one, Liren. Such a nice tribute to your mom.
    Our little ones do grow fast, and as they do their growing they remind us of what’s important in life.
    Cheers, and happy (belated) Mother’s Day!

    • Liren

      Aw, Debi, thank you. The little ones grow up WAY too fast, sometimes I could just freeze time!

  15. Spicy Green Mango

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, Liren! If you’re doing any Breast Cancer walks/runs, do let me know and I’d love to run/walk in honor of your mother. She must have been a great womyn, indeed, to have given rise to the likes of you!

    :) Hearts and hugs! BTW: I tweeted a request to you, so hopefully, you can steer me in the right direction as I navigate The Wiindy City!

    • Liren

      Thank you Chandara, that is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever offered. I will definitely let you know if/when I do a future breast cancer walk/runs. Thank you!!!! Hope you have fun in Chicago – I emailed you some of my favorites!

  16. Judy

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. It brought tears to my eyes. As much as I already appreciate my mom, I feel as though there’s so much more to appreciate. I am also inspired to be an even better mom! Thank you for sharing. Happy belated mother’s day!

    • Liren

      Judy, that is so, so sweet, thank you. It is a good reminder for me, too, to try my best to be a better mom (and it can be so challenging!). Thank you and hope you had a beautiful mother’s day, too!

  17. Cheryl

    I am catching up on all of your recent posts and saw the orchids and thought wow….what is this? You had me in tears, your mom sounded like an amazing women and mother. She would have been so proud of you!! You are amazing, I think you know how I feel about you as a person and a mother. I love watching all of your talents unfold. I feel blessed having you as a friend. And I will try the wine!!

    • Liren

      Oh, Cheryl, thank you!!! You are one of the nurturing friends I was thinking of when I wrote this post. You are a wonderful friend and inspiration to me, I want you to know! I can’t tell you how much all your support has meant to me over the years, and especially in this endeavor :)

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