FLEMING ISLAND – With five generations of women, Mother’s Day has evolved into a weekend-long celebration for a family that includes a 94-year-old matriarch to a 15-year-old high school student.
Nana, Gammy, Nonnie, Mom and Christen will continue their rich family tradition by going to breakfast on Saturday, then spending Mother’s Day with their children. It’s gathering that becomes more important with year, as they appreciate their unique connection while trying to register their stories in memory books.
“We want to get together,” said Annette Engelman, a 73-year-old daughter of Claudia Ingaldi, 94. “My mother lives in assisted living, but we try to include her in just about everything. When we get together, we really sit and talk. It’s more of a social event. We all enjoy being together.”
Ingaldi, who’s known as Nana and Engelman, who’s known as Gammy, will be joined by Engelman’s daughter, 51-year-old Susan “Nonnie” Carter, 32-year-old Nicole “Mom” Aston and 15-year-old Christen Malo, the “future” of the family.
The current family lineage started 77 years ago Ingaldi married a private from the Italian Army 23 days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Her husband fought in the European theater during World War II while she stayed home and ran a farm with 5,000 chickens.
Although Ingaldi’s husband was wounded during the Allied invasion of Normandy, which kept him hospitalized for two years, he eventually recovered to start a family that now spans five generations. The family, especially the women, have an exceptional relationship for their history – and future.
“It’s all about family and the strength of the women in our family,” Carter said. “We’re proud of who we are, and it all starts my grandmother (Ingaldi). Her traits all pass through each of us.”
“The house is full of glitter and giggles,” Aston said.
The women spend most of their time telling tales of the past, working on their memory books and playing canasta.
“We’re all very competitive,” Engelman said.
The memory books are important because it therapeutic for Ingaldi, who is suffering with dementia, Engelman said.
“We are working on our family tree,” Carter said. “We are putting our history in chronological order so I can pass it down to my daughter and my great-granddaughter.”
Their ancestry has deep roots that includes Ingaldi’s sisters, who lived to be 100 and 104 years old.
All five generations also will celebrate with their own individual families. Aston will spend most of Sunday with her brother and her daughter.
“On Saturday, I celebrate with my family,” she said. “On Sunday, I will celebrate with my daughter. To me, Mother’s Day is about recognizing my mom and appreciating motherhood. We all share a bond with each other. It’s a day for your children to appreciate you and all the sacrifices you’ve made throughout the year.”
The women don’t just wait for Mother’s Day to get together. They celebrate birthdays, holidays and any other reason to spend an afternoon together, Engelman said.
“Mother’s Day doesn’t happen once a year for us,” Carter said. “Around here, every day is Mother’s Day.”