Today we celebrate Mothers Day. This will be the first time celebrating this since my mom passed two months ago. I’ve been thinking about how I could honor her, how I can transform the emptiness in my heart that I feel for her. My world will never be the same, and that is okay. Death is part of life, I have learned this and have had plenty of opportunity to practice it’s presence.
My mom was the strongest person I know. A friend said to me the other day “I remember your mom’s stance, that alone told me how strong she was”. I nodded, and spent some time pondering this. Without a doubt her stance was tough. She was unafraid to address anyone or anything, and that was pretty amazing. Sadly it was because she had been through a lot in her life, she knew pain intimately, and at 80 she didn’t mince words. At 80 years old her demeanor, her stance could easily be interpreted with these famous words “Go ahead, make my day!”
I have a cousin who was born with cleft pallet. Medically the professionals were ready to insert a feeding tube (60’s small town care). My mom stayed up for two nights designing a bottle that would work for her. She succeeded. I did not know about this until after she had died. I wasn’t surprised to hear this. My mom was a very intelligent woman who read constantly, chose books and reflection over television. She could’ve been so much more than just our mom, or somebody’s wife. In fact, she was so much more than that.
She was a voice for those who didn’t have one, or who were too weak or afraid to talk. She was a pillar of strength and determination when it came to solving difficult problems, and a force to be reckoned with when it came to her family. She instilled in us the importance of family. She was benevolent when it came to her skills. She loved to bake for others, surprise them with pies, and she made a kick ass crust! She would do “whatever it took” to get things done, and help her children with whatever they were dealing with and in a way that she would inevitably take over, which today I can think about and smile, at various times in my life I sometimes wanted to smack her! (I am a passive person, trust me, if I hit someone it was because they deserved it, but I never hit my mother).
Spring was her favorite time of year. She had a green thumb, loved the outdoors and nature, and would come in to tell me every Spring which plants survived the New England winter, with a childlike wonder that always brought a smile to my face, she was joyful when gardening, grooming the yard. Once a year, when the budget allowed, I would take her to her favorite nursery for Mother’s Day and she would run around with a cart and choose whatever she wanted. She LOVED this. These times were wonderful, though the dogs would be bored waiting in the car, and then highly annoyed with how little room they had to maneuver in after we loaded all the plants! Then there was the planning of where to plant all that we bought. She would ask my opinion, and then do whatever she wanted anyways. Again, today I can laugh at this, but there were times we had words, and I would ask why she wanted my opinion when she never considered it? It’s amazing to me how humorous I find this today. Absence makes the heart grow fonder?
I often would pick her up for appointments or visit her with a Dunkin Donuts coffee and two old fashioned donuts, her favorite. She would eat one and feed the dog the other. The other day my side kick and I went to Dunkin’s and they informed us when we ordered an old fashioned donut that they were no longer making them! For me this was a sign that my moms time to die was right on schedule! I say this lightly, honestly. I know an average person would shrug it off, not me!
In my early 20’s I was going for a job promotion and was feeling nervous about mathematical testing for such. My mom met me in a bank parking lot, with pad of paper and pencil, and taught me (retaught me) about fractures. I aced the test!
She loved her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchild. But her first loyalty was always to her children. It would upset her if she saw inequities or any of us being taken for granted by their children, or mistreated by them. I was childless, so the focus was on the spouse or partner, and believe me, after 3 long term relationships with alcoholics, there was plenty there for her to decipher or dislike!
If there was only one thing (which is not the case) she taught me, it was every day you get up and dig in, get busy and do what is in front of you. I think about this everyday, particularly when I’m trying to talk myself out of bed!
She swore like a sailor, and one time my sister and I were counting how many times she said “the f word”, she asked what we were counting… “26, 27, 28, 29….”, the usage quickly added us as we exited the house!
I am my mothers daughter. She taught me by example so many things, a few that I’m going to pass on sharing, but for the most part today I will think of my mom and smile, welcome the tears that will fall, and are falling, as I face this first “mother’s day” without her.
Happy Mothers Day, to all you mom’s out there. Hope your children do something kind for you, and if they aren’t able to for whatever reason, I hope you can find joy in their memories, or the love that being a mom taught you! I”m a mom only to four legged critters, and I am a good mom, at that!