This will be my seventh Mother’s Day without my mom and my 13th as a mom myself. I am so incredibly grateful that I had some overlap.
When I say overlap, I mean I feel lucky my kids got to meet my mom. Even if they were really little when she died, even if she was really sick for most of their lives, even if they don’t totally remember live memories, even if it takes photos to jog their memories. They see pictures and remember Grandma-ma (as she liked to be called) snuggling them on the boat, feeding them ungodly amounts of sugary or buttery items, doing puzzles with them, singing along to Grandpa’s guitar (almost certainly with the wrong lyrics! Swedish A Hiker comes to mind or is it Sweet Hitchhiker Ma?). Laughing, always laughing.
My mom had such a unique ability to accept people, to love people, to draw them in and keep them close, protected. Growing up, our home,particularly the kitchen, always had neighbors, families, friends. It was the center of my ma’s beautiful kaleidoscope. It was grand central station at any given time or day. This was her comfort zone – cooking, laughing, talking, always with an array of different characters. She would cuddle and coddle the crap out of them! I bet I couldn’t name 10 people that my mom didn’t like. She was a lover for sure. I always thought she should have been a peace loving flower child but met my hard charging dad instead! But, now as I look back on their 40-year plus union I can’t help but think all of ma’s flower child ways evened that out.
It’s hard for me to write just one thing that I miss about my mom because she was the glue. She was a natural “connector”(unless of course this connecting should take place during Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune – then it would have to wait). She was unconventional in every way. She didn’t fit in with the other moms and was a renegade way before her time! Fancy dinners, pretentious events, competitive parenting, tap her out! This was a woman who happily swayed to the beat of her own drummer. She treated all five of her kids like they were her absolute favorite. (Man, I wish I could master that skill!) As a mom of three, I don’t know where she got all that love? There was always a gentleness about my mom. Honestly, when ma would get mad, really mad my little brothers and I couldn’t help but crack smiles. It was so out of character for her. We’d giggle a little as we knew rage or anger was not ma’s natural state! Ha.
As the years pass without her physically here, I find myself weepy, the anger is gone, the bitterness fading. Instead I see my ma looking back at me when I ask my middle kid, “What was that, what did you just sing?” Ha. Nope, I think the words are supposed to be… Or when I find my oldest snuggling up next to me on the couch. He seems like he’s on that cusp of getting too big for hanging with his ma, but there he is (just like all three of my brothers with my ma, they never outgrew snuggling up to ma).Or when my youngest takes to eating pierogi as if it were an Olympic sport! And sometimes, one of my girls will simply ask a very “Rose Nylon” question (That must be a lot of work for a farmer to perfectly trim all those trees exactly the same? ME: Um – I think animals might do that, I think it might be called a “browse line”). And boom there she is in all her glory! She’s smiling right back at me, laughing away.
Sometimes it’s a scent, sometimes it’s a food, many times it’s a song and I long to pick up the phone and call my first true “Bestie”. When there’s great news or awful news – I struggle not having her on the other end of the line. She made everything better. Whether it was a kid who wouldn’t sleep, a recipe I couldn’t figure out, trouble with a friend, boyfriend, husband – she would listen, no matter what was going on in her life. My ma had a knack for letting you know you were important and she was there, always there. I think the worst part is not having that home to go back to when you need what only your Ma can give you. I’m the home now and that scares the crap out of me!
So this year as mothers day rolls around instead of feeling bitter, almost jealous of all of you who get to spend the day with your moms, instead I shall remember all that love that ma gave to me. I will remember her beauty, her warmth and that laugh, damn that laugh. She gave me so much, if I could just be half the mom, wife, friend that my mom was I will feel extraordinarily successful in life.
Thank you Lorac!