Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day.
People on FB are posting pictures and sending wishes to moms everywhere.
I'm a mom, a grandmom and great grand mom. I get what it's all about.

So why am I feeling so pissy and whiney?
Why do I want to slam my computer shut and not look at the happy Facebook images?

Maybe it has something to do with my mom not being here. With the fact that I can't remember what she smelled like or what her laugh sounded like or what it felt like to hold her hand as she crossed from this world to the next. Somehow in death my mother has become even smaller than she was in life, still lost in my father's shadow.

Reminders of my mom don't come as easily as they once did. I'm embarrassed by that. Ashamed.

Nude bathing suit,
Pikaki leis
Red hibiscus behind her ear
Red chiffon Christmas dress
dinner parties
Chicken curry with 21 condiments
Martini on the rocks
Knitting and crocheting
teaching me to sew,
silently watching me lay out quilt pieces on the living room floor,
Christmas morning
hair in pin curls
blue velveteen bathrobe
flip flops
high heeled shoes with matching handbags
going to Germany to marry a man several years older than she
returning home because she changed her mind
slamming kitchen cupboards
leaving home (but always coming home)
praying in church
loving each of her sons-in-law, even when her daughters couldn't love them any more
iced coffee, before Starbucks
popcorn in milk
ice cold beer in the afternoon
reading me stories before a nap
the silent treatment
Christmas trees and birthday cakes
rubbing me down with alcohol when my fever got too high
rocking babies
dancing right out of her slip
writing notes to get back into school
grocery shopping on the first Wed. of every month and making it last
frozen milk
spaghetti in Thursday, steak on Saturday
going to the circus, when I was young and when she was old
watching golf and football
satin wedding gown
navy blue tank suit
ironing table linens
looking out a window
sipping brandy
Sunday morning pancakes
cast iron frying pan
folding the laundry - not letting it sit in the dryer
folding Kleenex around her finger before she went to sleep
never taking off her wedding ring
watching her put on lipstick
crystal star earrings, gold beads, silver charm bracelets
whistling with canaries, listening to Eddie Arnold, singing the Navy Hymn

I don't know for sure but I think my mother gave up a lot of herself to be a wife and mother. That's what women of her generation did. I didn't get to ask her the questions about things I'd love to know. I miss not knowing who she was inside, what her dreams had been, did they come true, did she have regrets, what would she do differently, what brought her joy, did she cry into her pillow at night like I do.

I held my mother's hand until she stopped breathing. She was there for me when I came into this world.  I was there when she left it. Still, I regret not staying with her after she passed, like I did with my father, tenderly washing and dressing her thin body. I left her in that hospital room, alone. Was she rolled down the hall with a sheet over her head and a tag on her toe? I wish I could have a do over. I wish I could ask her how she lived in this crazy world and what it's like in heaven.

After dinner tonight John and Maizey and I were joined on our evening walk by Ashley and Ryan and Eleyiana. When I walk I like to pick up the pace rather than diddle saddle. As we neared the pond my legs felt like they wanted to move faster. But I was holding Gracie's hand. A tired three year old, with her clogs on the wrong feet can't walk very fast.  Slow down, I heard from somewhere beyond the croaking frogs. Don't go so fast. This is a moment that will never come again. Savor it so you'll have no regrets.

Perhaps right there by the same pond that I've passed so many times before my mother whispered in my ear the only thing I really needed to know. May it be so.

Merry ME


Debbie said...

Today's world is different, things are much more open, discussions are more direct. That can't be said of previous generations. I too have those questions never asked of my Mom. She's been gone a month now. I believe she had a good life and much like your Mom, in my Father's shadow.
And don't be hard on yourself. You have a gift of writing....put pen to paper and write you Mom's story...for those little feet in the shoes wrong way around.

Joy said...

I enjoyed your reflections of your mother! Writing is the perfect way to express and share and you do it so delightfully! I like the list of memories you made. I may do the same, thanks for the idea!