Cuddles, kisses, tickles, and hugs…

Sunday is Mother’s Day. I always have a hard time thinking about Mother’s Day. Often I try to think about it like it was just another day. Other times I get more emotional. My mom passed on 18 years ago. It is hard for me to imagine what it would be like to talk to her now, and to spend Mother’s Day with her.

Recently I finished a novel called: “How to Eat a Cupcake” by Meg Donohue. Yes, it is what I call book porn or chick lit. I have to read it here and there between the intense memoirs and the business books. A book with cupcakes in the title, well yes I am curious. It was a good quick read, nothing too exciting and nothing to really write about, but this quote resonated with me:

“She was a wonderful mother. Of course, I never got a chance to know her as an adult, so my memory of her is probably kind of sentimental.”

I can relate. My mother died 2 months after my sixteenth birthday. It was a rough summer. I got my driver’s license that summer. Yes, I was one of those kids that got it after I turned 16. I remember the day I got my driver’s license and went to the hospital to visit my mom. She did not know who I was. There were times that summer when she was lucid, but they were few and far between. That was like a heavy boulder on my spirit. I wanted my mom to be proud of me — to be excited that I had met this milestone in my life. I did not know on that day that she would not be around to see other future milestones. My high school and college graduations. My wedding. Well, to be fair, no one saw my wedding…Chris and I got married just the two of us on a beach in Hawaii.

I wonder what she would have been like as a mother to my adult self. It is hard to imagine. My memory is as Meg says: sentimental. I often can only remember the 4 + years when she was sick before she died. I remember times here and there when I was younger. Like the cabbage patch doll she made for me and how horrible I was that Christmas morning when I told her it was not a cabbage patch doll because it did not have a plastic head! The horror she must have felt for such an ungrateful daughter. I grew up in the 80′s when brand names mattered. So did cabbage patch dolls, garbage pail kids, and the brand name on the butt of your jeans. We could not afford those name brand toys and clothes and my mother did her best to make them herself. While they, for the most part, did not look like their brand name counterparts, the hours and hours of late, late nights she stayed up to try to give us those things pierce my heart. Would I do the same today if I had kids? Maybe.

We were not a cuddly family (although the below picture may look cuddly). Sometimes I think my mom was so busy keeping our family together and food on the table that she did not see that sometimes we just needed to be held or told we were loved. That is something I will do differently with my kids. I want to spend time making sure they are loved, disregarding the wants and whims of fitting into the rest of life. I want to remember times when she would stop and dance with me, or play, or tickle me. But sadly…I do not. I remember how hard she worked for my family. That is the love I know she had for us. I believe it was her way of showing it, and her way of coping.

So thank you, mom, for working so hard for your family. I know l will cuddle, hug, kiss, and tickle my kids. Most likely to the point where they cannot stand me anymore. I will do this because I do not want them to ever feel like they were not loved in that deep, physical way.

Tami + Mom (May 1980)

Love you, Mom.

114 thoughts on “Cuddles, kisses, tickles, and hugs…

  1. Beautiful story. Sounds to me like your mom was doing everything right to raise an insightful, thoughtful, caring and beautiful daughter. And she did it in only 16 years — some of us need lots longer than that, so obviously you had a Super Mom!

    And you’re already writing stories that your own children will love reading when they’re trying to figure things out for themselves. Bravo!

  2. The “touch” aspect of mommyhood is so important — I think children need to feel the physical connection as well as the more emotional support mommies provide.

    I’m just grateful for the ability to be a mom … and to still be blessed enough to have my mom in my life and in the lives of my beautiful children.

    Many thanks to you for sharing this beautiful post. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! :)

  3. Ah, tears in my eyes. Thoughts are with you this Mothers Day (Ours is in March!) You are a very strong person, that must have been devastating, I often panic about losing my Mum, and I am nearly 23. I am glad you see that your children need cuddled. My boyfriends Mum only hugs him and his sisters at Christmas and birthdays and things. I can tell it hurts both parties.

    Thank you for this x

  4. Lovely story. My mom also was not demonstrative, but I am very much so with my son, who thrives on it but is reaching the point now (he’s 11) where sometimes he finds it a bit annoying. There’s a little bit of passive-aggressive going on, but that’s okay, I’m going to keep on anyway! Congrats on the FP!

  5. Since my mother also passed away when I was only a child (although a bit sooner – I was roughly 2 y.o.) I can relate to so much in this post. Such a beautiful tribute with just the right amount of uplifting spirit at the end. All the best to you and thank you for sharing your story, K.

  6. Beautiful post. I’m sorry for your loss. Memories of childhood can be both beautiful and terrible at the same time, but hopefully we learn from it and maybe each generation will get a little better.

  7. My dad was a lot like your mom. He was undemonstrative and tough. Yet he did so much for us and was always clearheaded, straightforward and loyal…all qualities that I appreciated more fully as I grew older. He died 14 years ago and I miss him every day. But whenever I’m confused about something I think about what he would do…and somehow he gives me his advice. Have a wonderful Mothers Day, and congratulations on being FP.

  8. Thanks for this post – it was a great read.

    Memoirs are a great way to hold the folks we’ve lost a bit closer for a moment. To hold them up to a more colourful light, one that is a shade we like better, that makes it easier for our weary eyes to focus on, here in the present.

    With fiction, most writers are finding a way to ‘taste life twice’ and bring an alternate view of those memories to the surface – to work out the Why? and the What if..?’s that tag along in our hearts, long after the event we’re pondering is only a memory. To make the events more Universal, and a step away from the capital ‘P’, Personal.

    Storytellers seem to weave the two together, finding that balance of ‘great’ and ‘grief’ that lives are really made of. At least that’s what I, as a storyteller, try doing.

    Blogs are the wonder that is Creative Non-Fiction – truths told, as you have, so well.

    • I never thought about that in relation to memoirs. That is such a great point. I agree regarding fiction. I sometimes think of it as living vicariously through someone else’s experience – to get out of mine for a bit. I so appreciate your comments, they mean a lot.

  9. Your post is really beautiful, and it also brought tears to my eyes. My mom, who is still with us (and I’m 40, so I’m very fortunate), also stayed up late at night to make our clothes since we couldn’t afford the name brands. She made all of my dresses for dances, even for the prom. As a little girl, I was so proud of my mom because I thought she made the prettiest clothes for me. As I got older, I would have preferred the store-bought brand names, but I remember feeling grateful that I would have a beautiful dress. Her way of showing she cared, with not much money, was making these things for me and my sister. Otherwise, it would have been Goodwill. Your post has made me stop and think that even though I’m so busy with my own kids and family (and we live far away from my parents), I really need to take the time to call her, and often. Someday soon, it will be too late. Thank you so much for this Mother’s Day reminder. You’ll be a terrific mother someday.

  10. This post resonated with me in a very deep way. Probably because I’m not part of a very cuddly family either. And I really miss the deep, physical expressions of love that parents can give. I keep thinking that I’d be different with my kids, more expressive and willing to show the love I have for them in the physical way. Awesome post. Loved it. And congratulations on being FP!

  11. A great post! I am new to your blog and love your writings. I was fortunate to hlave a mom that held me and told me she loved me and passed on unique traditions. I am now passing thise traits onto my son…He loves them!

    I love that you know how and what kind of mom you want to be! Kudos to YOU!!

  12. I am sorry for your loss. Your memories of your mother have earned a special place and your writing of those also. Congrats on this post reaching “freshly pressed.’ I am writing a piece for publication on having had cancer as a young mother, and my fear was leaving my children behind. Thank you for sharing what you carry forward to your children. This was special. Renee

    • Thank you, Renee! Teaching kids to be strong and have resilience I think can help them to navigate life if something happens to their parents. I hope you are doing well and in good health.

  13. My mom is like that, she spends all her time working, trying to give us what we need. I want to learn from what my mom don’t give me to give it to my kids… I have to say this post is really beautiful and thoughtful.

  14. thank for sharing, my dad died last year and I miss him. So I can’t imagine what it would be like beig 16 and losing someone so special and important. Big hugs and tickels from Dublin

      • I know just what you mean. The sadness comes and goes. Sometimes it is something that reminds you of your loved one or seeing someone else connecting with their dad. Sometimes it is an event. I sometimes think the sadness never really leaves.

  15. This brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your loss at age 16, that must have been very tough.

    Those cuddles etc do matter, and growing up without them has made my life difficult. I am one of those who does overcuddle my kids as a result.

    Hugs :)

  16. Sorry for your tragic loss. My father died about a month before I turned 17, so I have a bit of an idea what you went through/go through. These holidays are bittersweet for us, but having children of our own connects us in a lovely way to our missing parents. We know what they felt.

  17. Moments like these, I am so grateful to have a mother like mine. I am deeply sorry about your loss and for me, knocks on wood, the loss of my mother would be the loss of myself. That must have been a very tough thing to experience for you. Have a hug. I’ll check out that book. Oh boy, my “to read” list is only getting longer. Anyway, I digress. Wonderful post you’ve got here, and also a hug from me. {{hugs}}

    Best wishes.


  18. Thank you for sharing this. Even though my mother is still with me, I wish for the memories you wish for…but know they aren’t there. I often wonder why we never really learned to be a mother-daughter. Now that I am an adult (have been for many years, actually) I wonder how much of the chasm between us is my doing. ? Bless you for being so open and fair in your assessment of your mother’s struggles…and thank you for giving me a moment of introspection as I face Mother’s Day.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

    • Always hard to know, but there are two in the relationship. Have you ever shared your concerns with your mother? Thank you for your support!

    • I’m sorry to hear that you lost your mother at such a young age too. Growing up without a mom is definitely tough – it makes us that much stronger today.

  19. Beautiful blog post, it is great that it got Fresh Pressed. I am lucky because I am an adult and still have my mom, although I think even if you were to lose your mom as an adult it would still be hard (it always is).

  20. I loved reading your blog maybe because i can relate it to myself. My mom also works day and night for us, i know she loves me but i feel like she does not love me the way i want i her to love me.

  21. Great things to ponder on Mother’s Day. Having a mom and being a mom both teach us so much about life….sometimes a bit more than I bargained for. Wonderful post!

  22. I read your blog this morning and it resonated with me in mirror like images. Although my mother is still alive, the fear of her dying constantly bombarded my day to day memories of childhood. I held my breath literally as I read your story, choking back the tears that acknowledges my own life. Yet in simple terms, I am comforted to hear that you will shower your own children with the affection that is needed for growth, as I have done to my children as well. I would not be able to breathe thinking for one second that my children felt unloved, just kept. Not that I judge anyone for what they are able to give, or not..I just know better now, so I choose to do better. Thank you for sharing.
    “When you know better do better” -Maya Angelou

  23. What an honest and open reflection on motherhood and childhood. I commend you. As a mother, it makes me think of what memories I am leaving my child, and as my mother’s child, I can definitely relate. Kudos. Great post.

  24. Great post i feel like running to my mom and give her a big hug. But no can do i live abroad. And sometimes I think what if, what if something happens to her. I don’t wanna think about it.

  25. You are the mom you are because of your mom. That is a good thing. Though she wasn’t around, and though she didn’t mean to, she taught you enough to know that hugs are important, in addition to hard work. So you should be proud of your mom and proud of the mom you have become.

  26. Great post. Thanks for sharing your memories of your mother. I am fortunate enough to still have my mom, but I understand the importance and staying power of that deep love shown as you grow up. If my kids understand when they are grown how deeply they are loved, I will feel I succeeded.

  27. A heartfelt tribute…I don’t know why I feel like reading the own journey I have with my Mom. Unlike you, I am blessed to have her til now but I am saddened (actually it’s a mixed emotion) when I think about my yesteryear especially my younger years, when mother had to break her back just so she could provide food on our plate instead of spending those times with us… (And I feel like crying again). I am not yet a mother and not sure if I’ll ever be one, but whatever is in store for me in this life, I will try to be a better mom for my future kids and a better aunt for my nephews and nieces for now… I adore you so much. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us. Belated Happy Mother’s Day!

  28. You, like me, have found the blessings and appreciation in life. I lost my mother when I was 19. When a girl loses her mother in her, already tumultuous, teen years you don’t get the chance to make up in your 20′s and become friends and complete the mother and daughter full circle. Here is my story I shared recently. You might understand the finding of gifts in a relationship with a mother that was gone too soon.

    • What a heartfelt post – thank you for sharing it with me. What an experience you have had, and now you have three beautiful and precious boys. Your experience has made you so very strong, and that strength will be an example to your boys. Thank you again for sharing with me.

  29. I was raised by very warm parents. Kissing, touching, and hugging was always in abundance between my parents. And there was never lock of affection towards me. My dad comes from a very gregarious family, where everybody hugs all the time. My mother lost her mom when she was only 10, and her dad and step-mom were kind of on a strict uptight side. So she grew up a rebel – thank God!:)

    This is a physical world, and so we all crave for a physical touch… But there other ways people touch our souls, while they are still here, and even after they are gone.

    Great thought-provoking post!

    • I love that you had such wonderful parents and that your mom was such a rebel. I so agree with you about other ways people touch our souls. Thank you for the support of my post!

      • Thank you. I love that you’ve turned your childhood experiences into a lesson, and now boldly shower people around you with love and affection!

  30. Thank you for posting. I lost my mom 1 1/2 years ago at 26 yet she was ill for years. I try to remember and treasure all the memories I can muster from my teen years and childhood so I relate to your experience in that way. I hope you will be a great mom who carries on the legacy of hard work and deep love.

  31. Love, I tried to read this but I honestly couldn’t. I’m 16. I lost my mother when I was 12 and a half. Form what I read, it wans’t as bad as what you went through, with your poor Mom being lucid and forgetful of even who you were, but a peaceful death. She was 100% fine one day, and gone the next. Terrible. It happened in 2008 and I sitll struggle sometimes…. Especially mother’s Day, as you see it’s a day after she passed on… I hope you’re managing alright, because we all struggle sometimes. Keep it going, girl. Stay strong :)

    • I understand that you still struggle. I still do too. It is something that never leaves you. You stay strong too!

  32. Wow, I am so sorry for your loss. Even years later it can feel like it just happened, and what you really want is that person to be there and help you through the grief, as odd and impossible as that sounds. Your post was very well written, and I wish you all the best

  33. She sounds like my maternal grandma.
    Which to me, is a compliment. My mom would often tell me stories about her childhood; how my grandma expressed her love and affection through hard work & random, small gifts. I loved it.

  34. Your post was really touching, got a little teary eyed. These are the kind of posts that really break down the essentials one needs to feel happy. Congrats on making Freshly Pressed!!

  35. My biggest fear is outliving my Mom….I don’t want either of us to pass away. As I grow even a little more older, I try to look around me & find comfort in people like yourself, who have lost their Mom, but can go on:) Thank you for sharing this story with us! xo

    • You’re welcome! Cherish every moment you have with you mom – appreciating in the present can only bless you both.

      • Yes…when she starts driving me crazy, I panic & stop myself & think how much I will miss her when we cannot go shopping together or just enjoy eachothers company. Life can feel so unfair/strange as we get older & think about death:(

      • i literally live in dread of loosing my mum..m just 20 and presently my mum is d one whom i actually consider a friend and a companion. wish shez with forever..:)

  36. Wow, I am in the same position as you. Laid off recently and feeling a lttle lost to admit. But a friend inspired me and we began working on a blog ourselves to help others. We only just started. But are encouraged by the response. I enjoyed reading your post and wanted to offer our congratulations on being freshly pressed and would welcome any advice you would have to offer. And could you explain a little more about “freshly pressed?” is it the number of readers? likes? or just a hot spot?

  37. Pingback: 2012 in Review | random olio

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