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.