It’s Mother’s Day. About every seven years or so, my mom’s birthday, which is May 13, lands on Mother’s Day Sunday. Not this year and honestly, I’m glad. The bittersweet of that convergence of memory-inducing events is enough to put me into a fetal position in the corner. There are days even after 33 years–dear lord, Mom has been gone 33 years!–that I miss my mother so much I ache with it. Not because she and I were all that close when I became an adult because we weren’t really.
What I miss is my mommy. The woman who read to me endlessly, even when she was exhausted from working a full evening shift at the grocery store, going to classes full time during the day, and studying late into the night to get her nursing degree. The mom who always showed up at band concerts and school honors programs and church youth group events no matter how dead tired she was. The woman who allowed me to creep into her bed in the darkness of the wee hours if a nightmare had yanked me cruelly from sleep. The woman who was always so proud of my creativity, who encouraged me to write and read and learn. The mother who taught me how to swim in Lake Michigan and body surfed with us in the high waves when other moms were telling their kids to get back up on the beach. I even miss the woman who could argue a totally unreasonable point of view to the point that something truly ridiculous actually began to sound reasonable; and after we left each other, I’d have a Hey-wait-a-minute moment, but it would be too late because she’d be on to something new, leaving me befuddled and shaking my head.
My mom was a character, no question. She and I took separate paths when I became an adult and it wasn’t until just a few months before she passed suddenly at age 60 that we came together on a more level playing field and had a chance to really be close again. How I cherish the ten days I spent wandering San Francisco with her just months before she died–they were a gift! In spite of our lifestyle differences, I never, ever questioned how much she loved me and my sisters and brother. The mommy-ness of Muriel is what I hope I brought to my own parenting and I pray that Son and Grandboy feel from me that sense of fun, those moments of uninhibited joy, and the enduring love that Mom gave to me.
Happy Mother’s Day, mes amies! Stay well, stay safe, stay joyful!