Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy birthday, Mom.

I've been out of sorts all week, well, carryover from last week what with Freaky Friday and all, plus still hobbling with the walking cast and spent the earlier part of the week fighting off some cold/flu bug. Add to that working a few late nights plus short nights of sleep, and menses—well, no wonder why i'm cranky.

Last night, i met up with my knitting group. We usually we meet on Mondays, but M, a former member who moved away, was going to be in town on Tuesday and staying through Saturday, so we changed our meeting night to Wednesday so we could see M and catch up. I parked in the driveway since i have to take off the walking cast to drive and put it back on when i arrive at my destination. I don't have to worry about passing motorists if i park in the driveway, rather than on the street, which is where i typically park for knitting night. M had parked behind me in the driveway and joked that i was stuck waiting for her to leave until i could be sprung free. She meant no harm in it, but i felt a wave of exhaustion hit me a half hour before she was ready to go, and i couldn't wait to get home and crawl into bed.

It's funny how much energy healing takes, and when i got home, Jim ran outside. I don't like him outside after dark, and he thinks it's a game if i try and go after him. He came back in soon enough, but it just felt like one more thing, and after he came in, i burst into tears.

Just one of those moments where i wanted something in my life to be easy and felt nothing was. Before i could complete that thought, i chided myself for being so forlorn. WHAT was the matter with me? And then i realized that the 11th was my mother's birthday, and why i can't say, but i felt more sad than usual that she's not on the planet. I remembered my freshman year in college, when i was glad to be back in New England. My dad had been transferred several years before, and the plan was that my mom and we kids would stay in the old location until my brother and i finished high school, then my mom would move to the transferred location. But, the drive back and forth for long weekends and school vacations took a toll on Dad, and so we moved after my brother finished high school, and i had two years left. All of us hated the transferred location. No autumn to speak of, among other things. The leaves simply grew tired of hanging on the branches and fell without any colourful fanfare. And so it was my freshman year, that i picked up some of the falling leaves, stuffed them in two envelopes and mailed them to my mother. A taste of New England, as it were.

I could never really draw--even stick people are daunting to me, but i tried my best to draw a leaf on one envelope, and it looked bad enough that i didn't try on the other. I had tried drawing a maple leaf, but it looked more like a pot leaf. Yeah, well, i wasn't sending my mom dope, so no worries. She only got one of the envelopes, and it was the one without my feeble leaf attempt.

That following spring i wanted to send her a single rose on Mother's Day, accompanied by a poem i wrote for her. The florist i called wouldn't deliver just a single rose, and i didn't have enough money to send a proper bouquet, although i did tell the florist how much i could spend. He laughed at the paltry amount, so i told my mom my plan and sent her the poem. I promised myself i'd be sure to set aside enough money the following year so when Mother's Day rolled around, i could do something nice for her.

But she died about three months before the next year's Mother's Day, and i was in France.

There's been so much in my life that's happened that i would love to have shared with her. She knew i got accepted into a study abroad programme but lived only a few weeks after i received the confirmation letter. I know she would have welcomed the letters i wrote to those back home. She never saw me graduate college, nor did she get to meet Himself, and neither of my parents lived to see us walk down the aisle.

I am so glad she didn't dawdle while she was here on the planet with me but tried her best to see to it that my toolbox would have the tools i'd need to build a successful life. And that i knew how to use those tools. I am now older than she was when she died, yet i don't feel older when i think of her. I see elderly women now who are from my mother's generation, and i wonder what my mother would have been like as an octogenarian.

I've had enough time to get plenty used to the idea that she's not here, and for the most part, i've simply gone on to live my life, but there are those days where i miss her very deeply, as deeply as any child would its mother, while the adult me is suspended and can do nothing to help. Yesterday and today both were simply yet another one of those times where there was pervading sadness. Where i'd give just about anything to be able to pick up the phone and say, "Happy birthday, Mom." Or send some flowers. Or autumn leaves.


  1. That'a a lovely tribute. I've never written about my mother as such; I'd find it very difficult.

  2. I miss my mother as well. And our relationship was not close at all. She disowned me when I was just getting ready to start med school and withdrew all funds. Thus,she was the catalyst for the hardest 8 years of my life and, by far, the poorest. But, I became incredibly self sufficient and this was a gift, in the long run. She died when I was in my thirties and quite successful. She died of breast cancer and never let me back into her life. But, oddly, I miss her so keenly at times. She was one of the strongest women that I ever knew and probably the reason that I was able to make it on my own. I was just as stubborn as she was and refused to apologize for my life.

    She is the reason why I am so close to my own daughter, I think. And she still baffles me. I look at my daughter and can't conceive of any reason to stop loving her, to shut her away from me. I always strove to be the mother I wanted to have.

    I think there is something buried deep within bonding us to our mothers. I see it in abused children and in well loved ones, too.

    There is a lot written on mother love and I can see why.