Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day without Mom

Mother's Day changes forever when your mom is no longer alive. The first Mother's Day after mine died, I wanted nothing to do with celebrating it for anyone, besides maybe a little bit for myself. It was a hard day since everyone talks about thanking their moms, and mine couldn't be thanked anymore.

It was also hard because it was only my second Mother's Day as a mother, and I was starting to clue in to all the commitment and love it takes to raise a child. I so badly wanted to tell her that I had finally walked a few miles in her shoes - and realized what a long road it was for her. To tell her that now I understood why it hurt her feelings to have me turn away from her when I was a teenager. To tell her I understood why she felt so protective of me. To tell her I can imagine why it was hard to have an empty nest. To tell her I know now how she lost herself because she poured so much energy into raising her children. And to tell her, "I'm sorry." If I could only ask her, "Did I ever make you feel this defeated/in love/angry/joyful, Mom? How did you get through it?"

But now I don't get to spend Mother's Day being grateful to my own mother, calling or sending flowers. I have to learn to focus on just my own babies, and focus on saying thank you to them for helping me earn my stripes. I guess being a good mother to her grandchildren is the best thanks I can give my mom. It's what she taught me to do, and what I pray I will teach my children to do.

In honor of my mom, I'm posting something I wrote and gave her as a gift for her 60th birthday. My sister, brother-in-law, husband and I also read parts of this at her funeral. I miss you, Mom!

60 Things Mom Has Taught Me
1. How to tie my shoes. 2. How to blow a bubble with my gum. 3. Always be an independent woman. 4. How to iron handkerchiefs. 5. How to fold t-shirts perfectly. 6. I can make friends with anybody. 7. Get to know people in grocery store lines. They have stories to share. 8. Always give to others. 9. Keep in touch with your kids’ friends and old flames. 10. How to drive a stick shift. 11. To have a special affinity for liver cheese sandwiches. 12. Sleep on the back porch every chance you get in the summer. 13. M*A*S*H is the best TV show ever. 14. How to play softball. 15. Keep a journal. 16. How to love eating fried okra. Especially Mr. James’. 17. A backrub solves most troubles. 18. How to have a lot of new friends—lots of old ones too. 19. Read, read, read! 20. Fight for what you want. 21. Keep my nails filed and looking nice. 22. Lipstick is the most essential makeup. 23. Always carry tissues in my purse. 24. How to make magic cookie bars. 25. Boodle boxes cure homesickness. 26. Keep a calendar. 27. How to make chicken wings! 28. Keep my kids’ lost teeth in my jewelry box. 29. Keep trying. 30. Get involved—in church, the community, my kids’ lives. 31. Buy extra greeting cards to keep on hand. 32. Make lists. 33. Good penmanship is an art. 34. Don’t be anyone but myself. 35. How to love old church hymns. 36. Boy troubles will always pass. 37. Never give up. 38. Have a signature perfume. 39. Take pictures of important events and keep them organized in albums. 40. Always write thank you notes. 41. Handwritten letters are always welcome. 42. Keep a pen pal. 43. Always save your kids’ Christmas ornaments. 44. TLC is the best medicine for someone who’s sick. 45. How to set up and keep a warm, comfortable, open house. 46. Don’t lie. You will always get caught. 47. A love of reading Reader’s Digest. 48. How to pick out a prom dress. 49. Corn bread always goes with vegetable stew. 50. Holidays are for my family, especially the kids. 51. How to make homemade Egg McMuffins. 52. Guiding Light is the best soap opera. 53. Nestor the Christmas Donkey is a great movie. 54. How to find my way home. 55. How to write my first thesis paper. 56. Education is a top priority. 57. Burping is not polite at the dinner table. 58. How to knock people off when tubing behind a boat. 59. Start conversations with, “Howdy do! How are you?” 60. How to be a good mother.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post....hope your Mother's day was divine!


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