Today is the day to remember mothers. I thought, since you were a pretty decent one, I should do that. This year has been harder for me. Mother's day is everywhere, advertising, annoying, mocking. Each place I turn is another reminder that you are not here.
I feel like I should be resentful of the fact that you are not here, rather than being merely melancholy. Not sad melancholy. Well, not painfully sad. Just aware. Today is another day that you are not here. I am sorry for that, but at the same time, life keeps going on. It's surprising, you know. For the longest time I couldn't figure out how that was possible - time moving on without you - but now, I've accepted the fact things are different and they could not have been this way if you were here.
I suppose that sounds cold. It is not as though I am glad for your absence. On the contrary, I would shake my fists towards the sky if I thought it would do any good. What I have found is a way to recognize the things that have come from your death. The glass half full version, I guess. You have allowed us each a way to move on, a way to grow, a way to flourish in your absence.
The things you taught us in your life, prepared us for the days after. You taught us the importance of a strong family. The binds you tied around us as children kept us from floating apart as adults. And yet, we do not congregate because you told us to do so, but because we recognize that is where our strength and safety lie.
You taught us the importance of humor and joy. While I am fully aware I am going to get the beats when I see you next for some of my less tasteful jokes, it was your smile and laughter (heard from across the room) and your mischievousness that encouraged us to find the same things in life. Enjoyment in things. Even when they suck.
I was able to buy a house because of you. A house you never were able to set foot in, but was part of you nonetheless. I needed that place. A home. You knew that about me and you made it possible. I plan to someday have a home like you made for us -- one of laughter and chaos and love and family -- but with less wicker and brass.
There are still days I hurt that you are not here. Days when I see a sweater the perfect blue of your eyes. Days when I watch a movie you would have loved. Days when I see or do something I want to talk to you about. The stabbing, violent, shaking pain of losing you has passed. Now it is a slower pain, a slightly less intense pain -- a phantom pain with an ache of a limb that is gone.
Now the ache is of things I will not be able to share with you. My first house. My wedding day. My first child. Menopause. (Kidding. I already shared that with you.) But what I'm trying to say is that I appreciate who you were for me and I miss the fact you aren't anymore.
But I remember you. Poofy hair, Rita McNeil, false teeth, coke bottle glasses you. Bare feet, flour on your "good shirt"*, grin on your face you. Baseball cheering, bowling viewing, always standing you. Bread making, cross stitching, computer savvy, business woman you. You have shaped the people we have become - both in your presence and in your absence.
Happy Mother's Day.
*Every shirt was a good shirt. Said every time without irony and with utter sincerity.
This post was nominated for Five Star Friday