It is time.
Time to dedicate my post to MY mother on Mother’s Day.
It is a time to remember and a time to forgive.
Both of us.
My mother made a lot of mistakes while raising me.
She gave me a Bobbi Home Permanent, as she felt curly was chic. She misread the directions on timing, nearly asphyxiated us both with chemical fumes, and left me with curls so tight, I resembled a ninety year old grandmother,
instead of her ten year old daughter.
My mother made me go to a Hat party with her friends from church. She bought me a hat to wear for Easter Sunday. The hat was a black and white checked fedora that slipped down over my ears, to cover the curliest of the curls on my head. We fooled no one.
I wore the oversized hat like an exclamation point directly over my head.
My mother refused to let me shave my legs until I was 14. I have no idea how she came up with this number, or was so fixated by it that she could ignore the swirls of matted hair underneath my nylons as we walked side by side on our way across town. To say that I was mocked and teased by my peers is to make a further mockery of language I do not possess to describe my embarrassment.
My mother signed me up for cheerleading tryouts,
even though I could not execute a forward roll successfully in gym class.
My mother sent the admissions officer at my college, a gaudy and expensive tie, in lieu of the funds to cover the tuition check that bounced. I watched him wearing it, as I sat in his office promising to repay the debt.
My mother took thousands of still photos and hundreds of reels of Super 8 movies of...
Pictures and movies, that if they still existed somewhere, would garner millions of hits on You Tube these days, under the category of extraordinary fashion faux pas across the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s......
My mother made mistakes...but more importantly, my mother loved me when I made mine.
When push came to shove, from my first loud and negative No, to the I Can Do It By Myself, to Leave Me Alone, to turning my back, to eyeball rolling, to slammed doors and long agonizing silences. Letting one’s child grow, go and grow up is a painful process.
For Both sides of the Mother Child Equation.
I cannot say that I loved my mother every single minute of every single day.
What I can say with absolute certainty, is that she loved ME every single minute of every single day. For the length and breadth of her days,
and for all the days and nights of mine.
She held and rocked me through adolescence.
She held and rocked me through the first terrifying days of Motherhood.
She rocked and held me with her continuous stream of cards and letters, once a week, month after month, year after year. Love stories and secretive whispers of encouragement, in her exquisite Palmer Method handwriting. She tied us together across the miles, across the country,
folding me into her loving embrace.
The end of our story began with touches of forgetfulness. Odd assortments of gifts arrived in boxes.
Tacky gold slippers and odd trinkets ordered without mercy from a bizarre gift catalog.
She, wearing black hose, white shorts and high heels in the hottest of summer months.
Cutting her hair into a Price Valiant bob with bangs.
Coloring her hair carbon black.
With little warning, she descended into the land before time.
The land before OUR time.
I refused to acknowledge that she was slipping out of my grasp to a place I could never reach, no matter how many miles I flew, to be at her side.
The last time she said my name, she sat in a wheelchair,
her hair porcelain white,
and her head resting on her hands.
I walked in and said her name.
...then Oh Mom
She raised her eyes to mine,
said my name and that she had been sure I would come.
After that, she was gone.
Like a light bulb flickering to dim, and then darkness.
So I rocked her in my arms.
I brushed her hair as she slept.
I pulled off my shoes and climbed into her bed, and held her close.
I wondered to myself, how many times I had embarrassed her,
broken her trust, lied, embellished, misbehaved and was forgiven...
Each and every single time.
I wish today that I had those pictures and videos to pore over.
Unfortunately, they were lost in translation as her memory failed.
What I do have are the memories.
What I know for sure is that I, like my mother before me, I have made mistakes in raising my children. Have provided moments of withering embarrassment. Over protected.
Set limits and boundaries so tight, they chafe and choke.
But like my mother, I did it out of love.
Because that is what mothers do.
Maybe well...maybe poorly...
But by God, we all TRY.
Try our best.
So though my memories may be skewed over time, what I know to be true,
and what I celebrate on this Mother’s Day, with absolute surety,
is that once upon a time, I was loved.
Every single minute of every single day.
And that is the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all.
Your then and now, loving daughter.