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Mom-less on Mother's Day

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 5:27 PM
A funny thing happened on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I was upstairs working on the computer when the doorbell rang; my husband answered the door, and within seconds I heard my son’s voice which was strange because my son works in Ottawa. I came downstairs and there was both my son and daughter. My daughter ran up the stairs from our entrance and yelled, “Surprise,” extending a bouquet of daisies. I burst into tears and hugged them both.

They came at a great time. This was my second Mother’s Day since my own mother, Lynne, passed away. I think it was worse than the first one. Seeing my own children was a wonderful consolation after the weeks of Mother’s Day advertisements that depressed the heck out of me.
Mother’s Day was a big deal for my mother – heaven help the child that forgot it. In later years, emails and FTD florists took the worry out of realizing three days before that Mother’s Day was coming. A credit card and a phone call would send a new plant or bouquet of flowers my mother’s way and she always appreciated it. Every year, she told me that I shouldn’t have, but I knew that if I didn’t send something, I’d never hear the end of it. That was one of my mother’s endearing quirks; she simply wanted her children and grandchildren to pay attention to her and to express their love in one way or another. It took me a long time to understand it.
It also took many years to establish a non-combative relationship with my mother. She had a very vivid personality, so vivid that it’s hard to believe that she’s gone. My mother was the life of any party, she water skied and spent the summer in a bathing suit when all the other kids’ mothers were playing cards and she had the richest, most beautiful singing voice. Though I inherited her love of music, I didn’t get that voice, only a shadow of it.

Over time, I find that I’m taking on many of her characteristics. When my father tells another of his improbable stories, I can hear my mother’s voice saying, “Sonny, you know that didn’t happen.” I can feel my face take on my mother’s expression, the rolling of the eyes. It’s all that I can do not to say, “Dad, you know that didn’t happen,” but my father is ninety-one years old. His stories are overwhelmingly exciting. When I hinted to the nursing home staff that they were also untrue, I could see their faces begin to fall. I had to catch myself. He’s ninety-one and he’s entitled to an audience.

Coming from a home with two gregarious and charming parents was not easy. Everyone seemed to compete for attention and believe me, there’s still a fair bit of emotional baggage that my parents’ children and grandchildren are dealing with. Yet my mother was absolutely right when she said over and over again that I would miss her when she was gone. Of course, I miss her. Two years on, I’m still surprised to come home from work and not have a message on my answering machine with her usual, “Hello, it’s your mother. I’ll talk to you,” followed by the click of the phone hanging up. I miss my mother terribly.

It only makes sense that when my children surprised me on Saturday, I was thrilled to see them. They reminded me of the role that I have to play and I try to never ever say that they will miss me when I’m gone, because of course they will. Our bond is bigger than our disagreements.
I imagine that this isn’t going to get easier as the years go on. It is a pain that I will get used to every Mother’s Day, and there are some of you out there who have lived with this for years; you know this pain better than I. About six months, before my mother passed away, I thanked her for the wonderful life that she gave me; I’m so glad that I did.

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