This has been a very tender Mother's Day for me. Last year, I was *supposed* to spend Mother's Day with my mom. She had plans to come up to Idaho to spend the weekend with my brother and me. But my little baby Noelle came earlier than expected and I spent Mother's Day in Arkansas while my parents stayed in my house and watched Joci.
No one on this earth would know that my mom only had six more months left in her life.
I am not coping very well today. I push away thoughts and memories because the crying gets really ugly when I let them come to the surface. But I do want to honor my mom with some favorite memories.
* I was maybe 6 or 7. We went to Arctic Circle. We ordered our food then hung back to wait for our order. There was a half-wall separating the ordering area from the eating area. I noticed a wallet on that half-wall. I looked around. No one was near the wallet. I was concerned that someone had lost it. So I reached out to grab the wallet with every intention of turning into the Arctic Circle employee and report it missing. As my hand hovered over the wallet, a sketchy looking man with a dirty tee shirt, grizzled long beard, and crazy eyes slapped my hand and called me a thief. I instantly started crying as I tried to explain what was going on. My mom finally clued into what was happening and she went full-on mama bear crazy. You don't hit someone's child and expect to get away without a massive verbal evisceration at the Arctic Circle.
*I was 16 and my mom took me to lunch at Mi Casa restaurant. Pretty cool for her to just take me to lunch one random day in high school. We started talking. I told my mom a lot of stuff, but I always kept my romantic life pretty private. But this time I opened up to her about a boy I was in love with. I was embarrassed and expected her to tell me I was to young to be in love. Instead, she commiserated with the pain of it all and told me that young love is very real and very strong.
*One time in high school my dad was out of town and my mom said I could have a big party. Like the kind of parties you see in the movies when the parents are gone. But no alcohol of course. And so I did. Almost the entire school came over. My mom even set up the TV and VCR on a picnic table out side and like 10 kids were piled on the trampoline watching the movie. My mom, of course, was in the garden weeding and planting flowers by only the porch light.
*I remember looking out at the sea of parents' faces during the kindergarten Christmas pageant and comparing them all. My mom was the most beautiful out of all the moms.
*I always told my mom that I picked her to be my mom. I've said this since before I can even remember. I think it's true.
*My mom was really nervous about our first adoption. She was nervous about the prospect of an open adoption. When Joci was born and we drove to go get her, I could hear the apprehension in her voice almost more than the excitement. She seemed to be prepping me for a heartbreaking outcome. She also seemed to view Joci's birthmom as an obstacle to be overcome. I don't say that as a bad thing. Unless you've had an experience with an open adoption, it's natural. Well, we got to Boise and me the baby and the birth parents in the hospital and then went to Applebee's for lunch. I called my mom on my cell phone to tell her that we held the baby and things were going well. At that moment she was shopping at JCPenney for clothes for the baby. Suddenly the line went really quiet. With a choked voice, she told me to thank the birth mother and tell her she loved her. It was such a special moment, knowing my mom loved my daughter's birth mom.
*I still feel guilty about this. My mom made me an amazing, elaborate dress for preschool graduation. As a 5 year old, I had a hard time with the abstract idea of a picture of a dress on the pattern and different fabric and modifications. I wanted my dress to be just like the dress on the pattern. She finished the dress and had me try it on. The dress had some little detail I wasn't happy with. Like there were little bows on it instead of rose appliques. Something like that. I threw a fit. I was not kind. Instead of telling her snotty 5 year old to just be grateful for a beautiful new dress, she spent all night redoing it to make it right for me.
This is the dress. My niece wore it at my wedding.
A few more memories. I'll be brief.
*When I went on vacation to NYC and she came to my house to watch Joci and she made Halloween costumes for me and my friend.
*When I was in college and we had a truly honest discussion about relationships and disappointment
*When she was so proud of the work I do as a copywriter that she made me pose in front of a sign I had written that was on display at my company and took my picture with it.
*The many times she let me stay home from elementary school just because I was her baby and she wanted to spend time with me.
I still can't believe you aren't with me, Mom. You were so healthy and vivacious, I fully expected another 25+ years out of you. Your mother lived that long. I always imagined building an apartment for you in our house and making a lot of special memories with you in your golden years. I'm still coming to terms with life without you. I don't like it one bit. But you were such an amazing mom and I know that heaven missed you and needed you back. Nothing gold can stay.