It’s complicated. Mothers aren’t perfect. Don’t I know it? The pressure of being celebrated can be uncomfortable.
What about my Uncle Ding? He definitely made a better “grammy” than his sister I called by that name.
I think of my own mother. I know there was a time in our relationship that I did not appreciate her. Plus, I was busy pursuing my own life. I barely gave her the time of day.
Billy Collins captures this period in my life, perfectly, in his poem, “The Lanyard.” I enjoy his reading and hope you do, too.
I laugh now, but there is such truth in it.
When I consider my mother today, I have only regret for the time I distanced myself from her. I was busy, starting my own family, working.
I am grateful for the time I have taken to be with her, to appreciate her, most especially the past 10-15 years.
For the past 25 years, we have met in the Big Apple to celebrate her birthday, which is always near Mother’s Day. This year was no exception.
When I was in junior high school, she drove me to school in the wee hours of the morning to meet my running club. Years later, she posed nude for me to take photos for my college course. Even later in my life, she pressed me to get into counseling for an abusive relationship.
She gave me life more than once.
But today, I am losing her bit by bit. She cannot remember that we ate lunch together yesterday, nor that we plan to go to a baby shower in June.
She can tell me how to winter over my dahlia bulbs, but not recall when she last left the house.
She is at peace, while I am grieving. Grieving for the loss even as it occurs drip by drip.
This woman who made salads her granddaughter’s friends still talk about, cannot make another.
She sits quietly at lunch, eating and listening.
We step outside and my dad drops to one knee to tie her shoe after she has difficulty.
When he stands, she turns to me and says, “That’s your entertainment for the day.”
She took care of all of us, now she needs us to return the favor. I want to know, how are we doing?
I realize that my mother has been pretty constant in my life. What has changed is my attitude towards her.
Why do we wait until we are losing something or someone to appreciate them fully?
Yesterday, she turned 86. Of course, she is old. Of course, she will die. But she is my mom. I wonder, ridiculously, why can’t there be an exception? or what will I do without her?
I know I will do pretty much what I do now, but it still feels hard. She is my anchor, my touchstone.
If I asked her what I will do without her, she may respond the same way she did after the birth of my third child. She came for a week to help and as she was leaving, I broke down and cried, “What was I thinking? How am I going to handle this? Two kids were a challenge,” I lamented.
She hugged me and said, “You will do what every mother before you has done, the best you can.”
She was so right. She has always been wise.
I just did not always recognize or value it.
My daughter shared this video with me. It better portrays how I feel about my mother now.
I can’t listen without crying.
No mother is perfect. I have learned we all do the best we can with what we have at the moment.
As a daughter, I am working on how to appreciate the life she gave me and what time I have with her.
May everyday be Mother’s Day.