I had a guest post on something or other all lined up to go today. But, I’m going to push that off until next week. Instead, I’m going to write about my mom.
She died suddenly yesterday. Just 64; way too soon.
In many ways, I’m sure she was just like your mom. What stands out most is how much family meant to her.
Boy, did she loved her family, especially her three grandchildren. My freshest memory is a lunch we had on the Sunday before Mother’s Day. I can’t shake the image, that look on her face, when my three-year-old son peered down the table and challenged her to guess the country he was thinking of that began with the letter “V.”
[It was Vanuatu. Thank you, iPad.]
Not unlike your mom, mine, of course, knew best. She called me a few days later, proclaiming that my son must have meant some other country. Because Vanuatu? Really?
Really, mom. Vanuatu. I sent her a Sincerely Ink Mother’s Day Card this year. I was tempted to just have it be a picture of Vanuatu. But, I opted for her a group shot of her grandchildren instead. Based on the voice mail she left me after receiving it, I made the right call.
The smile on her face at the Vanuatu lunch — and the joy she got from spending that time with my kids, Brooks, Ivy, and Pierce, meant the world to her. It was the same expression she wore whenever she was around them. Or, for that matter, when my sister and I were younger.
Family first. That’s what made her happy.
She was a Girl Scout leader for my sister.
She chaperoned our school trips. [Truth be told, those skills were a bit rough around the edges. Letting some of my fourth-grade classmates purchase Chinese stars at the Italian Market. Yeah… At least no one got hurt.]
She was a carpool driver, school-project-helper [single-handedly got me an A in Home-Ec], after-school-grilled-cheese-maker, and take-her-son-to-random-baseball-card-shops-in-search-of-Billy-Ripken-89-Fleer-baseball-cards-schlepper — good thing she never knew what was on those Billy Ripken cards.
Even the things she did for herself, she did for family.
I remember in high school when my mom went back to work briefly as a family therapist. She did it because she loved helping people and family meant everything to her. She even used the money she earned from her first client to buy me a walkman. Just because…
That’s the kind of person she was.
Just like your mom, she bragged about her children. My sister and I — we walked on water; to the point where I wanted to crawl under the table. Literally. I considered doing that when, at lunch, she would brag to the waitstaff about how great a lawyer her son is. But, like your mom, she didn’t do it to embarrass me. She did it, because she wanted everyone to know how proud she was of her family.
When I went to her apartment yesterday, I couldn’t bring myself to go in. Not yet, at least. For now, I want to keep my memories of her pristine. My dad was nice enough to collect some things for me. He recovered a bag full of items from her mantle. Lots of pictures. All of her family; none of my mom, unless, of course, we were in them too.
Because, that’s the kind of person she was. Not unlike your mom.
When you get home tonight, call your mom
for me just because. Next time you see her, give her a hug. Tell your mom that you love her.
I love my mom. I hope that wherever she is now, it’s somewhere that she can look down on us from time to time to smile and know just how much she meant to her family and that her family loves her very much.
I miss my mom.