Leading up to and including today I have been a bit quiet. I've been quiet because internally I've been trying to figure out how to have Mother's Day since I don't have a mother any longer. My Mom, Joan, died suddenly on July 4, 2009. I have been reflecting on our relationship and mostly thinking about all the ways I didn't treat her right. I've been thinking about regrets and missed opportunities...about how unconditional love means accepting the good AND bad points of someone...about how I'd really like just one more day...one more half day even...to tell her how much I love her and how much I looked up to her, even when I was criticizing her or rolling my eyes at her in that "Oh, there goes Mom again" way.
Don't get me wrong...I did not have a BAD relationship with my Mom. We talked almost every day on the phone. Man, I miss that! She listened to everything, no matter how trivial the issue was...she listened. She knew I needed to get it off my chest. Blogging has somewhat filled that void for me. I can sit down and type it out. Toss in a little of my snarky humor and suddenly I feel a little better...not as good as talking to Mom for an hour, but therapeutic nonetheless.
My Mom was there for me when I had Drake and again when I delivered Avery. She was so awesome, especially when I had Drake. I worried that she'd be too helpful....you know, taking the baby from me, telling me what to do, offering advice whether I wanted it or not. As it turned out, taking my Mom home to Dad was upsetting for BOTH Jeff and I! She was awesome and we wanted to keep her forever! She cooked, cleaned, did laundry. She offered help with the baby only when asked...hell, sometimes I had to BEG her to weigh in with her opinion of what I should or should not do! It was so uncharacteristically her...but she stood back, helped with the household tasks, and let me learn how to be a Mom all on my own. Looking back on those few weeks today I think about Avery becoming a Mom someday. I hope and pray that I can be as absolutely invaluable to Avery as my Mom was to me upon the birth of my first child. She was simply awesome.
My Mom and I had a pretty typical relationship I think. We had some seriously rocky times. Teenage years were no fun for her, I can only imagine. I was a little bitch and I took out my frustration on her so many times. Thank God she never punched me in the mouth...when in fact I'm sure she wanted to and I would've totally deserved it! In my 20's I started to realize that she really wasn't all that bad! She actually knew a thing or two and wasn't horrible to hang out with. She talked me through some cooking disasters and helped me out with recipes over the phone on several occasions. She taught so much by example. It makes me wonder what my kids are picking up from me...ugh...probably better to NOT think about that right now!
My family is a verbal family...we're also huggers. We always say "I Love You". I really hope she knew how much I loved her. The past year had been a bit rocky. I had been pretty vocal about my lack of love for her love of vodka. She was pretty vocal about not really caring for my opinion on the topic. That disagreement hung over us like a black cloud for many months. At the time I felt like I loved her enough to draw my line in the sand and that she loved me enough to stop and come on over to my side again. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way and from then on every time I saw her have even one drink I got stressed out. Looking back now I feel like it was silly for me to waste so much time on something I should've KNOWN I would have no control over. Control what YOU can control, I heard recently. So very true. I couldn't control whether or not she had another drink, but I sure could've controlled my reaction to her drinking. Hindsight is 20/20. I hope she knew that I loved her way more than a silly argument and that I'd give anything to have her back, even if just for one more day.
I think about my kids and her and so many emotions stir around. Drake will remember her, without a doubt. She loved both of my kids like mad, but Drake was special for her...she loved him from the minute Jeff and I called to say we were having a baby! He will remember her and remember specific things they did. That's a great thing. Avery, on the other hand, I'm afraid will forget her. Just the other day Avery said to me "Hey Mom, remember the grandma that used to be at Patch's house....what happened to her?". Aves calls my Dad "Patch". Her question about broke my heart....she remembers her now, but what about as time passes....will she remember? Maybe not. That makes me so sad. I'll have to do what I can to keep her memory alive in Avery and Drake. I want them to remember how incredibly much she loved them and how much happiness they brought to her life.
Last year at this time our region suffered a horrible storm. After spending one night with no power Jeff and I decided to load up the kids and drive up to see my folks...we figured we would be without power for a while so we'd just take off. We got up there Saturday of Mother's Day weekend. My brother John and his family were there, as was Amber and her crew. We spent a fun weekend, but after getting the call from a neighbor that our power was back on, Jeff and I decided that we'd head home on Sunday and begin the cleanup. My Mom was so bummed...she was counting on us staying for half of the week at least! She was so sad, yet the only thing I could think of was to get back home and start cleaning up. How stupid! One more day wouldn't have made much difference with the house, but it would've been one more day with her. There I go with that awesome hindsight again.
We went for breakfast at the fire station. That's what she wanted to do, so we went there. We drove separately so that we could get on the road right after eating. I remember how sad her face was that morning as we stood on the sidewalk saying our "Goodbyes". I remember being a little irritated with her for trying to guilt us into staying. Didn't she know how busy we were going to be...we NEEDED to get home. I hope she knew that we weren't rushing away from her but rushing back to a big mess that had to be dealt with. If given the chance now I'd stay Sunday...and probably even Monday and Tuesday too.
I wish I would've gotten there on July 4th before she slipped away. I wish I could've looked her in the eyes one more time and tell her THANKS. Tell her that even when I was mad at her, I still loved her....tell her that I learned so much from her and that now when I do something and it reminds me of her I smile...because a part of her is living on in me. I miss her so much and there is a huge hole in my heart. At 37 I was too young to lose my Mom, but then I think I'd probably say the same at 47, 57, and even 67!
To anyone reading this, if your Mom is alive, please take a minute to tell her that you love her and tell her that even if you don't agree on everything it doesn't mean that you love her any less. Tell her the things she's taught you and tell her how even some stuff that you thought irritating now make you smile when you find yourself doing the same thing! Tell her that you love her and that you're sorry for hurting her in the past.
I hope there's really a Heaven, and I hope that my Mom meets up with Schuyler on occasion and looks in on us. I hope they both know that they are missed and loved each and every day. I hope they can see that we're all doing the best we can, which some days isn't really all that good. I hope they can see us, even stand by us at times. I hope they see the happy days and the bad days...not to make them sad, but to remind them that their absence has left an irreparable hole in our family fabric. I hope she knows that she left behind 4 "kids" that think of her every day and think that she did a pretty damned good job of being our Mom.