In this digital age, we don’t think much of taking a photo. Most of us could take out our phone right now and snap one. In the last couple of days as I was looking for photos of mom, I was struck by how few there were. This means two things to me:
- Don’t wait. Take the picture. You will be glad you did some day.
- There are many more pictures of things that mom did for us or with us than there are of her – birthday parties, holidays, trips, crafts, pets. She always made sure we had what we needed and then some. She always took care of us. She put everyone else ahead of herself.
I owe my mom more than I could ever express. I think that you don’t fully realize the sacrifices that a parent makes for their children until you, yourself, are a parent. Parenting requires selflessness. You want nothing more than for your children to excel and succeed, from their first steps on. Mom wanted this for Joe and I, and did everything in her power to make it happen, never complaining about what she was giving up in order to make that happen. She played with us when we were kids, drawing and coloring and playing games with us, helping us with whatever crazy project we wanted to undertake next. She has done this for my children as well, giving up the free time that retirement brings so that she could care for Kaely and Vidia while I worked. I never told her how very, very much I appreciate that. I will be forever grateful that my girls got to spend such great time with their grandparents. Not every kid gets one-on-one attention year round for their first four or five years. My girls are lucky. I am lucky.
What will I remember most about my mom?
Her patience. She rarely raised her voice. She didn’t get frustrated when we didn’t understand something. When she could see me start to lose my cool with my very strong willed first born, she would tell me “Patience, mama, patience.”
Mom was the only one who could buy makeup for me. She could pick out the exact shades that would look good on me when I wasn’t even in the store with her. I can’t even do that for myself.
It was the same with clothes and shoes – she had a knack for choosing just the right size, style, and color for me, even as my size and tastes changed.
Her memory – mom had a memory like an elephant. She could tell you the date she got her tonsils out as a kid and what she ate after. She remembered the birthdays of all her siblings and their spouses, and all her nieces and nephews.
I learned to be thoughtful from my mom. She was always doing a little something to make you feel special – a note or a sticker in my lunch box, a card mailed to our family post office box just so I would get my own mail, cards and mail at college even though I came home every weekend. A gift for me on my first mother’s day, a valentine every February. I try to continue these things with my kids, but I’m just not as good at it. I don’t have her memory either – maybe that’s the problem.
I don’t know how I’m going to raise my girls without my mom to talk to. We had some tense times when I was a young adult and was sure I knew everything, but we grew into friends as I got older. I am going to miss talking to her terribly. I already have a whole collection of mundane things I want to tell her, because that’s what we did in the afternoons when I picked the girls up from her house after work. I never imagined a time when I wouldn’t be able to do that. I expected her to be around to see the girls graduate from high school and college; get married. I hoped that she would be able to meet her great-grandchildren some day.
If I can be half the mother that she was, I will consider myself a success. I miss you, mom. We all do. We love you. I hope that you’re living it up with Annie again. Until we meet again.