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Personal Post | Happy Birthday, Mom

Interrupting the regularly scheduled wedding-related programming for a personal post… mostly for myself so I can look back on my thoughts 🙂

My mom’s birthday was on the 20th – a few days ago. She would have been 69 and we are almost at the 10 year mark for losing her to cancer.

I simultaneously feel like it was yesterday and at the same time feel like is was much much longer. There is such a separation of time from all of my lasts with her- the last time I held her hand, the last time I hugged her, the last time I heard her voice on the phone, the last time I yanked her floppy elbow skin because it was something she hated and I absolutely loved as a kid. All of my memories feel so far away- the lines are blurred, the shapes I can’t quite makeout, and the voices muffled – as if I am seeing my own memories through an old antenna tv with snowy reception but its your favorite show and you know the script so well that you just fill in the blurry parts with lines you know by heart.

But the funny thing is that there are still firsts that come and surprise me about once every year. The first year without her, my dads kitten he adopted to give him more company at home knocked over the christmas tree … like completely thrashed into and toppled a large tree to the ground in such a comical way that it was equal parts sad and hilarious as we swept up the broken ornaments. Or the first time she came to me in a dream where we simply sat in a coffee shop drinking lattes and catching up – which has happened a few times since. Or the time when I tried for almost two years to remember the words to the lullaby she used to sing to me as a child so I could sing it to my own children – and after my memory failing me and fruitless google searching yielding some less than child appropriate results…. I found a handwritten copy of the lyrics of the exact song in a baby book of mine which she had carefully written out.

There’s just so much that has changed in these almost-ten-years, and I think in a way I feel even more connected to her in my current place in life. The understanding that motherhood brings to you about your appreciation for your own mother is something I can’t really explain – but I am reminded of her daily as I see her in my two little one’s sweet faces and think of her as I navigate the chaos- knowing that she went through all of the same for me and my sister and that she has influenced how I raise my children and that they will forever have her mark left on them as well makes me feel more joy than sorrow when I think of her. The pain of missing her and not having her present to meet my children, give her a hug, and bring her her favorite cup of coffee among so many other things I want to share with her doesn’t ever really go away, but I have felt an odd sense of comfort in the new ways in which I feel her presence these last 4 years I have been a mother.

Things I will never forget about my mama (really just a brief 2 minute brainstorming which isn’t event the tip of the iceberg of treasured simple memories):

1) Her hands. How they looked, felt, and how her touch on my arm felt.

2) How she would dance with me and repeat the same 3 dance moves over and over with a wide open mouthes silly smile until I was too tired to keep going

3) Her elbow skin…. so weird.. but you guys, her weenus was so very squishy and she HATED it.. so as a kid of course it was my favorite way to annoy her)

4) Her hoarder-like love for teddy bears

5) Her singing voice

6) Her laugh as she flew down a steep hillside in a sled in the snow and laughed so hard she couldnt stand up at the end

7) The way her voice sounded when she ordered a chocolate gelato on our trip to Italy

8) The feeling of holding her hand as she walked me home from preschool and how much I loved her when she would take off my shoes and get me a snack after we were home

9) How when she was in the emergency room for a fall during a seizure from the cancer, she tried to ask my dad to get ME a granola bar out of her purse because she thought I would need to eat dinner

10) How funny I thought all of her 90’s mom things were – how funny she looked coloring her own hair in our bathroom, her Joannie Greggans exercise tapes every morning, and her hot rollers and shoulder pads

11) How much she gave the best hugs which were a little bit hug and a lot dancing and patting

12) The time we just couldn’t shove that damn sleeping bag into its bag and couldn’t stop laughing

13) How she always made us feel loved, special, heard, and important

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(And to any of my clients who are reading this who are planning your weddings without a loved one you wish were able to be present – just know I understand what you are going through and am here for you)

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