I’ve been missing Mom more than usual recently. Reaching more often for the Star(la)bucks mug she gave me almost 20 years ago, hearing more often her chuckle in the back of my mind, seeing more often her crooked grin and chocolate-colored eyes mirrored in mine.
I think it’s because I never got the chance to show her “my” city, never got the chance to take the most grown-up me she never knew and say “Look, Mom! Look what delights we have here!”
It’s been long enough now (almost 2 years) that I’m forgetting the stresses of her failing health, the frustrations of her inattention, the gaps in her understanding of the things most important to me.
It’s been long enough now that I’m remembering mostly the thread of connection we DID have.
The way she and I both love a long brisk walk (she preferred malls, I prefer nature).
The way she and I both drop everything for coffee and a fresh baked good.
The way she and I both give in so easily to delight.
The way she and I both find healing, solace, and connection in the written word.
The way we both enjoy getting into (good-natured) mischief, playing hard with life and seeing how much we can get away with.
The way we both love silver rings (and the only one she wore was the guilty pleasure $20 band I bought her in place of the wedding band she never had. No jewelry… it was a Mennonite thing).
The way she and I both love beauty (even though I think she didn’t know quite how to feel it).
They say one of the most life-changing events in a woman’s life is the death of her mother. I think I didn’t really GET that til recently, when I realized (with the wise insight of my wife) how much I wanted to show Mom our new home — even though I had long ago stopped sharing much of my life with her.
I think no matter what age we are, there’s a part in each of us (whether we know our mother or not, whether our Mom is still alive or not) that still needs to be able to say “Look, Mom! Look what I did!“ and see her look proudly at us, smiling deeply, and with shining eyes say, “Yes, you sure did, my dear. You sure did.”
But since Mom’s not (physically) here (and honestly, she wasn’t one to directly express her pride in me), I settle for a different experience — this one exquisitely ordinary:
As I pour creamer into my coffee each morning, I picture the two of us peering like mad scientists into the mug, grinning gleefully and saying “yep, that’s just about the perfect color” … me knowing Mom’s perfect blend is a little deeper brown, and Mom knowing mine is a little lighter.
I wonder if she’s noticed that recently I’ve been drinking mine darker…