Life is filled with firsts, and they usually pack a wallop.
First kiss. Oh, boy, that first kiss is a doozy. So much uncertainty and confusion wrapped up in an explosion of feelings and fireworks. So much opportunity for bumping noses and awkward misses. So much anxiety about bad breath and whether they like you back and if you’re any good at kissing at all. It’s one of those rites of passage…there’s nothing quite like the first first kiss.
No one’s ever prepared to lose their mother. Intellectually I understand nobody lives forever, but it’s one thing to know death is inevitable and another thing entirely to find myself walking the earth without the woman who’s loved me my whole life. It’s a permanent shift in the universe.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned in 365 days without my mom.
Celebrations are powerful, especially for children. They don’t understand I’m not really up for Christmas this year or let’s just let this birthday pass quietly. They understand the inherent joy in special days, and they’re drawn to reveling in them. They’re children, after all, even after they’ve morphed into bigger bodies, and if we’re lucky they haven’t lost the magic in marking milestones with joy.
Which has made this past year somewhat difficult for me.
For such a spunky gal (yep, I said spunky), I sure did spend a lot of time blending into the background. Not making waves, not jumping into confrontations, keeping my mouth shut even when something made me feel weird.
Camouflage was a survival skill, one that I carefully honed over the years.
In dedication to anyone whose mother has passed on.
I love you. Those three words don’t seem nearly enough to speak what’s in my heart, but they’re all I have so they’ll have to do.
This really has been a hell of a year, if you don’t mind my saying so. There’ve been days when I’m wrecked, and then there are days when life just keeps on rolling and I almost forget that you’re gone. People tell me this is normal but it still feels like a betrayal of your memory, like every wisp of you has been carried away on the wind while I stand enjoying the sunshine. I try to remember that you enjoyed the sunshine, too, and would want my face turned toward the sky.
Sometimes the weeping comes, but it’s all twisted up in too many things to sort out. I miss holding your hand, but the memory of you fighting the Parkinson’s hurts. There are things I want to tell you, but then I’m furious because I know even if you were still here we would be struggling to communicate. I’m heartbroken that you aren’t with me as my kids grow up…that I can’t call for advice or cry on your shoulder…that they aren’t able to tell you about their lives.
But I’m not crying just because you’re gone; I cry because we lost you several years ago, and I miss my mom. I miss the woman who could have played a game with my kids or listened to their stories. I miss the woman who would have laughed at Bear’s antics and told me what it was like to raise me through the tween years. I miss the woman who loved reading as much as I did, who enjoyed discovering new authors and getting books on her birthday. I miss you.
We’ll be thinking about you a lot today. It’s no mistake that our first year without you actually falls on Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for every moment I had with you, mom, and I’m grateful that I’ll be surrounded by family as we mark what would have been your 80th birthday.
Hope you’re having an extra slice of pumpkin pie up there today.
We may have dragged ourselves across the finish line, clawing our way through the last few weeks of assignments and activities, but we have by golly reached the end of this school year. Desks have been emptied, library books returned, and report cards passed out.
The kids have survived the last bus ride home, unpacked their last backpack, and sprinted into the warm summer day to play. Unbridled joy has descended once again upon the household.
Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord and pass the pudding.
A blast from the archives – here’s last year’s Gotcha Day post about the day T-man came home. It was what one might call eventful, and not for just the obvious reason.
“After leaving the agency with T-man, we realized we were pretty darn unprepared at home. That would be how we found ourselves stopping at Babies ‘R Us on the drive back…BrightSide, me, and a baby that needed, well, everything.
We walked through those doors into what was essentially a foreign land. After settling T-man into the shopping cart’s seat (we were old school – aka unprepared – no protective germ covers for him) we stopped the first employee we saw and then looked at each other, unsure what to do next. But we needed serious help and knew being direct would be the fastest way to get it, so we told her we’d just picked up our son with basically a crib, car seat, and high chair to our names. The only thing we knew for sure was the diaper size and special formula he needed – everything else was a mystery.”