The nurturing sun shines this morning in a way it hasn’t for weeks. White blooms cover trees like snow. I’m going through my morning routine with Eugene following along very intent on each task I do, and we are opening windows and letting the sun in to nurture my olive tree and air plants that reach loving arms toward the morning rays. My snake plant has tiny little babies beginning to emerge around her, and I plan on replanting a few for my son’s apartment, so he can experience birth, too.
The trees are alive with the sound of hungry baby birds, and the flitting of momma in and out carrying breakfast to her brood, and so one can only think of our moms or being moms or wishing we were moms and even missing our moms. It’s so very fitting that Mother’s Day is in May, just about the time when we can safely plant outdoor flowers here in “zone 5” and maybe only once or twice have to rush out at dusk to cover them to protect them from a late frost. Like a mother would cover her babies in the cool of the night.
Of course I’m thinking of my own mom who died on May 11, 2009, which was actually Mother’s Day night that had spilled over to the next day on the calendar. Again so fitting. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to Mother’s Day, I honestly just thought being a mom was gift enough, and it still is, but Mother’s day, since losing my own mom has taken on a significance of such great importance, because as my own heart aches at missing the sound of her voice, and the plans for her annual Thanksgiving trek up for our holiday together, I am overcome by thoughts that one day, someday, if the Lord will make the order so, my own children will be without their momma. Even now as I write, tears fall, and my throat is full, and I think the pain of losing her could drown me again, all these years later, but it doesn’t because quite frankly, she didn’t raise her “pretty daughter” to let grief and sorrow have the final say, and I haven’t raised my children that way either. Faith has the final say, and faith is where we will meet again.
My kids losing me was a new thought, and one I’d never dreamed of until the horrendous ache of loss filled me so much that I could not speak. I could not utter a single word for hours at a time or else, I truly believed I would have drowned from the tears inside me. Lest you think I was very close to my mom, you would be wrong. I loved her and she loved me, and we had a great connection later in her life — honest, real, and sweet. My mother and I had a tumultuous relationship after I became an adult. I pretty much did everything she didn’t want me to do, but the sweetness of forgiveness and acceptance on both our parts in her later years brought a tremendous healing to our hearts. Again, forgiveness. I can’t write enough about it. Letting go.
When we came to that place, my mom and me, nothing blocked our spirits from flowing in and out of each other, her love, her gratitude; my love, my gratitude. I loved calling and saying, “Hi Mom! This is your pretty daughter.” And she’d laugh because she thought we were all beautiful and would never discern differently, and I of course, know that I am not the prettiest, and so it was fun, and it started us on a loving note every time.
Towards the end memories began to stick like dust to the webs of dementia in her beautiful mind, and even still, when I’d call and say, “Hi Mom, this is your pretty daughter”, she’d always laugh and know it was me, even though I would become one of many people in the midst of our conversation, we had that moment where she knew exactly who had called.
What jarred me the most when I lost my mother, aside from the suddenness of it, was the realization that our mom prayed unceasingly for us kids, every moment of the day, I believe she prayed for one or all six of us, and each grandchild, and each in-law child, and suddenly, that feeling of connection to her was gone. Even in her most forgetful times, she could remember what we had discussed about son’s schooling the last time, or daughter’s latest news. I believe where memory lacked, faith carried on. And it continued to console us, and nurture us in a way only God can deem.
So, as I celebrate with my children and my husband and my mother-in-law, I will keep things light and joyful, and I will celebrate the present, and I will look toward the future, and I will continue to pray everyday for each of my children, and when they get married, their spouses and when they have children, their babies.
And in the morning, I will look for my mother’s face at the top of the hill on the path I walk with Eugene, where I see her at dawn, like she would be in heaven, hair blowing, smile stretched across her face, just waiting for her children to meet her there one day, in God’s time. Even me, her “pretty daughter.”