Thursday, May 19, 2011

Honoring My Mother

Since May honors mothers, my mom has been in the forefront of my thoughts recently. Of course, it might also be the fact that she’s visiting us right now from good old California!

Until we moved out here from the west coast, Mom had been part of my twin’s lives on a weekly basis, and it’s been really tough having to adjust to jumpy web chat sessions and phone calls laced with static and dropped words. I just…really missed her. I was so relieved to find that my kids jumped right back into cuddle mode in Mom’s arms as if they’d never left. Even though she was prepared for it, I know how much it would have hurt Mom to face tiny people who wanted her to maintain a safe distance. Seeing Noah and Grace snuggle in and read board books with Mom brought me back to my own childhood, especially when I caught them showing off their new toddler skills and running at top speed with the latest empty Amazon box jammed down over their eyes. 

I remember Mom as a scent, a voice, a blurred and comforting figure out of the corner of my own toddler-aged eyes. She became my most treasured friend and confidant as I grew older, my teacher in all that was important in life and everything else as well. Oh, and she had the best, most amazing stories that made me want to stay up way past my bedtime begging for “just one more!”

I also remember her as the obstacle to my teenage happiness with a boy, an annoying fly in my ointment, an oddly dressed embarrassment as I tried to find acceptance with my peers. Mom shape-shifted over the years from someone I trusted implicitly to the one person I revealed nothing to in fear that she’d penetrate the façade I’d built around myself.

As I reached adulthood, a new side emerged in my mom. A fragility was there I’d never noticed, and she became someone I had to protect at all costs from the stresses of the world and the traitorous nature of her own body. A rare blood disorder gained a firm foothold after her stroke, and heaped on other illnesses: Fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue. After I’d moved home to help her during a time when I thought I was losing her I noticed again what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom was unsinkable. Her faith remained steadfast no matter how the storm raged above and around, and I became confidant that she would emerge yet stronger on the other side of her journey.

Mom has done just this, and now, seeing my little ones swarming her as she entrances them with stories and lets them go wild with crayons, I can see myself in them and in her in some sort of bizarre time-lapse evolution of motherhood. So much of Mom took root in me, and I hope that by tending my children’s hearts, my love will bloom in them and help them achieve every good gift in store for them.

Happy Mother’s Life!


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