09 May 2015

Some thoughts on mothers, my mom, my mom's mom, and Mothers' Day in general

Savvy Sue, a year and a half old.
My mom considered Savvy to be my first grandchild,
hence her great grandchild.  Mom made her a toddler
sized quilt, featuring a paper~doll with all the accessories.
My mom died five months ago, I miss her every day.  In about a hundred ways, I think of things to share, things to say, things to do, places to go, people I want to meet her, funny things to tell her about.  I miss her, her laughter, her hugs, her expressions, her mannerisms.  I want to show her this movie, or that afghan, or this video, or this cute picture of Savvy.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  I miss her with a sharp keenness that I've not yet felt that is slightly different than her absence til now.  There is a reason for the traditional mourning period of a year and a day.  That first year without someone is full of firsts.  It is the first holiday season, the first spring, the first spring, the first Mother's Day, the first flowering, the first harvest, the first set of birthdays, the first snow.

I have thought, within that first week of mom's death, "if I am having this much difficulty with mom's absence. what am I going to do if my husband dies before I do?"  How will I handle that?  How will I ever get to an ok place then?

My mom's mom died when mom was 30.  I asked her just this past year, 37 years after grandma died, if mom still misses her as much.  Does she think of her often?  Every day, she said, in some way.  Even if it is something simple and not complex, like, oh how she would have laughed about this or that.

Mom shared more stories about her mom and her own childhood, young adulthood, being newly married, a young mom, etc this past year than before.  She'd found boxes of pictures the year before that, in her move to Mississippi.  We would go thru some, in batches, one day and then perhaps a few weeks later, another batch with more stories.  We'd laugh over some things, and marvel about others.

Mom was 67 when she died.  Her mother, my grandma, was 64 when she died in 1977.  I'm 44.  Heavier than either of them ever were.  I'm not diabetic and insulin dependent as my mother was.  I don't have the co~morbid conditions that accompany diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides.  I had a stress test in September, because with heart disease being the cause of death for the two most direct women in my lineage, it was a good idea.  I'm fine, my heart is too.

That's not to say that I shouldn't be making changes and being more heart healthy.  I should.  Starting Tuesday, my husband and I will be picking up our share of the Community Supported Agriculture {CSA} in Lancaster Farms.  For sixteen weeks, we'll be bringing home fresh veggies ~~ whatever is in season and being harvested.  Eating better produce is a huge step in the right direction for us.

Mom would be glad to see that.  She'd also be glad to see that I will be resuming my water workouts.  Long time readers will remember my swim suittee years.  My stress levels are lower and she would be glad to see that.  She'd be glad to know that I'm treating myself some better, by encouraging my own creativity ~~ making afghans and playing with yarn.

But the main thrust of all this is not about making Mom proud, or happy, or pleased.  It's about me.  I'm the one who is here and still alive and still able to make those changes and still able to do new things or resume old hidden habits that were good to have.  And no good change ever comes about unless it is for the right reason, you do it for you, ultimately.

I love my mom.  She is a huge part of me, of who I am.  I sometimes sit with that, and feel the fullness of knowing her, of being her daughter, of being her friend.  At those moments, I weep for now, but eventually, I know that I'll wear that well and I'll both hear her laughter coming from my throat and also know that I am uniquely me as well ~~ for we are made of those who came before us and surround us now.

Happy Mother's Day for all you who are mothers yourselves, for you touch, mold, and shape lives in ways that you are not even aware of.  Some day down the road, you will have conversations with your adult children that will show you all that the things that they remember with clarity may be the moments you didn't assign any sort of importance.  Of course there will be shared memories wherein you both feel similarly.  Then too there will be memories that are viewed differently for all involved.  That is the nature of us as individuals, embrace that.

Happy Mother's Day to those of you who come into ready~made families that exist long before you ever arrived.  You may not have taken on any traditional role of mother, but you may be surprised to find that your partner's children and their children have certain views of you that place you in that motherly role...one of listening, loving, advising, and acceptance.

And for those of you who have lost your mothers, it's ok to miss her.  It's ok for tomorrow to be a bittersweet day of mixed memories and emotions.  It's ok to take a few moments just for you, to honor yourself as a child, with a mother of your own.

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