Belated Mother’s Day 2014

Mom

Mom died in 2006. September 8th; or was it the 9th? She was either 76 or 78. I am number challenged–please don’t judge. She was great with numbers and dates. Every time a monumental event happened she’d focused in on that date and the exact time so each month that came and went was another weighted reminder of extreme sadness or a mini celebration of a great memory. Deaths and vacations come to mind.

Numbers slip quickly from my head,  tumble out my ears, bounce once off my shoulder where they are snatched up by the past and hidden in moss covered hollow  tree trunks. This is and was my number-driven life, always with a perplexed number-loving mother saying “I just don’t understand why you can’t do this multiplication.” I was a digit disappointment. My brother, five years younger than me, could do them even though I stayed after school every day of third grade trying to memorize the damn things.

Approval. I lived for approval from my beautiful mother. I married, had two great and sometimes challenging  children that mom totally adored. According to their grandparents, my kids took after them with their positive qualities. We as parents had nothing to do with that. The stubbornness and lackadaisical qualities were owned by us. Grandparent’s privilege.

Mom had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis around 2004 or 2005 and had been declining slowly. I visited her on Mother’s Day, 2006 and noticed a dramatic change. We were always “of good stock” which meant we were short and chunky with thick wrists and ankles. There’s nothing dainty about us. Me, mom and my aunt. Cookie cutter stock. But that Mother’s Day she was sitting in her chair, feet up on the seat with her arms wrapped around her knees, folded up like an accordion. I was stunned by what was missing of her. “I’ve always wanted to sit like this. Don’t you wish you could do this?” She smiled while her oxygen hissed into her perfect and favored nose. I held onto my stubborn stocky self. “No. Not really.”

I could have been nicer. I regret I wasn’t.

In August, three weeks before she died, we talked on the phone and she reminded me that she was going to die from this terrible disease. I tried to downplay that whole ugly and too real end. Then she said something to me which convicted her statement. My kids were now in their thirties and my mom said something I’d needed to hear for a long time. “You’ve been a good mother.”

Approval

Thanks, Mom.

So were you.

12 thoughts on “Belated Mother’s Day 2014

  1. I think all of us daughters hope for and seek approval from our mothers, but really all you need to validate your good mother hood is to look at your kids. They love you and are good kids. You are a good mother.

    1. Hey, Wendy. I hope this piece doesn’t come across as me whining for approval from my readers. I know there are some of us who didn’t have the relationship we’d hoped for with our mom and I’m still working it out. My mom was a very loving wife, mother and Nanny. She had hang-ups from her childhood. Guess I inherited that. 🙂 thanks for the nice words. I appreciate them. Susie

  2. Greetings Susie: Good piece. Maybe this has been the case all along but I think your writing continues to improve and is quite good….”I was a digital disappointment”…”Numbers slip quickly from my head, tumble out my ears, bounce once off my shoulder where they are snatched up by the past and hidden in moss covered hollow tree trunks.”…Nicely done. Take care

    1. Thank you Chris. It might be the late bloomer in me and the feeling- comfy-in-my-skin time of life. God whispers in my ear, too. It’s been a pretty cool experience. I appreciate your words of encouragement. Thanks again.

  3. Susie, That was beautifully said and sometimes so true for many others. I am so very glad you finally did get the approval you had always wanted and that, my friend, you will always cherish.

    1. Thanks so much, Connie, and you’re right-I do cherish those words. It must have been an epiphany she had when she knew her time was running out. I am grateful to Mom for that, especially. It was a selfless act of love. Thanks again for the nice words.

  4. Susie, Loved the feeling this left me with. I very seldom think of my mom, she died in 88.
    I believe she smiled lots when you helped me connect with her today. You are the best, hugs, Jacqui

  5. Beautifully written, Susie! You are a great mom and your children have proven that. I’m glad your Mom finally validated this. We all need reassurance that we are good mothers because being a mother is the most important and hardest job there is.

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