A mother’s love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking. ~Helen Rice
“But I don’t want to play with her.” With arms folded I stomp my foot and glare at her.
“I don’t care if you want to or not. She doesn’t have a mother, and you WILL be nice to her.” Her eyes drill right through mine with the same defiance I inherited from her.
“I can be nice to her at school. I don’t want to play at her house.”
“You will be nice to her at school and at her house.” Her eyes never falter while mine bounce from my dirtied white tennis shoes to her cold blue eyes and to the horse and hounds picture above the mantle.
“But she plays with stupid baby dolls. Not Barbie dolls.”
“You can take Barbies to her house.”
“She doesn’t like those kinds of dolls. She only likes baby doll stuff.”
“It won’t kill you to play baby dolls this once.”
“But her nose is always snotting all over her face, and she gets all red and crusty. And she threw up on the bus once. It was really gross.”
“You will play with her tomorrow whether you want to or not.”
I am already well aware my mother’s mother died when she was two, so I am not surprised when she adds the famous line I know not to cross. “You don’t know how lucky you are to have a mother.” I want to retort that I bet her mother would never have made her play with kids she didn’t like, but I know I’ve lost the battle. Then I remember there is a sandbox in Lucy’s (not her real name) yard and figure maybe it won’t be so bad after all.
“No you’re not going to her house for the weekend.” She says this from behind the paper grocery sack she is unloading.
“Why not?” I only want to stay with my friend for the weekend. They actually go places and do things. Here I am stuck with three static television channels and no telephone. Oh, and my mother for company.
“Because I said so that’s why!” The tone is sharp and I know better than to push her buttons, but I do it anyway.
“That’s not a reason.”
“You’re not going and leaving me here all alone. You’re staying and that’s final.”
“That’s not my problem. You’re just mean.” I slam the door of the kitchen cabinet as hard as I can just as her hand slaps my cheek.
“You treat me like a dog. You don’t know how lucky you are to have a mother.” I run to my room crying, not because the slap hurt but because I can’t believe she dared to strike me. I lock my door and think about how sorry she’d feel if I ran away from home.
I am a married woman with a toddler and an infant. I live almost four hours from my mother, and I miss having her close by. I call my mother often asking for advice. I KNOW I am lucky to have a mother.
My parents celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They renew their vows. I think of how sad it must have been for her not to have had her mother with her on her wedding day. Her father was there for all of her important times in life, and though I don’t ask her I wonder if she is missing him today.
I KNOW I am lucky to still have both parents. I KNOW I am lucky to have had them both as my parents.
My parents celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary. We have family portraits taken, both parents and all six grown children. We joke and laugh among us and smile for the camera. We enjoy the party. We have no idea it is the last family photograph. We don’t know our parents and all six of their children will never gather together again. I am lucky to have my parents and my siblings, but I am so busy greeting and mingling with guests I don’t take time to tell them.
The phone rings, and it’s my mother. She can hardly speak. She chokes and stammers through tears and gasps. “Your brother has cancer. It’s terminal. He might only have a month.” I feel like I’ve been socked in the stomach. I’m at a loss for words. I’m trying to find hope where I see none.
Cancer steals my brother quickly. Though we each get to say our goodbyes we are unable to meet as a family until we send him on his final farewell.
Tears flow as we are all hurting and dealing in our own way. I can’t imagine the pain my parents must feel in losing their son.
Though we’ve had our ups and downs, I know we have been blessed as a family. I know we mustn’t take one another or life for granted.
Mother’s Day is only a few days a way. I know being a mother is the single most important thing I’ve done in my life. I am thankful for having had a mother and for being one. Yes, I know how lucky I am to have a mother and to be one. I can’t imagine having had to grow up without her…again she was right; back then I didn’t know how lucky I was.
“As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.” ~Kristin Hannah, Summer Island
Spin Cycle: Mother
Living in the Gap
May 11, 2012 – Scents and Sensibility
The sweet smell of clover envelopes me as I run over the weeds with the lawn mower. Their tiny little crowns of fluff crumble and disappear into blades of lush green. Occasionally the sharp odor of gasoline overrides the clover aroma. The scraggly lawn quickly takes form as the fresh scent of cut grass fills the air.