My Mother…she is an amazing person.
There were four of us growing up. Now, with only one child, I wonder how she did it…how she managed to make us all feel like individuals, how we never felt lost in the crowd. Each of us was so different, and she managed to encourage that, help it grow. She didn’t put us all in matching outfits, even for Easter or family portraits. Even with their meager salary, she made sure we all got presents unique to ourselves; we were all allowed to pursue our different interests. And when you have one theatre kid, one football kid, one cheerleading kid, and one EVERYTHING kid…that can be a lot of events.
Every opening night I had, I got flowers. The first play I did after moving to Alaska, my ma mourned not being able to see it. When I decided to quit teaching kindergarten to go back to school for the ever-useful theatre degree, she supported me. When I had to drop out and work full time due to an unexpected pregnancy, she sent me maternity clothes and called me nearly every day.
When I had been in labour for hours on end, with a cervix that got to six centimeters and said, “hey, this looks like a nice place to stop,” she called me from the airport in the midst of the 20 hour trip to be by my side and said, “hey, I know you wanted to do this naturally, but babe, you need to get an epidural,” resulting in the most wonderful feeling of my entire life…RELIEF FROM FRICKIN’ CONTRACTIONS. And oh, yeah, the eventual birth of my glorious daughter.
Months before that, when they told me I had a high chance of cervical cancer and was being labeled a high-risk pregnancy, she cried with me across 3,000 miles of phone line. When the chance dwindled to nothing, she again cried with me, only this time with relief.
And only a few months ago, when I was on my way to the hospital, she calmed me down and told me she loved me. And then, hours later, when I called to tell her Max was gone, she cried with me again…she gave me the words of comfort that help me to this day: we don’t know the reasons why he was taken, but God does. This may seem a bit simple and trite to some of you, but it made me able to do the only thing that got me through: say, “Ok, God, he is in your hands now. You better take care of him.”
She is my comfort. When I am having a rough time, I imagine being enveloped in her hug. I remember sitting in her bed, watching the Food Network. I feel her hand on my head, caressing my hair. I smell her mix of Victoria’s Secret lotion and vanilla perfume. I hear her giggle – not the one she does politely, but the one where she cannot contain herself, and her eyes get big and her mouth gets tiny, and then she snorts. I inherited that laugh. I inherited her thighs, her arms, her chin, her shapely ankles, her smile, her sense of humor (fart jokes NEVER get old), her love of books, her compassion, her toes, her Gypsy heritage, her belief in eyeliner, her ears, her nose, her entertaining gene, and her ability to flirt her way into getting what you need.
Everyday, I look in the mirror and see more of her. And I am thankful.