I think it’s been a little over a week since I’ve written a blog. Actually this is my first blog this month. Being a motherless daughter sucks. This time of year double sucks. And for me it sucks the most. Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 75. Her birthday always falls on or around Mother’s Day every year. Since I lost my mom nearly 22 months ago (yes..i’m counting), I have an utter dread to this time of month. Time will never make it easier. The longer I know she’s gone, the longer I know it’s been since I have touched her hands and hugged her neck. I miss her something awful. While you see a smile, I feel the pain.
I must share one of my absolute favorite memories about my mom.
Not all parents realize how important it is to be at their children’s events. One thing many didn’t know about my mom was she never had her driver’s license. She was always taking care of family even in her younger years that she never learned. When my dad tried to teach her, Mom was older and just too nervous to try. She was a walker though. She trekked many miles in Henderson going to where we she needed to be.
On top of not driving, let’s not forget we were poor. She had to walk as we couldn’t afford for her to take a cab everywhere. I rode the bus to school every day. I hear parents talk about driving their kids to and from school every day. Not me. I had to walk a half mile (no exaggeration) to a communal bus stop. Otherwise I didn’t get to school.
In second grade, we were doing a program for the school. Unfortunately, it was during the day. My mom always wanted to come to all of my programs. In the evenings my dad would bring her. However, during the day there was just no way. Mom would walk to her parents to cook meals for them…three times a day. That’s how compassionate my mom was. Taking care of family was priority. I understood.
I knew my mom could not be there. In this program, I even had a speaking part. I was so sad knowing I wouldn’t have anyone there to see me. All of my friends in Ms. Davis’ class had their parents coming. I understood that Daddy had to work. Moma couldn’t drive. She couldn’t walk to my school because it was off of a highway. I knew she didn’t have money for a cab. As sad as I was to not have anyone there, at only 7 years old, I understood. I didn’t throw any kind of a tantrum because I understood.
My class got in position in our little school gym. The rest of the grades were sitting in the floor waiting for us to start. I remember there was a microphone set up on both sides of our group.
It was my time to speak. I felt a tug in my heart as I stepped out of my group and walked to the microphone. I remember that gymnasium in school. I remember where I was standing with my class. I remember we had tables that pulled out from the walls to eat our lunches on. I remember at the opposite side of where I was standing in that gym is where we walked through the line to get our lunch tray. I remember where we took our tray to the dishwasher. There was a short wall from the exit lunch line to the dishwasher area.
As I started to do my speaking part, I looked out. Tucked in that short wall in the back was my mom. As I write this, I can feel the tears. My mom quickly left after the program as she had to rush to her parents for their lunch meal. I remember walking back to join my class with so much pride. That’s my mom back there. I knew in my heart she had to make a sacrifice to be there. I even wondered how she got the money to take a cab because there was no way she could have walked on the highway. At only 7, I was mature for my age and understood the sacrifices.
I learned later that evening she borrowed money for a cab. $3 was a lot of money back then. Moma did it for me.
To this day 38 years later, I can still see and feel that moment. I can still see my mom standing against that back wall. I can still see the colors in the gym. I can still see when my eyes met my mom’s.
I don’t have any pictures of that time, but I have my memory. I have the tug in my heart.
Never for a second think it’s okay to miss a child’s moment in something they are doing thinking you’ll have another chance. I only had one small line in this program, but that small line was a big deal to me at only 7 years old. That small line meant something to my mom to make sure I knew she was there.
All I have are my memories. This is probably the most profound one I have of my mom. It’s easy for many to say, “Oh, she’s in a much better place. She sees everything you do now.” I’d give anything to see her in person again. And to touch her delicate hands. For Mother’s Day, hug your mom tight. Tell her you love her. Tell your stepmom the same thing. Stepmoms have an even harder job. Hug your grandmothers. Acknowledge them. Be a good parent and show up to your children’s events. Make sacrifices. Trust me…kids will remember the times you do (and don’t). I will never forget how I felt that day my mom showed up unexpectedly just for me.
Happy Birthday, Mom! I’ll never forget how you always made me feel so loved.