It was said in church today that Mother’s Day can be a very difficult time for some. It’s difficult for mothers who have lost babies or children. It’s difficult for anyone who no longer has their mother. It’s difficult for those who never had a good or loving relationship with their mom. You get the picture.
My mother died a little over five years ago from multiple cancers. Yes, this day is bittersweet for me. My mother was sick for about two years before she passed away. Despite having two years to prepare for her impending death, she never did (if it is possible for anyone to actually prepare for their own death). She made it quite clear that she wasn’t ready to go– wasn’t ready to leave this earth. She fought to stay alive as long as she could and she fought hard. Throughout those two years, I waited, I hoped and I prayed that like my father, she would reach some level of peace with her approaching death, but it didn’t happen. It was every bit as hard for her to go as it was for us to let her go.
I miss my mother. I hated going into her home, my childhood home that I loved, after she was gone. It was eerily silent and lonely. I never knew how much her presence filled that house until after she was gone. My mom and I didn’t have a perfect relationship. There is no perfect mother/daughter relationship. But we had two years to talk about things we probably would NOT have talked about had she not been dying. And for that I was grateful.
I wish I could say I had no regrets where my mother is concerned but I can’t. I often think about how much I regret not thanking my mother for the little things she did. Things I took for granted. I remember how she used to come to football games when I was in high school to watch me march in the marching band at halftime. She was always there. I could usually spot her up in the stands with her red jacket on. I remember one football game in particular where there came a torrential downpour right at halftime. Many of the spectators left the stadium and went running for cover. Not my mother. There she sat in the stands, huddled under an umbrella with her friend Margaret (who also had a daughter in the band). She stayed put throughout that entire downpour to see her daughter march. That was love.
Then there was the time I came home from high school one day (I was in the 10th grade) carrying a cage with two gerbils in it (given to me by my biology teacher). I had not asked my mother if I could have these gerbils (which by the way went from two gerbils to eight gerbils in two weeks time). My mother did not speak to me for several days after bringing that pair home. I think I can honestly say that was about the maddest I’ve ever seen her. And those gerbils proceeded to have a half-dozen babies once a month like clockwork. But my mother did get over it and it was this same woman who cried buckets and buckets of tears years later when the last member of that gerbil family passed on. Over the years she became very attached to them, helping me to name the babies, sneaking them an occasional piece of carrot, apple or a raisin, or providing them with a gentle scratch on the head. I guess I should have thanked her for not killing me the day I brought those critters home.
I also never thanked her for all the years and time she spent volunteering at my elementary school. With three daughters at the same school, not a year went by when she wasn’t a room mother. She also was active in PTA and volunteered in the school clinic. I never thanked her for that. It wasn’t until I was a mother myself and was also a room mother just about every single year that it really hit home with me and I understood why she did what she did. She did it out of love. That’s what moms do.
My parents didn’t have a lot of money but my mother always saw to it that my oldest sister took clarinet lessons, the middle sister took violin lessons, and I had my trumpet lessons. For many, many years, I took trumpet lessons that I know were not cheap. I didn’t realize it then, but I know now what a sacrifice it was for her. But again, she did it out of love. That’s what mother’s do.
It’s true what they say. Often it’s not the things we do in life that give us the most regrets. It’s the things we didn’t do. I hope someway, somehow, that my mother knows how very thankful I am to her for all those things she did for me while growing up. Things a selfish little girl took for granted. And I hope she knows how much I miss her and love her.
Happy Mother’s Day to all.