Make a Wish

 

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I haven’t always known my mother’s birth date.  I’m sure my daddy thought about it as every September rolled around and she was not here to celebrate, but he rarely spoke of it.

 

About twenty years ago, Auntie Sue began calling me on my mother’s birthday, September 28.  She would call while I was getting ready for work, sometimes at 6:30 a.m.  “Hi honey,” she would say.  “I’m still sittin ugly, but I wanted to remember your mother on her special day.”  Then she would tell me a quick little story about her or just tell me something about her personality.  Most of the time we would laugh while she was telling her story, but we both knew our tears would flow as soon as we hung up.

 

As I’m prone to do, I imagine that I would have been a wonderful daughter.  I would have called, sent gifts and baked a cake.  I could imagine her eyes lighting up and us hugging as we both said, “I love you!”.

 

The truth is probably somewhere between my imagination and reality.  I might have been busy with my own life and children and only managed a phone call or card purchased hurriedly to make it on time.  I’ll never know how it might have been.

 

But today, I am wishing my mother a Happy Birthday.  Today, I am remembering a story Auntie Sue might have called to tell me.  I’m missing these two special ladies, but I’m happy they are together and celebrating within the Pearly Gates.  Who knows….they may be eating some heavenly delicious cake!  I hope so.

 

Happy Birthday Mom!

Enough

 

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I just knew there was a rule book for life that I did not read.  Guidelines for living that I never understood.  That’s exactly how it felt to grow up without a mother.  I felt everyone else knew the secrets to life, except me.

I was the perfect faker, the ultimate counterfeit girl, imitating others and impersonating the girls I read about in Seventeen magazine.  It was exhausting to be constantly watching others for cues as to what to say or do.

There are many of us walking on this earth, that for whatever reason, feel the same way.  I see the others now, and I know I was never really alone.  But today, when I notice someone who looks afraid or uncertain, I reach out to take their hand, literally or figuratively, so they can feel the warmth.

This life is too much for tender souls, but as we hold another’s  hand, we ourselves gain strength, and wisdom and safety.  We can feel safe and secure to be who we really are and know  that is enough.

We are enough.

Mothering Motherless

 

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Being a motherless mother has its own set of rules, fears and thought patterns.  I cannot speak for all motherless mothers, yet, what I’m about to say  will make perfect sense to them.

I used to have an idealistic vision of myself as a parent.  I was not prepared for this overwhelming feeling that I wanted my mother.  For me, because  my mother died when I was so young, I did not have a mature enough mindset to even begin to grieve her, until I became a mother.

As strange as it may seem, I felt blindsided with emotions and grief because all of a sudden I was stepping into ‘her’ realm, motherhood.  Which also meant, that something bad might happen.  It could happen to me and it could happen to my children.

I had an overshadowing feeling of fear.  I was afraid I was doing “it” all wrong, after all, I never even remembered being mothered, how could I know what to do?  I read Dr. Spock’s book, watched and asked my friends and constantly second guessed my ability to mother.  While this was happening, I was simultaneously severely over protective and fearful about everything.  Neurotic?  For sure.

These feelings would seem to settle down until a new phase of development would begin.  How do I know the right thing to do?  I couldn’t ask my mother and I needed her reassurance so much.  I kept telling my children that I loved them.  I wanted them to know, really know.  But, then the questions would start…what if they forgot? Or what if I died, would they be able to remember my words?  My voice?

Every since becoming a mother, I have had the stark realization that I could die at any time.  The year I turned 33 was the longest and most dreaded year of my  life.  My mother died when she was 33.  While I knew intellectually it (probably) would not happen, emotionally I waited for those 365 days to pass, so I would know for sure.

I have made it well past the age of 33 and now even both of my girls are past that age.  I’ve learned a lot about living from this fear of dying and I know in my heart, that my mother was giving me her love and assurance all along. I see it now and I can look back without staring, without blame.   I can forgive myself for some of those crazies and  breathe a little more deeply.

 

 

The Card by Nancy Malcolm

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I have very few things of my mother’s.  I know there wasn’t a lot but I also know my Daddy never wanted to let go of what he did save.  One of my most cherished possessions is a little birthday card my mother sent her mother in 1943.  Auntie Sue had found it in my Grandmother’s Bible and kept it all these years…for me.

This little card is sweet and simple.  She had written a letter and tucked it inside.  The letter was newsy and cheerful and mainly talked about her day.  When I first opened this precious card, I was struck instantly with tears and tenderness, for you see, this was the first time I had seen my mother’s handwriting.  I was mesmerized by the slant and curve of each graceful word.

“You’re the sweetest, best mother any girl could ever have.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have you.”  Love,  Sis

The blessings from this little card are profound and ongoing.  I now know her handwriting and have something she actually touched.  But, I also know how she felt about her own mother.  The love, respect and gratitude she expressed affects me deeply, and gives me more insight into her soul.

I would like to think that I would have written those same words to my mother if I had been given the chance.

“You’re the sweetest, best mother any girl could ever have.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have youl.”  Love, Nancy