Even though I could not call you on Mothers Day as always, to tell you what a wonderful Mother you are and how fortunate I am to be your daughter, I thought about you a lot all throughout the day.
The truth is, I think about you and Dad a good part of my waking hours. There are triggers everywhere I look, in a lot of the things I do, hear, say and listen to, that remind me of the beautiful expression of your face, your laughter, your tears, your wittiness, your motherly scent. So, Mother’s day wasn’t all that different, it just had a different sentiment.
It has been just over 8 months since you left, and time hasn’t healed much, like the cliché phrase says. The kids miss you, I can tell, specially your granddaughter. I have found her crying softly at night in bed, after she says her prayers. Last time it happened, she said, almost angrily that even her grandparents’ house was demolished. “It is terrible”- she cried, saying that she would also miss the park across the street. Sometimes I forget that I am not the only person in this family that suffered a loss.
I have felt more stable lately, for lack of a better word. During these months that have passed I often go back in time in my head, re-living all the trips we did together, the long meals we sat for which were more about talking than eating, the excitement of seeing you every time I visited, the sickening heartache and your teary eyes and broken smile every time we parted, and I said goodbye to fly back home.
The lazy hours in bed late at night watching TV when you stroked my hair (on the same spot always, until you almost made a sore spot and I made fun of you) . I am fortunate to have many moments in time where I can go, and live it all over again. I don’t want to forget the details, so I find myself drilling down to the silliest details to almost engrave it in my mind like a photo album only for me to keep.
These last months, with Dad’s departure as well, have also changed my perspective of some aspects of life. I try not to focus so much on the children’s grades, but rather the quality of the time I spend with them. I like making them laugh, singing completely off tune and dancing how ever I want while I flip pancakes in the kitchen. That always gets them laughing. Their laughter feeds me, fills me, and I find myself realizing I am making THEIR own photo album for their little minds.
They have both become more affectionate, both with words and physically- maybe because they know I need it, maybe because they see that’s how I am with them their Dad, like a lifestyle.
When I am feeling a bit sad, I try to keep busy, reading, gardening or cooking crazy all in one day, which I later regret feeling too tired. The house work alone is enough to keep me busy, but I always find something else more fun to do, rather than do laundry.
Everyone at home has been so patient and flexible with me, with my swinging moods, with my spontaneous crying or super bad temper. This helps quite a bit. I don’t feel guilty, I feel understood.
I have also tried to focus more on doing things instead of buying things, and by this I mean going out more, on hikes, on walks, on short trips, to create precious memories while we still can. You taught me the great value in traveling, so I am trying to instill the same in my kids. To see it as education, as a life investment and not as an expense.
There was a list of things I wanted to buy or add to the house, and that list is slowing fading and loosing hierarchy in my mind. If find it liberating.
My health hasn’t been all that great, I feel like have aged 10 years in the last 3, which is also a reason why I am more encouraged to live now as best as I can, instead of planning so much for when this or that happens.
Time really is going by so fast; I feel like I am already losing the kids, a little bit every day, as they get older, they get a step farther away towards their own independence. Like sand falling through my fingers no matter how tight I hold my fist. And it hurts! It hurts a bit to remember when they were toddlers and asked for my hand for support to walk. When they needed help to eat, when I read them a 10 page book at night before tucking them in, whereas now, I knock on their doors before entering their rooms and often find myself fearing they will say “no, thanks” when I offer help with silly things.
As I think of this, I think about how it must’ve hurt to see all your 3 children leave not only the house, but our hometown. One by one, we all left Monterrey. And still, you always had a smile on your face for us and supporting cold-head to be on board with whatever plan we presented to you.
Last weekend I went to mass and saw all the families together celebrating Mother’s Day, and I imagined the brunches they must have had. Grandmas, Moms and daughters, nieces, uncles and aunts. Big, loving family feasts which I have always missed so much.
And I felt pain and guilt, and I thought: Why didn’t we give you and Dad your last 20 years of life with Sunday Family gatherings? With Mothers’ Day luncheons, with Grandma and Grandpa recitals at school? With celebrations of each one of your grandkids graduations, 1st communions, promotions?
Instead, you spent them mostly alone, Sundays alone, eating meals alone with no kids or grand kids close enough to visit often. And with your physical limitations, not so much freedom to travel and come see us.
Yes, it’s the expected cycle of life for most families, but the “what ifs” inundate my mind as I try to imagine how life would have been for you if we had all stayed and lived in the same city. Well, the “what ifs” can be a waste of time. What does comfort me is to know that my two siblings and I are happily married to 3 amazing persons who -in their own time and in their own way- learned to love and admire you almost as much as we did.
It comforts me to know that both of you left this world knowing how happy and grateful we are, how we carried into our own families the values you taught us; it comforts me to know we made you proud. Also, that you met every single one of your grandchildren and from a distance and through many precious visits, watched them grow as well.
I spent Mother’s Day feeling very special and pampered too. We went out for dinner the night before and then Brunch on Sunday. The kids gave me a hand made card each and I got a present as well: another lens for my camera to take close up pictures.
Wherever you are Mom, I know you are watching over us, I know we connect every time I think of you and ask for your guidance on motherly matters; when I am desperate for patience and wisdom, so I can instill discipline and respect in my children.
I hope I will keep making you and Dad proud as I mature into other stages of my life, not only as a Mom but as a sensible woman.
I love you Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.