Mom passed in 2005 and my brother, sister and I struggled with her loss while we cared for my dad in the years that followed. One year I had an idea.
Even though mom was gone, we decided to celebrate her on Mother’s Day. We met at her grave early that Sunday morning and brought eight roses. One for each of us, and one for each grandchild. Then we went to IHop (Mom loved the breakfasts there) and proceeded to tell “Mom stories.” I had asked my brother and sister to come prepared to share their favorite memory and so our celebration began over omelets and waffles.
“She was ruthless when she smelled a good jewelry sale!” remembered my brother who was close to her equal in the “getting a great deal” department. He went on to recount hilarious stories about our dear mother, dragging an oxygen tank, proud of her handicap sticker that got us “the good parking spaces” at the mall, and how she was a wizard at finding just the right outfit for any occasion. She often wore “theme jewelry” for the holidays and our kids loved it. My children still smile each Halloween when they remember her dangling skeleton earrings. We laughed till we cried as the funny memories filled our hearts.
“She was the perfect mother for me,” my sister started as she explained why she believed this to be true. She shared memories of support, encouragement and love that my brother and I hadn’t been aware of. “Wow,” I thought. Mom really was good at being who each of us needed her to be.
Although I had my own mom stories that day, I know now that Mom’s gift to me was to challenge me in ways I never appreciated when I was young. I didn’t always feel supported. I didn’t always feel loved. But I know now that those challenges were part of the path I needed to walk to grow into the person I am now. I know now, as an adult, that she did the best she could. We both were together to learn from each other.
I hope she knows how much I learned and how much I now appreciate those lessons. Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who was the perfect mom for me.