Apologies for this being a day late for Mother’s Day. It was supposed to be up on another site that has been experiencing technical difficulties and so I decided to post it here, but waited until after the weekend.
Here is a remembrance that is a combo of my mother, my own mothering, and my imagination.
On this Mother’s Day, remember the woman who clipped the little piece of skin on the tip of your ear when she gave you your first haircut. Remember the woman who wiped the drip of nosebleed blood off her first published essay before she tended to your nosebleed. Remember the woman who made plenty of mistakes in the early years, continues to make them in the middle years, and will most certainly, unfortunately, never outgrow making them.
On this Mother’s Day, remember the woman who tried so hard to control your sleep. Remember the woman who cried and cajoled and urged you to fall asleep so she could get one minute alone. And then stood, worried and crying, over your crib while you slept, undone by the sweet way you raised your hands over your head like the champion she knew you would become, and already were. The one who reached around the car seat to shake your knees so you would stay awake while she drove home from the grocery store and the one who hung darkening curtains and looked into the efficacy of children’s Nyquil on interminable international airplane flights. Remember the woman who lost a good deal of sleep on your account – middle of the night feeds, late night slumber party monitoring, the woman who stayed awake until you walked through the front door, safe, home.
On this Mother’s Day remember the woman who cared so much about your hygiene that used her own pinkie nail to pick your boogers and shoved the tip of that torture-instrument the booger sucker way up into your nostrils. Remember the woman who licked the chocolate from your cheek and who scooped your little turds from the bathtub. The woman who made you brush and floss and shower at least once a week.
On this Mother’s day remember the woman who cried your first day of Kindergarten, your first day of high school, your first day of university. Remember the woman who cried when you nailed the dance recital routine and when you were the clarinet who sqwuaked from the front row, both times because she was proud. Remember the woman who gave up weekends to watch sports events and drama productions.
On this Mother’s Day remember the woman who doesn’t agree with all your new choices, political choices or career paths or the swear words that find their way into your essays once in a while. Remember the woman who, darn it all, still acts like she is your mother even though you are an adult now.
All this, from unintentional loss of bowel control during childbirth to highly intentional friending of your Facebook friends to gently corrective emails, deserves to be celebrated and honored and remembered. Your mother did it to give you life and she did it to spy on that life (er, I mean, to get to know the friends in your life) and she did it to challenge you to live a better life.
So today, I am remembering. Thank you mom, for picking my nose and sniffing, then cleaning, my stinky diapers. For forcing me to sleep and forcing me to stay awake, for making me eat vegetables and for baking chocolate chip cookies. Thank you for welcoming my friends and for pushing me to be better.
This Mother’s Day, I am remembering that, darn it all, now that I am an adult, I am finally able to recognize how deeply I need my mother. Even need her to still act like she is my mother.