My mom was cool. You would’ve loved her and likewise she would have loved each of you. She was good at loving. She seemed to have an abundance of love and patience – probably just like your mom. I remember her for those traits. It seems to me that she was always able to take the necessary time to make you feel a little bit better – probably just like your mom.
I think of her often. My memories are not a result of anniversaries or special occasions. Nope. Oh sure, don’t for one second think that I don’t remember exactly where I was and what happened over that weekend when she went to be with the Lord. Her birthday doesn’t sneak past me either. Yet, what triggers the most thoughts of my mom usually comes from some sort of weird déjà vu thing. Certain smells, a word, a tone of voice, a circumstance, and I immediately hearken back to mom and the pleasant, peaceful memories that accompany my every thought of her.
I had one of those déjà vu moments this past weekend. It was overcast and ominous. There was a smell of rain in the air that triggered the memory of a particular fall morning over 30 years ago. One of my favorite “mom” stories encapsulates her strength, her humor, her unselfish love and her forgiveness.
I was in high school and because I had discovered girls, my brains were pretty much “mush.” I was picking up my buddy Randy for school about a half-mile away from home and my car wouldn’t start. I drove a ’61 Ford Falcon. It was basically a hot dog bun on wheels. It was green, had vacuum windshield wipers, a tube radio and had “baby moon” hub caps. I bought it for $400 in 1975. I got taken – unless you consider the “baby moons,” then I stole it from the guy.
After 30 minutes of me and Randy walking around the car crawling under it, looking under the hood and fiddlin’ with the visible parts of the engine, we decided to call my mom to come and get us and take us to school. What else do you do when life gets tough? You call your mom – it’s the thing to do!
By this time, mom was already sick, taking chemotherapy and regularly sporting the light blue scarf over her balding head. Randy and I were already late when she arrived at his house. Mom got out of her car, and carefully walked across the thick gravel that doubled as Randy’s driveway. She was in her house coat and slippers. Mom opened the car door and sat down only long enough to put my car in park and start it.
I really don’t remember what happened next. Mom probably kissed me good-bye, smiled and gave us a wave. I wish I remembered the details, but I don’t. Putting time between memories has a way of erasing the specifics. I do remember this though…mom never got mad at me; never made fun of me; nor did she act as if it was a big deal. Thirty-five years later, the void in my life left by her absence tells me that it was (in fact) a big deal. I know now that all my time with her was (in fact) a very, very big deal.
This coming Mother’s Day, tell your mom how much you love her.