Mother’s Day without my mama

My mom set the bar high for mothers. She was that mom. The mom who always seemed to have it together. The mom who organized not only birthday parties with crafts but Easter parties, May parties (hey it’s May!) and invented the Valentine’s Day Chipmunk as yet another way to make holidays fun for us.

My mom sat and listened attentively to my stories, drove me to the moon and back looking for basketball jerseys and made dinner every night. (You realize how incredible this is once you have kids). She survived me as a teenager (for those who met me between the ages of 13 and 19 you will understand) and makes her a sort of parenting rock star. She was also a teacher, a friend, an emotional rock and really funny.

The other piece that makes this all so much more incredible is that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 13. My little sister was 6. Although she survived the breast cancer she did not survive when it came back as bone cancer. I was 25 when she died.

I remember the chemo, the radiation, the tears. I remember surgeries, mouth sores, vacuuming up the hair with the hand vac so she wouldn’t be upset when she saw it on the couch.

But I also remember her parenting throughout this whole thing. Being present. Being engaged. Wanting to be a part of our lives and cherishing her time with us.

My mom never got to be there when I got married. She never got to hold my babies or warn me about cluster feeding. But having  my mom for those 25  years made me a better parent.

You parent differently when you know you could get cancer at 40. You parent differently when you know that you may not always be able to go to that baseball game, spring concert or birthday party.

My mom was important to many people. People who 12 years later still hold a big space in their heart for her. But she was a mama to only two of us. Only two people in this whole world got to call her mom. Only two people got to snuggle next to her and see that smile reserved just for us. I am so glad I had 25 years of those things.

My mom passing away was not only hard. It was excruciating. I couldn’t see clearly through the fog for a long time. Years later though, I am able to look at the bright side of this very dark cloud.

When my mom died she left a huge hole.

A hole that will never be fully filled.

But I am my mother’s daughter. Annoyingly optimistic. I always look for the positives in just about everything. The silver lining to this big loss…..there was a space made for other people in my life to step in. So mother’s day feels so much more meaningful.

On Mother’s Day I remember my mom and the beautiful human she was….. but I am thankful for all those who stepped in to help fill a little piece of a big hole.

  • To my dad who tries so hard to be super dad and grandparent and is there at hospital appointments, hard days, easy days and everyday. Thanks for being that grandparent cheering at my kids concerts. Thanks for letting them win at Go Fish.
  • To my mother in law who is an incredible human being. Another super mom who has shared so much with me.  Thank you for the unconditional love.
  • To my mom’s best friends – thanks for calling. For still being in my life. For coffee and Christmas presents and beyond.
  • To my dad’s wife for being a great grandparent for my kiddos. For being lovely to me and for appreciating how hard my struggles are and for being an excellent Candyland player.
  • To my sister and my sister in law. You get me – thanks for texting at 3:00am
  • To my aunts and godmother who I get to see my mom through – share stories and feel at home. You are a 4 hour plane ride away but always there.
  • To all the mom friends and old friends and new friends. For helping to fill this hole with phone calls, hugs, Star Wars, mitten clips, laughter and board games!

Happy Mother’s Day.

xoxo

 

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