I take a minute to see of all the good in you, and it takes many minutes as one memory leads to another.
Minutes tick, memories come, and I know some of the most life- giving and life-serving moments you gave me, are the ones that I have no memory of.
I see Mom, young
The moments you spent with me as a babe, nursing & bathing. Whispering sweet nothings and singing melodies. I know you sang to me with that beautiful voice of yours, so beautiful that at one point in time you traveled and shared with others your melodic singing voice.
You have told me so many times that some of your favorite memories are of us as babes, on your hip. You would recount the memories and start to bounce, and I can picture it years before, Mother bouncing daughter on her hip. A mother's hip, the perfect perch, a shapely mold made for bouncing babies.
I grow, as do my 4 siblings, and Mother grows busy. I now am grown and have 3 of my own, and I, too, have grown busy. How oh Mom, did you do it with 5?
I know you sacrificed. I know you spent days serving. Constant mouths to feed and bills to pay and house to clean, laundry to fold. So many underlying worries that I was too young to understand.
You did her best and yet would say your best was not good enough. Don't we all, us Mothers, feel this way? I disagree, Mommy, I saw your best. What more can one do but their best?
I see Mom, sad.
The day wedding ring slipped & flew across the floor and disappeared forever in an air vent. You walked committed to a marriage, with a finger naked too many years. Oh if only I were older then and known better, I would find a way to get a ring right back on that finger. I would make you one if I had to, for I know this absent ring broke your heart and you longed for the symbol of completeness and commitment. These things matter to us women. I am now woman and I play with my own wedding ring as I pause from writing, thinking of your pain. I remember your beautiful ring, and those long elegant fingers, and I too, now mourn. I mourn for what became and how your heart broke when marriage broke and the pain nearly split you in half. I mourn that I was not able to comfort you in your pain, for broken marriages bring pain to whole families, and my own paralyzed, as did my age.
I see Mom, happy.
You sing silly. Do YOUR Ears Hang Low? Do They Wobble To & Fro? Can You Tie Them In A Knot, Can You Tie Them In a Bow? and How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? I hear your giggle, I see at times your child-like delight in the quirky details that to many walk through this life and miss. I see you embrace the part of yourself that is free spirit, I learn to let go of my control as I watch you delight in the free.
I see Mom, most loyal.
One of the most precious gifts you have shown to me is how to be loyal. You never speak ill of your children, especially from one of your children to another. You do not judge us. You are not a gossip. I know I can share with you and you will keep it to yourself.
I see Mom, forgiving.
In many ways, but one specific is we both know I can be so slow in returning phone calls. Your forbearance in this makes me want to call. I will show the same grace to my children, for I have learned from you.
I see Mom, scared yet strong.
You are a Mom who has had the dreaded phone call. "Your daughter has cancer." I so didn't want to tell you knowing the pain it would bring. You were there, watching as chemical chemo dripped, as nurses poke, as Oncologist joked about my heart rate "as fast as a train." You watched as I woke from one of many surgeries, high on morphine. You tell of how scared you were when I was not responsive, how eyes rolled back, an image that would scare any Mother. You are this image burden bearer.
You rejoiced with me in the mall when we got the call that scan was clear, you held my heart when I crumbled in the doctors office when we were told the second scan was not. It was you who I wanted to feed me ice as I woke up from mastectomy surgery. I think of how strong you had to be in that waiting room, as your daughter was getting cut on and cancer was getting cut out. I think of how beautiful and symbolic it is, when I lost my bosom, you offer me the comfort of yours in all your actions. You were there. You fed my family your famous sloppy joes, you helped me organize my basement which gave me the feeling of order and control when life was spinning. You put away all my Christmas decorations. You held my gross drains and helped me dress.
Your texts to me in the night were at times the only thing that could comfort when I was so scared and so sick. All Day All Night, Angels Watching Over Me the same song you would sing to me when bouncing bald babe on your hip, is the one that you text your now grown bald babe. "Angels are watching over you my sweet Amy" your text would read. Nights in a row I would get that same text and comfort came from you to me and I would drift off with angels watching.
One of my most favorite cancer memories was with you, when I took off my scarf to show you my shaved, bald head. I moved slowly, thought you would break down. Instead, a twinkle in your eye, then a grunt as you tried to hold in your laugh, then we both bust up laughing. Oh how I loved that! I laugh out loud as I write even in this moment. You spared me the sympathy eyes, you spared me your tears, and you gave me the best medicine--laughter.
People say I am strong from this battle
I am. But not just from this battle, but from watching your strength as you have battled what this broken world brings.