This day. It’s always so bittersweet for me. On one hand, for weeks leading up to it with all those Mother’s Day ads all up in my face, it is just a knife to the heart. Mother’s Day before my mom passed was a perfunctory sort of thing but now what I wouldn’t give to celebrate my mom and spend some quality time with her. But on the other hand, I get to celebrate the fact that for 20-ish years of my life I had an amazing and inspiring mom — which is something I realize I was lucky to have because some people don’t ever get that. Brain cancer may have taken her away but it can’t take away those memories and the things I’ve learned from her and from losing her. It’s all shaped the person I am and I’m quite happy with that person — flaws and all…though obviously those are a work in progress.
Last year I apparently made lots of people cry with my Mother’s Day post so I vowed not to do that again. But if you want to want to hear my story + find out why I read books dealing with grief so much, read last year’s post. And then the year before I talked about being a motherless daughter on Mother’s Day.
So instead let’s do some lists?
6 Things I Will Do To Honor My Mom This Mother’s Day:
1. Drink some wine (or a daquiri if I can swing it because those were her faves).
2. Listen to some Jimmy Buffet — my mom was a huge Jimmy Buffet fan and I’m already crying (I broke my vow yeah?) as I type this but here’s a story from the day she passed on July 2, 2006. My stepdad came up to my room and told us (he’s in the medical field and knows all the things) that my mom’s breathing was really indicating she was in her final couple of days. We were shaken but we knew it was coming. He told us to still go to the pool party we were heading out to and, before we did, we spent a little extra time in the living room with her (she was not at all there at this point) talking to her and hoping she heard us which is something I didn’t always do before I left. But we did and before we left we were like, “Hey, let’s put some Jimmy Buffet on for her.” And we did. Cheeseburger in Paradise. And we kissed her and said we loved her and we left. 15 minutes later we got a call from my stepdad to come home because it wasn’t looking good. We drove home as fast as we could but we didn’t make it. But, in a way, I was okay with that. She passed with my stepdad (who is the very definition of selfless) and her mother and the sounds of Jimmy Buffet around her. We even played good ol’ Jimmy lightly in the background at her viewing because my mother would have hated the crap they were playing. So this is an important one.
3. Honor + celebrate Will’s mom (and call my stepmom) — When my mom first passed, I refused to do anything Mother’s Day related except hang with my sis and stepdad and even though that was hard for me too at first because I just really wanted to curl up in bed. Now, I’m better with it and we spend Mother’s Day with Will’s mom. I know my mom would want me to take the time to get to know Will’s mom and be thankful for the love she’s shown me. It’s really strange for me that Will never got to meet my mom but I’m happy that I get to know his. It’s a weird day for Will too because the mom I speak of is actually his stepmom that has pretty much always been his mom because his mom passed when he was 4.
4. Do something special for my sister — My sister is my best friend and it wasn’t always so. We were best friends growing up, HATED each other in high school and college and once she told me she was pregnant (with Genevieve) we became best friends again. My mom had a rocky relationship with her sister and I know it got a lot better when she got sick but she always used to tell us we were going to need each other some day. And she was right. Oh so right. My sister has her two babies but she’s also a stepmom and things have been really rough there lately so she deserves some special kindness.
5. Wear purple — My mom’s favorite color was purple. And not just like in the way that someone just says it’s their favorite color. Like with her WHOLE BEING purple was her favorite color. So many purple things in our house. Oh god, it’s kind of like me with the color yellow. I am so my mother.
6. Reach out to the other motherless daughters (and sons) in my life: Sometimes it’s hard to say everything happens for a reason but I firmly believe in doing the best I can with whatever happens. Sometimes I want to be selfish and wallow in my own sadness but through the years I’ve had this urge to show love to those who are also going through this. It’s a hard day no matter the awesome stepmoms or MILs or mother-like figures you have in your life to shower with love. My mom was always there for her people and I know she’d want me to do the same.
6 Things I Miss About My Mom
I can’t even begin to tell you all the things I miss about her that I took forgranted but here are 6 big things.
1. How she laughed — Oh my god. My mom. When she laughed, she really laughed. She would laugh reallyyyy silently and you weren’t sure if she was breathing but you saw her whole body moving. And then all of a sudden she would let out this crazy snort/wheeze thing and she would be crying. It was the kind of laugh that made the rest of us die laughing. Sometimes I had no idea what we were laughing about.
2. How she danced — My mom was the one who made me have no shame for dancing like a fool. You might think she was drunk when she was dancing (but most of the time she wasn’t) but oh my god she was always the one out on the dance floor before everyone else and the last one being dragged off. I have the BEST picture at a family friend’s wedding reception of my mom crazy dancing and some of my guy friends dancing with her. It was hilarious and when I see the one particular guy friend he always laughs about it.
3. Her crazy hair — I inherited my mother’s hair for sure although mine might be less huge? My mom had the craziest, biggest curliest hair. She was like always known for it and everyone coveted it. I was not happy with my curly hair for all my life up until the past 2 years but now I can of love it and feel a bit wild letting it go curly rather than straight. Plus, everyone keeps telling me it makes me look more like my mom.
4. How she was the most motivated person I know — My mom was determined. Sometimes maybe too much but she was. She didn’t like the situation she was in so she got out of it. She worked hard balancing work and advancing her career while being divorced from my dad. The amazing growth she had in her career is inspiring because I know how hard she worked and how determined she was to get there. My mom was working on her MBA when she got diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and told she had 6 months to live (she lived almost 2 years beyond that). What did she do? She kept going with it and she finished all her coursework — a week later she had a major seizure because of the tumor which really made things deteriorate. But she still walked across that stage to get that degree she earned with my stepdad holding her up most of the way.
5. How she was ALWAYS the life of the party — My mom and I did not really get along for most of my teenage life. Like really bad. I moved out for a month because things got so bad between us. One of those things I always thought I’d have time to fix when I “grew up.” But there was still this undeniable magic I always observed when she was with people. She always had that sparkle and mischief in her eyes, everyone wanted to talk to her and she just always was the person whose light shined the brightest and whose smile was the first one you’d see. Amidst all our struggles, I miss that about her. Even if that wasn’t always directed at me…I miss seeing it.
6. How she was SO obnoxiously passionate about her Florida Gators: Oh dear God. If you were a fan of the team playing the Gators, you would want to leave. She was a Florida girl through and through and hated living up North. Watching a sporting event with her was the greatest when it included the Gators. Especially when the Gators would play my stepdad’s team. It made football ten times more fun.
So Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommas and future mommas out there! And extra love to those without your mom’s this year or to those who aren’t on good terms with theirs. XOXO. And I’d love to hear about your mom and your relationship and anything you want to tell me about your mom because mother/daughter relationships are of so much interest to me these days.