Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Your birthday came and went and I didn't get you anything. Are you surprised? I remember you calling me on your birthday. You always did that, as if your children were too selfish to pick up the phone on your day. Jeez! You'd call at 7:30am! Give me a chance!

If you were here, I would have cleaned the entire house (we were at the beach to celebrate your birthday) and your kids, nephews, and nieces would have cooked you a delicious dinner. I would have made strawberry shortcake using pound cake. We wouldn't have much pomp and circumstance--I'm no good at that. In fact, the cake would probably look like a mess but I promise it would have tasted delicious. Your sisters would have provided you with special golf socks and shiny jewels.

Everyday during our week at the beach, you would have woken up hours before anyone else and silently watched TV as you tediously added stitches to your latest project. I might wake up early too and sit with you while I read my book. At times we'd stop our activities to chat. These early morning talks would invite a comfortable space for mother-daughter discussions. Unlike most times, I wouldn't feel threatened to respond the way you'd want me to. We'd talk about my frustrations with my sister or current boyfriend and your worries over my living situation. We'd mull over an argument you recently had with someone and decide a course of action. Try the 50 noncommittal phrases: "Oh, really?" "That sounds tough." Or just plain silence. You'd question me about my finances and I'd reassure you that I have it under control. However, later in the day you'll slip a little money into my hand saying, "This is just-in-case mad money. Use it just in case you're about to go mad."

We had the Cici Case Jersey Shore SMACK DOWN and it was quite fun. The cousins were partnered up and ran around the boardwalk completing tasks and getting our exercise. It was great bonding and I know you would have planed it just the way it was. It's important for us to honor you for your birthday. Your last wish was that we would continue loving each other. Although we did the SMACK DOWN, I felt like the celebration was lacking. I wanted to do more to honor you.

Then I realized that I do honor you. Everyday. Everyday that I eat a salad, everyday that I run an extra mile, everyday that I do good work, it's in your honor. (Wow, this quickly turned into that Bryan Adams song LOL)

Well, anyway. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ice Cream for Dinner

As a means to assert my independence, I used to eat ice cream and cookies in place of a meal. I'd call my mom and the conversation would go something like this:

Me: Hi, Mom! How's it going?

Mom: Good, I'm just headed out the door on my way to work. Wassup, G? (Yes, she would ALWAYS answer the phone, and yes, she would say things like "G")

Me: Well, I was just calling to tell you about my breakfast. I think I've really started the day off well.

Mom: Yeah? Tell me about it.

Me: I had a big freakin' bowl of ice cream and cookies! It was delicious!

Mom: Oh, that might mess up your appetite for the rest of the day.

Me: Yeah, it might but it was worth it and I'm going to be smiling all day about my ridiculous indulgence.

This was my way of proving that I could eat whatever I wanted regardless of what she insisted for me. As expected she pushed 5-a-day and plenty of protein. I had to find a way to rebel and this is almost as harmless as it gets.

I left work today in great spirits. I completed all my tasks and numerous times my coworkers and I doubled over with laughter. One of the very last lessons my mother taught me was that I don't have to save the world before I get to bed but I can do good work with good people and smile about it. Today I did that.

Everyday is still underscored with the loss of my mother and even though my heart was soaring with happiness, I decided to listen to the sad songs to think about mom. For the first time in a long time I told her I missed her; I told her it was a shame that she couldn't be here with me; and I told her I was happy and doing good work.

Today I ate a big bowl of ice cream and cookies for dinner. (Don't worry, I had a stupid big salad for lunch.) I relished in the sweet dessert, savoring each bite and wishing I could call my mom to share this joy with her. I am so grateful that I can have this moment and honor her in my own quirky way.