Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Mother's Hands

I recently scanned this old photo into my computer and really LOOKED at it.  As I did, I looked down and realized -- I have my Mother's hands.  My fingers do not yet bend with the arthritis that twisted her little fingers, but my hands are hers.  My fingers are short and made for function and not beauty.  They serve me daily - - as a tool with which I earn a living. They work to create things of beauty that I joyfully give as gifts of the heart.  I have my Mother's hands  . . . . I hope she is proud of how I use them.

This year is apparently the 100th anniversary of the first Mother's Day.  It is also the 7th anniversary of my first Mother's Day without my Mom in this world.  Don't get me wrong.  I KNOW she is still beside me and that she watches my child grow into a young woman with glee, joy and pride.  But, damn, I miss her voice and her calm counsel.  In the 45 years I was blessed to have my Mother, I think I only saw her 'lose it' a handful of times.

The first was well-deserved and aimed at me.  I was in kindergarten and a bit more adventurous than most 5 year olds.  It seems that I decided to go to a friend's house after kindergarten ended for the day.  A friend's house that was across a large field from our house.  A friend's house I had never been to before.  It was like one of the Bad Idea Bears was whispering in my ear.  So I merrily toddled off to my friends house with her.  Now, I guess I should explain that in 1967 we walked to and from kindergarten by ourselves.  Really.  We did.  It was a small town with minimal traffic and the school was only 3 or so blocks from my house.  The Bad Idea part of this adventure was I had NOT asked my Mom before hand.  I just did not go home.  After a while Mrs. A. figured out that I was AWOL from home and called my Mom.  During that time, my Mom had been calling all the 'usual' suspects -- my Grandma, my regular friends.  No luck.  She also was enduring one of her '3-day' headaches, which I now realize were likely hormone induced migraines (I've experienced one or two myself).  She walked across the field to get me from my friend's house and took me home.   I had never seen her angry before.  I've been told I received my one and only spanking that day, but I don't remember.

The next time I saw her temper flare was after my Grandmother's death and it involved her siblings.  Really, enough said there.

The last time I recall seeing her blow her stack was when I was in my early 20s and had been unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend.  She used words I did not even know she knew.  In fact, I think she offered to do grevious bodily harm to him [if he's reading this he can thank me for convincing my Mom if she killed a COP, she would go to jail].  She calmed down and instead of going after the man involved, she sent me off to California to my Aunt's to recover.

So, when I say, my Mom was calm . . .she truly was.  Through the many adventures me and my siblings sent her way - - including marriages and divorces, babies and infertility, broken hearts and broken spirits, addictions and recoveries -- we pretty much covered it all. She had the gift of letting us vent and then quietly directing us toward our own answers -- which we pretty much figured out on our own.  She was the 'invisible hand' in our lives.

She left this world just as my life fell to pieces.  So it goes, I guess. I suddenly became the ADULT.  As painful as it was, it was necessary.  I know that.  But sometimes the loss, the pain . ..  it crawls to the surface and I sob and cry and rail against the Universe that sent these life lessons my way.  I guess that is just the way it is.

This year has been hard. . . I'm not sure why, but it has.  It began when I found myself standing in front of card display at Chapters with tears running down my face.  My sorrow at my loss has been just under the surface all week.  I know it is MY loss -- my Mother is free and is beside me.  She was beside me today when my beautiful daughter -- who reminds me more and more of my Mom every day -- bared her soul at the City poetry slam competition bringing not only me, but much of the audience to tears.  She was there watching my child celebrate with her team members -- holding up the grand prize trophy -- a troupe of amazing young almost-adults who spoke without fear and with passion.  My Mom smiled with me as I watched my child take another step toward adulthood.

Tomorrow is Mothers' Day -- the 100th one -- but for me TODAY was Mother's Day -- I watched as my child took another step toward the Woman she will become.  Thanks Mom -- for showing me how to do it.

1 comment: