Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Happy Birthday Mom--Wish you Were Here
Today would have been my mother's 60th birthday. A Milestone birthday. She died exactly one month ago, on April 18th. She died not long after my own birthday, a day before my little niece's 2nd birthday, on the birthday of my late paternal grandfather. She died 11 months after my grandmother, her own mother, died. She left not long before Mother's Day, and she left before the big Six-O.
Every year I tend to buy the same kind of stuff for my mom on her birthday, because it's stuff she loved better than anything: a new lipstick, a large economy-sized bottle of bubble bath, some magazines and perhaps some chocolates. She never wanted expensive jewelry. She was practical to the core (a trait I seem to have inherited, as I shun knicknacks and jewelry myself--and if I get the latter, it has to be ridiculously plain), and loved kitchen gadgets and innovative things to clean the house. But this year I didn't get to buy any of that stuff. I also didn't get to bake a cake for her, as I did for the past many years.
My mother was amazing at her job: being a housewife. This may sound silly, but she was extremely organised, almost never ran out of anything, and always had something on hand to make a really good dinner. I know this because there is still a chest freezer filled with foil-wrapped meats, labelled and dated. Her house was always very, very clean. She did the laundry every Monday without fail, and groceries were bought every Thursday.
She loved, loved, loved her grandchildren--all babies in fact, but especially her own grandchildren. She was always my best advocate for my son, and she was the one who realised he had a developmental disorder. She always empathised with him, and with me.
She was extremely intelligent and almost better than any doctor. She could diagnose you before you even had your appointment. I would call her often when Jack was sick--and let me tell you, that little boy had a ton of colds and other antibiotic-requiring illnesses when he was little.
I called my mom nearly every day as I made lunch for my kids, and then did the dishes. She was my favourite person to talk to on the phone, and we could talk about nearly anything.
In the grocery store recently, it came into my head that when my Grandmother died, my mother was on a quest to reproduce Grandma's pierogi--a recipe Grandma had concocted herself. Mom was worried that we may never eat them again at special occasions if she didn't figure out how to make them. Last Christmas my Mom and Aunt collaborated and came quite close. And now Mom's gone too.
It is unthinkable that the woman who held my hand while I gave birth to both my children is gone. It is unthinkable that sometimes her kitchen floor is a little dirty now. It is unthinkable that we thought she had a lung infection, and a doctor informed her that she was full of cancer, and 11 days later she was gone. My mother, my confidante, my advocate, my shopping buddy, my friend.
We live our lives expecting everything to continue just the same, day after day. It's amazing really, how quickly things can change.