Oh good Lord! I’ve just realized that my mother was pretty awesome, in ways I never realized until
she I was much older.
There was that time at fourteen when I thought I knew so much more about life than she did, I thought she was just ‘mother’, she wasn’t a real person like me…. a person who had a life, had feelings, loved, hated, she was just someone there. I just realized this a few minutes ago as I looked into the mirror and recognized that it is the way my fourteen year old daughter sees me now.
I also did the math, and when I told my mother, at the wise old age of fourteen, “stay out of my life, you don’t know anything, you’re just an old woman!” she was only three years older than I am now, and I also now strongly suspect that the snicker I heard was not her holding back tears as I thought, but most likely her trying not to laugh at me! She had a hell of a wicked sense of humor, and I didn’t recognize that until I was in my early twenties and went home to visit. I saw my mother then as a woman. I saw her with friends, which I had hardly ever seen when I was still at home. I saw her spice up our morning coffee with a splash of Bailey’s and a wink. I saw her deadpan hilarious jokes, and laugh at the sublime and the ridiculous.
I didn’t see her face but told her over the phone when I got pregnant. I was single and twenty three having just been dumped by the ‘love of my life’, I expected recrimination, upset, anger, anything really expect what I got…. I got a pregnant pause (pun intended) and a very gentle “Oh?” until I said, “I’m happy”, and then she gushed! She was happy for me and excited to be called “Nanny”, and wanted me to tell her everything.
She was really smart. She really knew her stuff and knew how to listen and guide. I really, really miss her a lot today. She passed away years ago, 3 1/2 years now I think, I try not to think about it actually. If my mum was still alive I could bring her to live with me and she would help my daughter. She was loving but firm. I don’t know how to be that. I have the loving but have no clue how to be firm. I never learned to say no as a child. It wasn’t allowed.
This has gotten away from me, now the words are pouring out with the tears and its time to make dinner.
Death didn’t take her, cancer did. Ahead of time I think.