When I was a teenager, I spent little time with my mother. We just didn’t seem to have much in common. I must admit my parents’ crazy high expectations of their first born didn’t help our relationship.
My twenties were spent in rebellion. Or maybe it was just that my life expanded so far into new found freedom that it looked like rebellion. Either way, I had less in common with Mom, and spent even less time with her.
At 30, I married Ed. We lived far from the town I grew up in over the previous 26 years. In those days, the interstates were far from completion and that 300 mile trip took six to seven hours. Weekend visits were rare. There was still a little friction between Mom and me. But I began to recognize her wisdom. I realized she raised me as she was raised, and knew no other way. In fact, life was tremendously easier for me with her as parent than she had. That realization opened the door to compassion for Mom. My eyes were opened to the fact that her faith, which I had misunderstood as religiosity and had come close to laughing at in my teens and twenties, was the anchor that actually kept her steady and sane through life’s storms. Instead of laughing, I admired. And hoped that I, too, would have that internal force in my heart to depend on in rough times. The friction eased, our friendship birthed and grew.
In my forties and fifties, I talked to Mom weekly and more. We shared our common faith. We laughed. We cried together. I longed to live closer to my parents so that I could drop in for a cup of coffee now and then. Or share my girls’ triumphs with her (and Dad) in attendance. I missed her during two major surgeries I had. It saddened me when she was hospitalized and I couldn’t be there. I missed her when two of our daughters were hospitalized at the same time after catastrophic accidents. And the more I missed her, the more I wanted a hug now and then.
Thankfully, we made the 1200 mile trip to see Mom and Dad at least every two to three years. And my dear parents made sure they visited us every few years. So I got a few hugs over the last 36 years. And a few cups of coffee.
Now I can long all I want for a chat about faith and life over a cup of coffee and it will never happen. Oh, how I miss Mom now. It’s a different kind of pain from the days when she was with us. Now it shares emptiness.
If your mom is still around, I encourage you to spend as much time together as possible. Someday you will look back with thanks when you realize what you gained from her life experience. And the scales will weigh heavier with fond memories than those of longing for something you didn’t have.
I love you, Mom. Forever.
This is the post I wrote on Mother’s Day
Thank you, Linda and Margie. Margie I remember when your mom passed. And I am grateful for those days you had in her last years.
May our Lord bless us all and keep us and make His face to shine upon us.
Beautiful sharing, Cheryl. My mom passed away last August at the age of 90. She was wheelchair-bound her last several years, and she had progressive dementia the last few, but we were blessed in that she was able to continue living with my brothers in their house until the very end. Catholic Community Hospice helped us in the last 7 or 8 weeks when she became bedridden and voiceless after a second stroke and a heart attack. Those last years were hard, but up until the night before the stroke, she would still try to sing along with Marian hymns–or with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”! You are very right about spending as much time together as possible. Our time together in this world is brief. I’m glad we have the hope of an eternal reunion in Heaven.