It’s been eight long years since I had the priviledge of shouting out, “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!” My mom died in the early evening of November 15, 2003, and I’ve felt like a lost little girl since that dreadful day.
When my sister, who was 3 years older than me, started school, leaving me lonely for my sister playmate, mom began a habit of neglecting her housework to play with me all day. I can remember her soft voice calling me to come to the kitchen, “Jean, come here little sweetie. I’m going to make you a baby cake.” And she would go to enormous trouble to make one little cake about the size of a coffee cup. What joy!
A few years later when I began first grade, I couldn’t bear for her to leave me in that new frightening world. I cried and clung to her skirt. My poor mom “attended” first grade with me for the first few weeks. She assisted the teacher and I can still remember how funny she looked sitting in one of those little chairs for the students. (Thankfully she was very small.)
Each day when I arrived home from school, I’d find that she had baked homemade cookies for me. She’d serve me cookies and milk and I would settle in a big chair and read a book and eat my cookies. From that time I have associated cookies, milk, and a good book as the ultimate pleasure. I was a cheerleader from the time I was in the 8th grade through senior year, and she was always in the stands supporting her baby girl, never missing a single football or basketball game. When I started dating, she would wait for me to arrive home to share details of where I had been and what I had done. Most people are shocked when I tell them that I telephoned my mom nearly every day of my life, even when I lived in Saudi Arabia for 12 years. (Two lonely occasions when I was unable to call occurred when I was in war-torn Kuwait in early 1992 and in Iraq during the summer of 1998.)
People are even more shocked when I tell them that never once did I have an argument with my mother. NOT ONE DISAGREEMENT. Sadly, when she started having mini strokes around age 75, her personality changed. She became difficult to please, you might say. Rather than become angry, I would sing, kiss her on the cheek, and would whisper to her how much I loved her and that nothing she might could annoy me! After a few minutes of my singing, (I can’t carry a tune) she would smile and everything would be all right, once again.
Although I knew her for 55 years, 55 years was NOT enough. Sometimes I forget that she is out of my reach and I’ll grab the phone to call her, to tell her about this, or that. When walking through department stores, I’m still on the lookout for that special dress, or suit or comfy pjs, eager to surprise her.
Oh Mom! I wish you were still here! I really really really miss you.