I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a mother. But through it all, I have been and always will be, a woman.

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

I Miss My Mom

This is hard to write.  I’ve put it off, and put if off, . . . but now maybe I can write this.

I lost my mother 11 weeks ago tonight.  It seems like forever since I talked to her.  But it still hurts like it was yesterday that I lost her.

My sister and I have been going through her estate, dividing up this, giving that away, trying to sell the other.  Typical things.  We’ve cried over memories, and we’ve laughed over memories.  We have remembered things we had forgotten.

Through it all, I still expect to hear her tell me to, “Get out of that!  You know you aren’t supposed to be in that,” because you never knew where she had hidden Christmas gifts……..and she had usually forgotten what and where things were hidden, too.

I still reach for the phone to update her on why my routine doctor’s appointment results were.  Or to tell her a funny story about her grandchildren.

Thanksgiving is going to be bad.  Her family always got together Thanksgiving instead of Christmas.  There are just too many of us to get together for both.  It would be exhausting, so they picked Thanksgiving.  I don’t think I can go to my Aunt’s house this year and look at the chair my mother always sat in when she was there.  I can’t bear any well-meaning “How are your holding up?” questions that day.  I just can’t.  So I’ll go to my in-laws and pretend everything is okay.  But Thanksgiving is going to be bad.

Christmas is going to be worse.  You see, that was her favorite holiday.  She had an entire walk-in closet full of Christmas decorations.  Tree ornaments, mantle decorations, floor statues of snowmen and Santa and Mrs. Claus, wreaths, etc.  We even found 3 Christmas trees of varying sizes.  Not to mention the other Christmas decorations we have unearthed in other closets.  Her favorite holiday.  And she won’t be here.  My children won’t get to call Nana and tell her what Santa brought them.  We won’t get to visit her and eat spaghetti (because we were sick of all the turkey we’d been eating since November).  I won’t get to hear her child-like glee when she purchased and received yet another Christmas decoration.  She was a child at Christmas as much as my children are.  She loved it.  I just want to get through it this year.  For myself.  For my family.  For my children.  I will smile and laugh and pretend, because that is what I need to do.  I may not feel the Christmas Spirit this year, but I can’t take it away from everyone else.

Just as I recover from Christmas will be her birthday.  She would have been 66.  So young.  Too young.  I can’t think about all of the things she’ll miss.  It’ll break me right now.

She was my best friend.  We went through a really rough patch when I was in my teens and early 20s.  But we made up.  We overcame.  She was actually my Friend.  My Best Friend.  For several years, she was my only friend.

And I miss her.

Every day.


Growing Up Is HARD……..on Mom

Yesterday, my two sons had milestones…..and so did I.  They enjoyed themselves very much.  Me?  Not so much.

My oldest son, Z, had his Parent Picnic and Awards Day at school.  He made Honor Roll for the year (Yay, Z!!!!!) and earned over 70 points in his Accelerated Reader Program — one of the highest in his class.  I am so very proud of him.  And though he clearly got his brains from me, I was still a little sad.  My boy is growing up. Fast.  He is only 8, yet he already reaches my shoulder.  Granted, the basketball teams in school were never beating down my door (or even knocking, for that matter), but still.  He shouldn’t really be that tall…..should he?

Watching Z wasn’t so difficult though.  He quit giving me hugs and kisses in public over 5 years ago.  He has grown independent and really is turning into a little man.  He loves to build things and show them off to me — and I am always suitably impressed — but he never wants me to help anymore.  He doesn’t want me to read bedtime stories to him.  I’m still a part of his world, just not an active part.  And I haven’t really been for a while, so though I brushed back a couple tears during the slide show at the end of awards, I really came through it okay.

Last night was a completely different situation.  M graduated from Pre-Kindergarten school.  He dressed up in big boy clothes — pull-over shirt and khakis — and had on his cap and gown.  All of a sudden, he wasn’t my baby anymore.  Who is this little boy?  Wait! Where is my baby?!?!? NOOOOOooooooooooo, this CAN’T be him!  He’s 5.  He still crawls in my lap to give me hugs and kisses — and he still fits!  He loves on me anytime and anywhere, and sometimes it’s even his idea.  He still wants bedtime stories (though I’m beginning to suspect it’s to delay bedtime more than wanting time with me) and occasionally even lets me rock him.  I bawled like the baby M is still supposed to be.  He walked across that stage, got his diploma and his “Imagination Award” (very apt, I promise you!) like he owned the place.  I cried more.

Z is my oldest, and though it was hard, it was not THIS hard.  I think.  The distraction of his brother who would have been 2 at the time kept me from dwelling on just how fast all of this happened.  M, though, is the baby.  No more distractions.  No more of these events will be happening.  He is my last one.  I’m trying to write all of this down so that I won’t forget anything. I write it down to help myself adjust to how fast my boys are growing up.

One little man.  One little boy.  Neither of them so “little” anymore.  What’s a mom to do?

Then M came running up to me, gave me a hug, and went running off to race his brother up and down the halls (despite my admonishments not to run inside), and suddenly he was my baby again.  I got a reprieve.  But this fall, when they both climb on that big yellow school bus — one to 3rd grade and one to Kindergarten — I make no promises.  Yes, I do.  I promise I will cry all the way to work.  Or maybe I’ll follow the bus all the way to school . . . . . . .even if it is the opposite direction from work.

The Case of the Stolen Snowman

For some reason, I’ve had this story circulating in my head lately.  I don’t really know why, but I thought I would share it with you.  The story is true. . . unbelievably true.

When I was a little girl,  a very, very long time ago (only 2 “very”s, so I’m not as old as dirt), my family moved to Illinois for six month.  Something to do with dad and the military, but the “why” is really irrelevant.  The “where” is important, though.  We were all from Mississippi where it snows maybe once every seven years.  Kind of like a plague, and, yes, most Southern adults treat it like one.  Kids, of course, are enamored of snow.  It is the stuff of which dreams are made.

You can have fights with snow. . . and clobber your baby sister repeatedly with snowballs all in the name of fun. 🙂  (Sorry, sis.  Well, no, not really, but it sounded good!)

You can get free days from school with enough snow.

You can make snow-cream instead of ice cream.

And, you can make snowmen.

So, picture this.  This little Mississippi girl, just turned 6, with blonde hair and blue/green eyes got to build her first snowman.  It was just my height (so it was maybe 3 feet tall).  It had arms made from sticks.  I don’t remember what we used to make the eyes and smile, but then Daddy did something special.  He broke two icicles off of the bottom of his old Dodge car and stuck them in the top of the snowman’s head……Angel’s snowman now had horns.  😀

It may not have been the prettiest or most conventional snowman, but it was perfect to me.  It was lumpy, asymmetrical, and lop-sided. . . and it was mine.  My very first snowman.  I was so proud.  If you grew up building snowmen, you can’t imagine just how proud I was.  Not only had I never built one before, I knew in my little 6-yr-old mind, that I probably never would build another one.  This was a Once-In-A-Lifetime Event!

We smiled, we took pictures, we celebrated.  Then we went inside to our neighbor’s and ate popsicles.  I don’t know why we ate popsicles in December, but we did.  Then we went upstairs to our apartment.  I, of course, ran to the window to check on my snowman.  IT WAS GONE!!!!  “Somebody stole my snowman!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.

“What?” asked my dad.

“No, honey,” said my most reasonable mother.  “Some kids probably just came by and knocked it down.”

“Uh-uh!  They STOLE it!”  Nobody seemed to understand that.  My snowman was gone; therefore, someone stole it.  It was not broken up into a million pieces.  It was not melted.  It was GONE.  Stolen.  Snowman-napped.  To say I was mad is like saying Mother Theresa was a “nice lady.”  Un. Der. State. Ment.

My parents (reasonable adults dealing with a very UNreasonable child) took me downstairs to show me the snow spread all over the ground that would be the destructive particles left remaining of my once proud accomplishment.  Boy were they fooled.  No extra snow.  There was still a flat and level place where my snowman had been.  There were footprints!  “See?  He WAS STOLEN!!!”  I shouted with the self-righteous anger only a 6-yr-old can have.  “I TOLD you!”

I forced my father to follow the footprints with instructions to retrieve my snowman.  Dutifully, he followed them.

I watched from the upstairs apartment window for him to return with my snowman.

Her returned without him.  He said he followed the footprints for 6 blocks and then lost the trail (an Indian tracker my father isn’t!  Maybe I should have sent my mother since she has the Cherokee blood.  Hmm…….)

We spent 6 months in Illinois.  I had my 6th birthday there.  And all I can really remember is the day my snowman was stolen.

I hope those thieves enjoyed him.  ‘Cause this little Mississippi girl is STILL upset about that.

Yes, I do carry a grudge about some things.

Memories Are All I Have Left

When I was little, my sister and I spent a LOT of time and my paternal grandparents house.  We only lived 100 yards away, and as they were so much more permissive than our parents, we loved it there.  After all, if they wanted to spoil us, who were we to stop them?  We would get off the school bus there every afternoon.  After my granddad died, we would spend every weekend with Grandmother from Friday night until as late as possible on Sunday.  We stayed there in the summer and other school holidays.  We practically lived there.  It really was a “second home” to us.

We moved into town after my parents divorce.  Instead of being just up the hill, we were now a half hour away, but that still remained home in my heart, especially since six months after the move, our house burned to the ground from an electrical fire.  But then, that house wasn’t home.  The house where I grew up was filled with memories of my parents fighting — heated voices and cold silences; tense meals where bedtime was an escape and not something to be fought by us kids.  Grandmother’s house was home.

Laughter reigned supreme there.  Grandmother had one of those faces that always smiled.  She was an old-fashioned “lady” from the top of her silver hair to the nail of her pinky toe, which only made it funnier when she  would say something completely outrageous.

She never said a bad word about anyone (even when I thought they richly deserved it).  She always spoke well of everyone or said nothing at all.  Even when someone needed to be warned against another person, she managed to convey the warning without once speaking ill of the person.

She never raised a hand to us kids — well, once, but that was only because I told her she wouldn’t and she could NOT let me get away with that.  She shamed us into behaving, and let me tell you THAT is a lost art.  She could look so disappointed in us and say, “Now aren’t you ashamed” and I swear I had to look UP to see the dirt.  I just felt that low.

There was a tree in her front yard that all of us grandkids climbed.  “You kids get out of that tree!  That limb is gonna break with you!” is a admonition we all heard for years.  It never did, but that comment gave all of us kids laughs over the years.  It seems that our parents had heard the same admonition.  And so did our kids.

Grandmother showed me how I should act. By her actions, she was an example.  She was a rare lady who lived what she preached….except she never preached, she just DID.  Of course, not all of her lessons took.  I still lick my fingers when eating fried chicken.  My elbows sometimes find there way onto the table.  And I still don’t always remain quiet when I should.  In fact, that lesson never really took at all.

She’ll be gone 13 years this Thanksgiving.  It seems like forever.  And yet it seems like I just talked to her this morning.  I saw her face flush with laughter, eyes crinkled shut, belly just a jiggling (she really looked like a Mrs. Clause when she laughed!).

And now I find out that some family members are tearing down the house.  I know, I know.  It’s just a house. She’s been gone almost 13 years.  It’s in bad shape.  It has mold and termites.  It can’t be saved.  But none of that is true to me.  It’s NOT just a house.  It’s my home and it always will be.  It may be in bad shape, but if it had been taken care of over the last years, it wouldn’t be this bad and it might not have mold or termites.  It might could have been saved.

It feels like I am being cut into little pieces, that part of my heart is being carved out of my body.  This was my HOME.  No longer can I go sit on the porch and pretend she’s still there.  No longer can I go inside and pretend she’s still cooking some homemade apple tarts.  No longer can I deny for a time that she is gone.  It’s like I’m losing her all over again.  I want to crawl into a hole somewhere and sob for hours.  I want to go to sleep and wake up pretending this was all a nightmare.  But I  can’t.

I miss Grandmother like I would miss my own mother.  She was a gentle, compassionate lady that I have always wanted to emulate (but fail at miserably).  She helped raise me.  She gave me warmth when I felt the cold silences at my house.  She gave me peace when all I had was chaos in my mind.  She gave me some of my best childhood memories.  And now, after her house is gone…

………Memories are all I will have left.


Author and Editor of Literary and Arts Magazine, The Woven Tale Press

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