You were taken from us 6 years, 7 months, and 29 days ago.
So much has changed.
I try to think back to the last Mother’s Day you were here and I can’t remember it. Did I even get you a card?
I can’t remember much about that last year. In fact, I can’t remember much before 2007. I look at pictures of myself and I wonder who that person was. I don’t remember her. Maybe sometimes it’s just too painful to remember a life with you. I’m a different person now. Not in a bad way, not in a good way, just in a different way.
Things are simultaneously more serious and less serious. I find myself truly revelling in small things such as sunsets, catching a green light when I’m running late, and a really good laugh. I also find myself not really worrying about the future, change, and tragedies. I think I have learned that darkness is inevitable so I try to concentrate on celebrating the light in it all.
Things do seem emptier now, but I’m at peace with it.
I’ve had to learn how to become a woman without you. That’s probably been the hardest thing. Trying to become an adult in this world with no guidance. I’ve had so many mundane questions about what I’m supposed to do that no one told me to do. Like what girl traditions should I be aware of? Baby/wedding showers are baffling. Or when are thank you notes appropriate? When is perfume appropriate? When should I start using wrinkle cream? Or what kitchen utensils am I supposed to have at this point in life? It’s been a bumpy ride but I’ve started to figure things out. Google helps. Chelsea helps more. I still have so many questions for you.
I’ve done some of the things you’ve asked me to do. I finished school. I’ve gone to LA. I’ve fallen in love. (And gotten hurt.) I call Grandma. I’ve told our stories. I’ve stayed away from slip ‘n slides. I think you’d be proud of how I’m turning out. I’ve still got my mouth though, that’s never going away. But you knew that.
And I’ve finally met him. The love I’ve been waiting for. And he’s just like you said he would be and more. He really came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass, just like you said he would. He’s smart, and hilarious, and thoughtful, and cute, and strong, and most of all, kind. He puts up with me, my mouth, my moods, and my crazy tears. I don’t know if I deserve him, but he loves me. Soon I’ll be putting on the big white dress for him. I tried yours on but its horrible. I don’t fault you for it, the 80’s were hard on all of us. You never did have the best taste. Sorry. I will be thinking of you when I look for my dress. I know how bad you wanted to see me in that white dress. A part of me believes you will.
It won’t be long now until I’m a mother. Not that we have any immediate plans for that, don’t freak out! But it won’t be long. It’s not going to be easy trying to figure out how to be a mother without you. I will though. Matthew is a father, but you know that. I know how badly you wanted to be a Grandmother. I know you’re with Mackenzie every day. And she will know you. I promise.
I’m becoming more like you every day. I’m clumsy. I’m obsessed with my tweezers. I make really bad jokes and laugh at them way too loudly. I don’t snort yet, thank god. I take solace in finding myself doing things that are so like you that it is shocking. Today I found myself standing with my hand on my hips just like you and just like Grandma. It was awful. I looked like Forrest Gump.
I think back to that last Mother’s Day and I wish I could remember it so badly. I hope I got you a card. I wish I could go back and tell you how good of a mother you truly were and still are. I wish I could find the words to express what you meant, not just to us, but so so so many people. I think you know.
That one day on the porch we talked, with a lot of tears, about me and you and grandma. I had my first moment of realization of how much you’d gone through raising us, being a single parent. And how much you did for us. I wanted to tell you that I knew. I wanted to tell you that you were the best fucking mom. I couldn’t get out the words right. You were already sick. You had been having trouble with your words, but not that day. Not that moment. You knew exactly what I was trying to say and you told me, in the most natural way, that you were the way you were because of Grandma and I would be the way I’m going to be because of you and so on and so forth. I don’t remember a lot before you left, but I do remember that conversation. I know you knew how much you meant to me, still mean to me.
I still wish I could tell you, just one more time, just one more Mother’s Day, that I love you.
P.S. Is it OK to take Aspirin yet? Actually, nevermind, I’ll just wait until I’m 40. Better to be safe than sorry.