My Mother loved colours on the cooler side of the spectrum … mauves, light blues and mint greens. I loved pinks and oranges, especially together.
Mom dressed me in a beautiful pale yellow lace dress for my sister’s wedding, but there are no photos. At two and a half, I was having none of camera and scowled in its face. And then I bit it.
My Mom hated cut flowers … said they reminded her of her Mother’s funeral. That never stopped six-year-old me from bringing home fistfuls of carefully chosen dandelions. I wanted the ones with the biggest and brightest yellow faces. She would dutifully place them in a cup, then dump them in the evening. Undetered, I picked more the following day.
While watching a nature show, my Mother cooed “Even animals love their babies.” She said it with the aching love that only a Mother understands. We watched a lioness engage in battle to save her young, an aligator delicately transport her babies inside her ferocious jaws and an octopus starve to feed her leggy offspring. I knew Mom loved me as intensely as any Momma bear.
Mom has been gone for almost five years and I still say “Mom loved me in yellow” while holding a dress against me. My perception of my core self first came through her. I was beautiful. I was smart. I was funny (OK, I got that from my Dad).
My maternal identity mirrored my Mother’s. I loved my son with an intensity that surprised even me. After his birth, I cried for all the children I didn’t have. All those perfect little eggs who would never be born and feel the sun on their cheeks. Unrealistic, yes … but tell that to a weepy, postpartum first-time Mom.
I’ve had some stellar parenting moments in my twenty years as a Mother. Growling in frustration, I rolled my eyes to say “it’s a good thing we can’t eat our young like tigers” with exasperation. Or the time that my six-year-old was bouncing around the grocery store while talking non-stop. In a hurry and distracted, I barked “Will you shut the fuck up for one minute?” and instantly regretted it. The perfect Moms whirled around to scowl at me, but I only cared about the sadness in Matt’s eyes. I knelt to his level to apologize and explain that Mommy wasn’t perfect.
I’ve failed him many times since then, but like to think that the successes outweigh my Misadventures as Mommy. Matt made me weepy when he handed me a sappy card about how wonderful a mother I am. My boy still counts on me.
And I laughed hysterically when I opened up the card.
Our Mother’s Day joke still lives.
Years ago while making a card for me in daycare, my son’s attention span didn’t survive art time. Too busy to finish, he took off to play with his buddies. The teachers handed me the incomplete card made of yellow construction paper which simply stated “Happy Mo” in red crayon. I howled with laughter and tucked it into my Memory Box.
He gave me another one today.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, step-Moms, and Dads doing double time.
I miss you, Mom.
I’m glad I am your Mommy, Matthew. You are the person I love most in the world.
Hoping to earn the best fairy godmom award by evicting Bobs (little brown house spiders) in the middle of the night, crashing on single beds with two dogs and Little Miss Muffet.
And I cleaned six pairs of ears.
The Den Fox
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