I swear these Hallmark-holidays creep up so quickly, so quietly, it feels like someone’s hiding in the thick, peaceful woods and sneaking up on me with a load of curare darts.
The other day I felt such a surge of rage on a stroll through Walgreen’s and their onslaught of Mom Cards — cards I no longer need to panic over buying (the right one) or mailing (way early so as to be On Time!) — so that as I stand in line waiting for a prescription to be filled all I can think about is that giant bank of sweet, colorful cards and what I really want to do is walk over all nonchalantly-like with my basket of waterproof, every-size Bandaids and hormones and Neosporin and Advil and knock down the whole damned display, ala that killer from No Country For Old Men, and then walk right on out and down the sidewalk and pretend it wasn’t me.
Today it’s the Friday before the Sunday of Mother’s Day and what I’m remembering is how funny my mom was. How sharp. Sarcastic and witty and irreverent she would fall down laughing — and scared of getting caught, too, like me — if we knocked down the Walgreens card display. It’s sad for me to realize that hardly anyone I know now, 13 years after her death, knows my mom that way. Not most of my friends. Not my husband nor my kids. When I got married, when she met my kids, she was already sick. And even though she would live another 5 to 6 years, she was so tired, so beyond exhausted, so not herself.
One of the incredible things my mother left me was a book of memories, one of those silly things most people don’t bother to fill out, where there’s a question for every day of the year. And so this Mother’s Day, to keep me from knocking over the Walgreens display, I’m going to share a few of my favorite answers to those questions:
What do you remember about your first day of school? I cried! I did not want to go!
Tell me about how you first knew my father (note: I don’t know my father). I thought he was gorgeous. Our first date we just rode around and talked. He was very good-looking. Witty and fun to be with and a very good lover.
Share a memory about a power outage. We had power outages all the time. Especially in the summer. Dad would get drunk and he’d turn off the power!
What did you want to be when you grew up? An airline stewardess. But I was too tall.
Tell about some advice your mother gave you. (she left his page, hilariously, blank)
And on that note, I’m sending an extra dose of love to all of you who have lost your mothers. It never gets easier, it just gets different.
This year, I’m saying cheers to the end of curare-dart season, and to the end of that haunting, ridiculous Walgreens display.
Today I’m remembering my incredible mother. My mother who raised me mostly on her own. What a talent you were; what a quick wit; what an overwhelming loss. I miss you so so much.