a daughter's mother story...
Sometimes there's a sweet gift waiting in the strangest places. My mom and I are standing inside the little gift shop that hangs on the edge of the long pier at Fort de Soto Park. We are going to take a rough boat ride to a little island and have an adventure. I am so happy my mom is with me that I can barely stop looking at her. Her visits are important for many reasons and they get more important with each passing day.
My mom finds a little pair of earrings that she likes and when I go to pay for them the woman behind the counter begins sobbing. I ask her what is wrong and she tells me that her mother died a week ago and that she doesn't know what she is going to do without her. I quickly drop the earrings onto the counter and take the woman's hands and try and say something that will help.
Your mom will always be with you. Your mom loved you and she will always love you. I'm so sorry. I start to cry not just for her but imagining how I will be able to even breathe or walk or eat or live without my mom. Then she tells me something else.
"I did my mom's wash for years and when I got to work today I realized I accidentially put on a pair of her underwear and I can't stop thinking about that and her."
I find this absolutely beautiful and I think of the coat and sweater and all the things my partner keeps from her mother so that she can look at them and touch them and smell them. Not a day goes by when she doesn't touch something and remember how much she was loved and how special her mother made her feel.
I have always felt loved by my mother, who I adore, and I tell her all of the time how wonderful she is but I don't think it's possible to say it enough. I hold her closer for the rest of the day and the rest of her visit and I make certain she knows that her life's work raising four children has been so worthwhile. When she leaves two days later I stay at the gate until she disappears into the airplane and then I cry like a baby for a solid hour.
A few days later I ride my bike back to the park to see the lady in the gift shop. I take her a book I wrote and thank her for sharing her story and I say other things but mostly I just want to see if she is okay.
This encounter has made me realize more than ever that every day in my heart and life and soul is mother's day and that I wouldn't be who I am or where I am if I hadn't been so damn lucky.
My mom is 84 and alive and when it is my turn to sob at the counter I am going to need an army of hands and hearts. And there's no way to prepare but to love her even more.....