A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

When my grandmother passed away in 1982, my mom was so sad for so long. When Mother's Day rolled around the next year, she had no interest in it because she no longer had a mother. But I told her that I still had my mom and really wanted to share Mother's Day with her. And so we did.

My mother died in 1994 just a few weeks before Mother's Day. I remember having the same feelings she had expressed and Mother's Day that year was a difficult time for me. I was no longer the daughter. I didn't have anyone to buy flowers for to to take to brunch. But memories of my mom are strong. They bring me joy, and often tears.

When I was three years old, my mom worked in either a candy store. All I remember is that she had to wear a white uniform and she stood behind the counter. My dad would take me for a walk to visit her and I would have to stand back from the counter to see over it and see my mom. When she saw us her face would light up and she would come around the counter to give me a hug. Then she would give me a treat - either a chunk of milk chocolate, or one of those little pastel mint patties. To this day, when I see this type of candy in a store, it brings me back to the candy store so many years ago.

Once I reached school age, my mother quit working and was able to stay home with me and my baby sister. Home always felt so secure. Especially when I was sick. Mom would keep me home from school (I think this was as much for her as for me - she truly loved being a mom). She would make a little bed on the couch for me - sheets, blanket, my pillow. She would put a little table near by with water, some toys or crayone, turn on the tv, bring me my medicine when needed, and just hover by all day. Being sick was a special event!

As I became a teenager my mother suddenly became the enemy. I look back at some of the things I said to her, the attitude, the times I saw hurt in her face because I was being totally bratty and actually relishing in the fact that I had hurt her feelings. How awful that must have been for her. I'm so thankful that she lived long enough for me to grow up and be her little girl again. She took it mostly in stride. Somehow she had faith that I would go back to being her little Sandi.

By some miracle, when I grew up and had kids, my own mother became smart again! Funny how that happens. And we became best friends. When I lived in Tucson, rarely did a day go by that we didn't talk. About anything - a tv show that was on, a joke, family issues, kid things, or just to say hi and hear each other's voice.

We moved to Colorado when my twins were one year old. Mom was supportive of our move, but very sad to see us go. I, of course, had no idea how she felt. We would talk on the phone at least 3 times a week and visit as often as possible. After 3 years we moved back to Tucson and mom was so thrilled to have us back. To be there to watch her grandkids grow. Then when the kids were 13 we moved again - this time to California. Again mom had to watch us leave. And again I had no appreciation for how that felt to her. We tried to see her as often as possible, and we talked on the phone several times a week in spite of the distance.

My brother also moved to California for his residency so we tried to fly Mom out here as often as possible. She loved those trips. Driving down Lombard Street in San Francisco, having dinner with the whole family, going to wineries in Napa (she kept asking for "blush" wine!!), just being part of our lives while she was here.

Her death was very sudden - she was only 71 and most of the women in her family live well into their 80's. I used to dread the day when she was gone, but had no idea it would happen so soon. I hope she knew how much I loved and admired her. How much I missed her. I lost my mother and my best friend on the same day.

So, Mom - here's to you. Thank you for all you did for me. Thank you for being my friend and my number one supporter. Thank you for letting me get through my bratty stage without giving up on me. Thanks for being a great grandmother to my kids.

I love you - Happy Mother's Day


MMrussianadoption said...

touching post. thanks for sharing

Nikki said...

What an awesome tribute to your mom! There are mothers and then there are mom's...Anyone can be a mother but it takes a special person to understand the meaning of mom...happy mother's day to you and I am sure your mother taught you to be a great mom! :)N


I'm in tears.

namaste said...

sandi, i'm late. HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY, hon! this was a beautiful beautiful post. your mom sounds wonderful and she did a great job with raising you. i think you're a really awesome mom and grandmother. like i've said before, i love reading your post for their great family stories. thanks for sharing!



Fleur de Lisa said...

I too have fond memories of being home sick as a child and that being special quiet times with mom.

I'm so glad you shared this wonderful tribute.