Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I miss my mom.  It comes and goes, this feeling of missing her.  There are some days when I barely think of her at all.  Others, when I see something she’s written or look through a leaded glass window or lampshade that she lovingly created, when I think of her and smile.  Then there are days when I just miss her.  When I’d love to call her on my way home from work, or drive up to her house in the NC mountains and spend the weekend with her, or play her a new song on guitar.  She would listen, my mom.  She would really listen. 

So the other day, when my second graders were writing their own cards and letters to their moms, I missed her in that selfish way; that way that is all about me.   Because for so many years I would write that letter along with my kids. While my students were busy writing about being thankful for their moms being their when they are sick, I would write about being thankful for our childhood memories.  While my kids were thanking their moms for making them food and getting them their favorite clothes or toys, I would write my own love letter reminding my mom of just how much she meant to me.  For the past three years, I haven't been able to do that. 

When we were going through my mom's few remaining things, I found a manilla envelope marked Keepers From Tim.  I think every letter I had ever written to her was in that fat envelope.  Along with years worth of Mother's Day letters and cards.

Yesterday was her birthday.  She would have been 89.  When she was looking death in the face and the Hospice person was there at my sister Ruthie’s house explaining what the transition would be like, my mom said something to the effect of, I’m 86 years old.  I’ve had a good life.  You think I need to live to 87?  The Hospice worker cried.  Saturday, she would have been 89.  And for some reason, this revolving around the sun, this human-created calendar to mark where we are I our orbit, and these special days we are meant to celebrate, Mother’s Days and birthdays, make me miss her in a way that hurts my heart. 

Yesterday, Ruck’s birthday, I was in the yard watering plants.  I heard this frantic cheeping and saw a rustle in the leaves in the natural area beyond our year.  A beautiful brown thrasher was swooping low around me.  She was putting herself between the thin chirping/rustling and me.  She flew up and circled my head within a foot of my face.  I could have reached out and grabbed her.  She knew it and I knew it.  Then out from under a bush came a little fledgling.  

It sort of hop-walked.  It hadn’t yet developed its flight feathers and had tiny, down-like feathers sticking up from its head in a mohawk.  This little thing was at its most vulnerable.  It was clearly unafraid and as I took out my phone to take a picture, it hopped right up to me, much to the consternation of its mother.  I was so taken by this.  That mother thrasher was risking her life for this little one.  She was putting herself directly between her fledgling and what she perceived to be great danger.  How selfless.  How brave.  And, of course, it made me think of my mom.

That little scene also made me think of this other wonderful mother in my life.  Heidi Mills.  The mother of my children.  Heidi who works many extra consulting jobs, countless extra hours to pay for our son’s college education, who calls or texts them almost every day. Who, when she knows they are coming home, buys their favorite foods, and prepares their favorite meals.  Heidi, who when she knows they are sad or in pain, when they have been laid low by life’s trials, feels their pain and sorrow as if it were her own.  Who still puts letters from their college congratulating them on good grades up on the refrigerator.  Heidi is a mother who spared no expense materially or emotionally to bring up those two little babies to become the good men they are now.  Time, love, resources, love, faith, love. 

She is fierce and feminine, kind and dedicated.  She has a hunger for justice and laughs out loud.  She is brilliant and sweet, gracious and gentle.  Talented, modest, beautiful inside and out.

And She gives us all the greatest gift of all.  Love.  As I woke up this morning, feeling her warmth next to me; as I laid quite still to listen to her breathing, I was especially aware of how much I love this good woman.  My best friend.  This good mother. 

I miss my mom this Mother’s Day.  I missed my mom on her birthday.  But my own family is blessed to have this Heidi Mills in our lives.  I am so grateful.

1 comment:

The Dashboard Poet said...

Tim, Sometimes your tender view of life brings tears to my eyes. I miss my mom too. My entire day was packed with Mothers Day events, but none of them struck me with the force of your post. Thank you. ~ Jim