I'm sure it's my mother who made me who I am today. I'm sure it's what she taught me that kept me going during my darkest moments...it had to be.
In honor of Mothers Day, let me tell you about my mom....
She was one of those cool mom's who wore platform shoes in the 70's and a plaid matching pants suit. Polyester, of course.
Oh, and she had a fake leather jacket with yellow lining. (She was wearing that jacket when she died.) I still have the matching scarf. Once and a while, I pull it out and take a big whiff hoping to get some faint scent of her. It's been too long now but I still refuse to wash it, just in case.
My mother was brave. Or I should say, she started getting brave after she caught my dad red-handed with another woman.
She was 35 when, for the first time, she took her drivers test. And boy, when she got that license, how she loved to drive fast through our one traffic light town.
I will never forget how mad she was when she got her first speeding ticket.
She stormed into the kitchen ranting on about how the cop was one of her regular customers at the bank and he refused to give her a warning. He gave her a ticket instead. I don't think she ever forgave him. Don't tell, but I drive fast too.
Oh, and she would laugh. Hard. And frequently.
My mother was one of those people who just smiled a lot. Maybe it's because she's dead but I have yet to meet a person who doesn't gush over my mother when I tell them who's daughter I am.
People have told me how they would wait in my mother's line at the bank just to talk to her and get a smile (my mother was a bank teller).
She used to devour her monthly prayer book, Daily Word, before she shut her eyes each night. The latest issue faithfully right there on her nightstand.
I remember feeling like I was opening a secret diary whenever I would sneak into her room and read a few passages. It wasn't like I wasn't allowed to go into my parent's room but in my family, you never went into anyone's room if they weren't there.
But once and a while, I would tiptoe into their room to check myself out in her make-up mirror, play with her makeup and thumb through the Daily Word. I wanted to feel what that little tiny book promised I would feel if I believed in God.
I love my mother. She's been gone too long.
This weekend, I send love to all the Mother's out there and a special thank you to all the women who are mothers to the motherless. You don't have to give birth to be a mother. That I know for sure.
I hope you feel my mothering arms around you even if we are two thousand miles apart. That's the beauty of connection. You feel it INSIDE.
I hope you take this message to heart and know that all of us, eventually, must become our own mother. The mother who cares for us, who advocates for us, who loves us unconditionally.
My mother gave me many gifts. It just took me many years to realize that.
Thank you for trusting me enough to allow me into your life and into your heart. I'm sending you an enormous hug right now. Feel it, won't you? Know together we can mother ourselves whole.
May the mother love we all need be felt today and always,
p.s. I am sharing my favorite photo of mother and me with you. I have not kissed her since I was 14 years old and I have not laid my head on her shoulder even longer. I miss her.