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My Mom

May 10, 2010

Julie from The Peanut Gallery….Exit Here, hosts this wonderful meme.  It’s a chance to get mom into the picture.  And if you’re like me, that tends to happen way too rarely.  You should check out her blog and all the great entries.  It’ll inspire you to get in front of the camera! 

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One reason I really love Julie’s meme is because I know I need to be in pictures.  I don’t like it.  I hate being in front of the camera.  I always feel fat and awkward. 

My post today really reminds me that there is no excuse not to be in photos. 

 My mom felt the same way that I do.  She hated having her picture made.  She took all of our family pictures.  And since there were just the three of us, most of them are of me.  I have only a sprinkling of pictures of my mother.  She passed away when I was 12 years-old and now, I’m almost 40, the same age she was when I was born, and I’d like to look at her.  I wonder if we are similar.  My memory doesn’t serve me very well at all. 

My life today with my three boys seems so real to me.  We’re all so present here in this house.  And I sometimes think because of those feelings that we’ll always remember the details.  But, even though I was twelve, my memories of my mother are pretty scarce. 

I can remember going with her to see her mom every other Saturday.  We’d go shopping and I’d get a new toy from K-mart if I was good.  I can remember her making my clothes, standing in her sewing room trying not to get stuck with pins.  I remember her cooking for me.  She was  a home economics teacher and a really good cook.  I remember her rocking.  She loved to rock.  She sat in a rocking chair on our porch at the beach that was much smaller than our other rockers.  She was really short, 5 feet and 1/2 inch, so her little chair suited her.  She’d throw one leg over the side and rock so hard that she’d end up bumping the chair next to her and she’d have to pull her chair back  down and start again.  The whole time, she was reading or doing needlework as she rocked away.

  I remember her biscuits and how in the summer, she’d put butter on them and strawberries with sugar, and that was the best breakfast ever.  I can remember her strong faith in God, especially at the end of her life. 

But, these are sort of sketchy memories, and I often hope that I’ll live long enough to cement more vivid memories for my boys.  It’s a disheartening thing not to have real memories of your mother.

 I think she must have been wonderful, because even now, 27 years later, I ache for her, so much, that it’s almost physical sometimes.   It’s something that’s so strange considering my memories are pretty faint.   She touched me in some way that I still miss. 

When she was diagnosed with cancer, she kept a notebook with her, and in it , she wrote a running letter to me.   She told me about all the hopes and dreams she had for my life.  She told me about the prayers that she said for me in her hospital room late a night.  She told me how badly she wanted to be with me for all the important times in my life.  The very last line of her letter said, that when she was all alone in her hospital room at night, that she felt God’s presence and knew she wasn’t alone.  She said, “and at these times, I feel no fear.”  That was the end of her letter to me.  And it continues to be such a gift. 

So, this year, I blew it with my Mack, and I missed my own mom.  I kind of needed a lap to crawl into.  So, today, I wanted to post about my own mom.  Gone, way too soon. I’m sure if she’d lived, we would have butted heads, and my whole idea of her might have been different. 

But, being perfect in your child’s memory is the gift of dying young.


This picture was taken on my first Mothers Day.  Almost forty years have passed.  She’d be eighty now.  And this just amazes me  because, in my mind, she hasn’t aged. 

I have so few pictures of her, and that’s why Julie’s meme is such an important one.  We don’t want our kids wondering if we had the same hands as they do or wondering exactly what color our eyes were or how we wore our hair when they were little.   So, I’m going to make a vow to be more deliberate from now on.  I’m not going to try and worry less about how I look and just realize that a day might come that they’ll just want to look at me.  It won’t be about my hair, or the extra pounds, it’ll be about the connection it’ll give them to me. 

I wish Julie had been around to encourage my mom!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 9:23 pm

    I’m sorry you lost your mom at such a tender age. I started to cry when I realized you were the same age as my Julia. And my Julia and I are incredibly close. 12 is still such a little girl. I am so sorry.

    And you are going to make me do this more often, too. I always wave my husband away when he’s pointing the camera at me. I’m not going to do that anymore.

    Your mother was beautiful.

  2. May 10, 2010 9:49 pm

    I must say you have been making me tear up lately.

    I have thought of you often over this mother’s day. I’m sure it’s not easy. Thank you for sharing a little piece of your mother with us. She was a beautiful lady. What a treasure she left you in that letter. My aunt died at 43. She left behind 5 children from 19 to 8 months. She didn’t leave a single letter. Although we encouraged her to do so when she was sick, I think she felt that would be admitting defeat. I know that they would treasure them now.

    I am also so painfully aware that I never want to take my mother..or loved ones for granted. Because they could be gone in an instant. Thank you for encouraging each of us moms to get in these pictures with our children. I know, I for one don’t have enough pictures of my mom and I when I was young…and I would love my children to…even if I am around for a long time!

  3. May 10, 2010 11:30 pm

    Oh Lula Lula Lula….After the posts you’ve written lately I’m going to need Prozac.

    Really, this post is a gem, and, dare I say, your mother was one beautiful woman! It’s such a shame that her life was so brief, but the letter she left you is such a wonderful gift. I can only imagine all the things it’s filled with.

    I know exactly what you mean by the way about everything seeming so vivid that we won’t forget. But I can honestly say that if I look back to even a year ago, I find some things are fuzzy. That actually is one of the things I love about blogging. I tend to blog so so much about my kids. I think it’ll be great to keep those memories fresh.

  4. May 11, 2010 8:42 am

    I think she would have been perfect even if she had lived. Your post made me tear up. My one wish in life is that I live long enough so that my girls can remember me and us and all of the fun we have.

    It is sad, really when you think about it – from birth to about age 5 when I have been with them day and night – they have no memory of all of the fun stuff we do – all of the hours playing restaurant and dolls and blocks.

    But I know they have a feeling of good stuff even if they don’t have the actual memories.

    I used to be the picture taker too until my youngest turned 1 and then after going through albums I realized that there were no photos of me anywhere. It was so sad. Now we make a point of swapping the camera so that there are always lots of pics of everyone. It is so much better this way – good hair day or not.

  5. May 11, 2010 9:10 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed all your posts, but this one espeically touched my heart with memories of your wonderful mom. She was one of my favorite all-time people. She was really, really funny with her dry sense of humor. She was so good at everything, but she never made me feel uncomfortable because I could not. I cannot tell you how many times she had me laughing until tears were running! Thank you again for this precious post! Keep writing!!!! You are good at it!

  6. May 11, 2010 2:07 pm

    Wow, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for either of you. What a tough age to lose your mom. The part about her in the hospital praying and the times she felt no fear just really touched me. I can only imagine as a mother, what kind of things would go through your head and what pleading you would do for the children you were leaving. The pictures of your mom are beautiful and I think she would be so proud of the mother you have grown to be. Thank you for sharing your sweet tribute!

  7. May 11, 2010 3:20 pm

    LL!! You leave me weepy one way or the other! Your mom would be so proud with this post.

  8. May 12, 2010 1:52 am

    Such a beautiful post! It truly was thoughtful of your mother to write such a journal for you. How wonderful. I actually have tears in my eyes reading this, and that’s pretty rare for me. It was just such a beautiful and heartfelt post.

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