Mom Broke Her Arm–Roller Skating–Just Before She Became a Grandmother.
Heartmending and Remembering
I dislike this coming Sunday only because I loved, adored, and truly liked my mother. Some days I fear I will become violent if I see one more commercial reminding me to remember Mom. Emails taunt me with offers to send her flowers for a bargain price. (And you know, Mom did love a bargain. She kept a few sale tags in her nightstand drawer, tiny trophies of the 60% off plus an extra 20% off blouse she’d scored.) But I am pretty sure that heaven has plenty of carnations, her favorite flower, or is so filled with unimaginable glories that she doesn’t miss them.
She’s been gone nearly six years now. The ads, the relentless, clattering, guilt-chasing ads, draw my tears.
I cry angry. I cry lonely. I cry sad. I wanted her to live forever, or at least until I died. I know I’ll see her again, but I want her here, now, enjoying her great-grandchildren and admiring her eldest grandson, my nephew, visiting home from college and dressed up to take his girl to junior prom. She’d be at swim meets cheering, always cheering, for my brother’s children. I guess we’ll have a lot of stuff to catch up on when I see her next.
My friend Laura Lynn Brown wrote a book. It’s the one gift for moms that doesn’t draw my bitter tears. It’s called Everything that Makes You Mom: A Bouquet of Memories. In it, she shares memories of her own mother, who died when Laura was a very young woman, invites us to remember our own mothers, and invites our children to remember us. Her memories are sweet and specific: she tells us that her mother bought a whisk because its packaging claimed, “It scoffs at lumps” and then promptly named it her “lump-scoffer.”
My mother would have done that. This book is lovingly assembled: Laura shares stories stretching back and simple questions that evoke our own memories, help us to set them down in ink (something my mother would have valued). It is so gently and carefully crafted that it feels like she’s chatting with you over your favorite mug of hot coffee. (My mom collected mugs. And she made caffeinated coffee when I came to visit–I was her excuse to fall off the decaf wagon.)
When I asked Laura what would most surprise me about her book, she told me: How much you’re able to remember once you start answering questions. She’s right. I’d forgotten the decaf backsliding. Already.
I think you should buy Laura’s book. If your mother is living, then buy two copies. Give her a copy, along with whatever indulgent kind of pen she allowed you to buy every September for you school supplies (I remember a sparkly turquoise ball point pen). Write your memories in the other one and then give it to her. If your mother is no longer living, then write your recollections and give the book to your children, siblings, cousins–others who loved her, even if they only knew her through photos and stories.
Like I said. Mother’s Day, solved.
26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:26-30 (NASB)