My Progress!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom! I'm listening ;)


Today happens to be my mother’s birthday. It’s been on my mind since the beginning of March which is pretty typical, but as I mentioned earlier, I find myself really missing her more and more lately. I think I’m just at a time in my life where I really need her. Her absence in my life is deeply felt and as I find myself coping with the breakup of my marriage, my own child coming of age, and coming to terms with my own mortality, I often just ache with wanting to be able to have just one more conversation with her. My son really misses her too. We had a conversation about her the other day and for the first time, I asked him if he really remembered her. I was so glad to hear him say that he did and then go on to talk about all the special memories he has of her. That was one of the things she worried about most; that he would eventually forget the special relationship they had.

I remember when Tanner was just a little guy, mom used to talk about how she couldn’t wait until he was older so that they could start going on special little “dates” together. I don’t know where she got the idea from, probably one of her friends did it with their grandchild, but she really looked forward to being able to go to a movie or dinner with Tanner but giving him the money so that he could “pay for it himself.” She thought he would enjoy “treating” his Big Mimaw and I’m sure he would have.

I know one reason I find myself thinking about her so much lately is because, as I’ve mentioned before, Tanner is 13 and he is constantly finding ways to catapult me back in time to when I was 13 and knew it all and had a mother who grew exponentially less intelligent with each passing day. I like to picture my mother and grandmother sitting somewhere in heaven warming their coffee mugs with fresh coffee while they take stock of how we all are doing without them. All I can say is they must laugh their asses off at me trying to parent a teenager.

When I was growing up, our family was split into two camps: one camp included my mother and grandmother and they were the mathematicians. My Papa and I were the lovers of language and literature so you can imagine how our two camps got along. My Papa and I always had fun trying to talk over their heads when it came to literature, and I’m sure they got their fair share of enjoyment watching us struggle to keep score on a simple card game or balancing a check book. Some of my grandmother’s favorite stories were of me correcting her pronunciation at 5-years-old or giggling at my mom for saying something wrong (saying someone had a “cornea” instead of a “coronary”; going to get a Mamm EE oh gram instead of mammogram...drove me bonkers).

I remember wondering what things sort of things Tanner would find “wrong” with me. I mean, it couldn’t be my language right? I had the degree in communication disorders to that just wasn’t in my parenting forecast as far as I was concerned. Of course, making a declaration like that is just the sort of temptation fate needs to blow a big fat raspberry on your belly.

In my case, I was blessed with a kidlet who “spoke” another language entirely; namely American Sign Language. Tanner actually uses both his hearing and his sight when it comes to communication, but we frequently supplement our speech with signed communication as well. Just as I used to roll my eyes and correct my mother/grandmother’s speech, I now have a 13-year-old who rolls his eyes and in a voice dripping with impatience or even worse…amusement, corrects my signing: “Mom, that isn’t how you sign ‘ready’ you just asked me where the ‘toilet’ was” more eyerolling. It’s moments like that (and they happen just as frequently as they did with my mom) that I can just imagine her and my grandmother busting a gut somewhere. It’s also moments like that when I miss her the most because I would secretly love for her to be able to snicker at my expense in that special way that annoyed me to no end when she was living.

This morning, she was the first thing on my mind as I sat down at the computer and prepared to start my work day. I was struggling with whether or not to tell Tanner the significance of the day or just let it pass. Part of me knew it would be special to him and I decided that it was important to keep her memory alive for both of us by recognizing this day in some way. As I sat down to look over some blogs before starting my shift, I found myself in a rather convoluted way discovering this blog.

It was just one of those moments when I really felt my mom here with me because as I read about this project, I thought about how my mother had done this very thing for many people in her life who had battled cancer, some other chronic illness, or had just hit a rough patch in their life. During these times, mom always knew the perfect thing to do or say to let an individual know that she was there for them and cared for them. We often conspired together on some of the projects and had a blast surprising a friend or family member with something special. When she became ill, she received this back 10-fold as her friends and family brightened her spirits with little gifts, phone calls, special books or funny e-mails. I had seen first hand what they did for her when she was so ill during her battle with lung cancer.

Unfortunately, there are lots of patients out there who may not have the sort of support my mother was lucky enough to have. It is truly heartbreaking to think that somewhere out there, someone might have to "go it alone" during what can often be one of the darkest times of a person's life. As I read about Spirit Jump, I knew this would have been something my mother would have loved to have gotten involved in. Every time I did a spirit jump, I would remember my mother and her giving spirit as well as those who picked up her spirits during her time of need. I also know that it probably wasn’t coincidence that I landed on this blog this morning. Wherever she is, I’m sure she knew I was missing her and needed some way to feel close to her again. As usual mom, you were right on the money…thank you for guiding me to Spirit Jump this morning and wherever you are… Tannie and I wish you a Happy Birthday! Xxoo

Want to leave a comment? Click on the word "comment" below.