As Mother's Day quickly approaches, we tend to think more about our moms. Whether your relationship is good, bad or indifferent, she is still your mother.
It's been over two years since I said goodbye to my mom and I recently realized that I now tend to romanticize our relationship. I find myself dwelling on the good times, like how she would get the family together and always cook big meals for us. Or when she would drag us all to Easter Mass followed by the family Easter egg hunt, where everyone had to participate. I remember how, on occasion, she would entertain us by dancing around the kitchen with a colander on her head.
Funny, but I don't seem to spend much time thinking about the negative sides to our relationship. The painful times during her transition into Alzheimer's or the various stages of loss that continued to affect our family as she slowly succumbed to the disease. I also rarely focus on the times when she made me angry, and those times could be frequent. She meddled in all her kids' marriages. She not only told us how to parent, but also took it upon herself to tell our kids how they should be parented. She would say things publicly that would make us want to crawl under the table. Like the time she insisted our Iranian waiter was really from India and tried to speak Hindi to him. When he didn't reply, she thought he was snubbing a British woman. When I do recall these less-than-positive memories, they don't seem to be so bad, and I can even laugh a little at them. They were all a part of who my mom was.
It surprises me that what I really miss is just being able to call out the words, "MOM." It's one of the first words we learn, and one we often take for granted. When you lose your mother, you may never get the chance to say that word again. If you are married and have children, then you may be able to use the word for your wife, "Go ask your mom. Tell your mom I said so. If mom says it's OK, then I'm OK." It seems so natural to use the word that has lived with us so long.
My wife and I never had children together, but we do have dogs. So suffice it to say, I call my wife my dogs' mom. "See if mom will give you a treat. Ask mom to take you out. Go tell mom you made a mess." My non-responsive, canine children don't know that by allowing me to use that simple, little, three-letter word, they have given me a gift; the gift of having a mom in my life again.
Happy Mother's Day!