Word on the street tells me it’s time for school to start up again. As many of my momma friends get their little ones ready with their notebooks and glue and crayons and markers (some first-timers—go mamas, you’ve got this), and as all of my teaching friends get their rooms ready and pray for the little kiddos that they’ll spend majority of their days with, I take a deep breath and thank God that I chose margin in my life over trying to push through and teach this year.
On the whole, it’s been a good week. I wouldn’t say it’s been one for the books, but it’s been one with my loved ones, and for that I’m grateful. Here is my list of loves this week.
- I love thunderstorms at sunset. I love the way the sun causes the clouds to look warm as they roll in, and I love being able to see the rain fall hard into the dwindling daylight.
- I love photos. I think in the process of starting this blog, I have picked up my camera again, and begun to really enjoy capturing special moments. It amazes me that moments can be cherished and saved forever to come and even beyond me—in my grandkids’ lives and in the lives of their kids too.
- I love feeling known. A huge part of losing my mom that I still grieve are the parts of me only she knew; the memories we shared that only she could attest to. The little things about who I was as a kid or a baby or in the years that she was a stay at home mom with me only she knew. I miss the part of myself that belonged in her heart.
I think I’m going to interrupt my thirteen things tonight. As I haphazardly typed number three, a wave of sadness came over me. Tears have begun streaming and it seems that I’m having a hard time putting a stop to them. This is how I feel:
Martell has been really into reading “Are you my Mother?” lately. Every time we get to that page, I just feel like it so clearly reflects the cry of my heart many days. I wish she could drive down and hold my hand and lean into me and kiss my cheek and tell me that the “mom thing” is totally worth every ounce of exhaustion and every tinge of insecurity. I wish she could come over so I could crawl into her lap again and hear her say that she loves me. I swear I would bottle it up to remember the way it sounds for all of time. I wish she could be here with me now on the porch listening to the crickets in the night, contemplating something silly like whether we should go to Gap or Banana first when we hit the mall tomorrow.
You see, I never thought it would be this way. I never thought I would be a mom without my mom. I never thought I could hate something as much as I hate cancer. I never thought I would be holding onto things like out-of-style work shoes just because she bought me four pairs of work shoes before I started my first job and I just can’t seem to get rid of them for fear of losing the memory. I never thought I would be wearing her wedding ring on my right ring finger since I was 22. I never thought I would introduce my kids to my mom in a picture frame.
I think a part of the reason I so value being home with my kids is because my mom did it with me and she shaped so much of who I am—some of the best parts, I truly believe. I long to spend every hard and jagged and messy and selfless moment in a way that would honor her legacy, and of course glorify God, but because of her I want to shape my kids’ lives in a way that only a mom can.
Losing my mom has caused me to sink down lower than I thought I could go. Sometimes it feels like I only have the ability to express a very tiny amount of the loss that exists in my heart. I have to remind myself time and time again that because my mom was so greatly loved, she is worthy of a great grief.
So I don’t have a beautiful bow to tie at the end of this post because sometimes loss (even one from four years ago) leaves us without words, and it leaves us without answers, and it leaves us without a comfort on this earth that can make us feel put back together again. But in the spirit of the Thursday things, I’m going to share some things I loved about my mom in the remaining ten spaces I’ve got left.
- I loved her hands. They were small, but held the great ability to wash dishes in scalding water, pour a tall, cold brewski, hang out the car window in the spring, and to embrace genuinely in both joy and sorrow.
- I loved her sweet tooth—green Jolly Ranchers, purple Tootsie Pops, Milky Way Dark, and Twizzlers were among her favorites.
- I loved her laugh. Sometimes she had a high pitched “HA!” that just burst out when she was really happy.
- I loved her generosity. I know that people often say of generous people that they’d give someone the shirt off their back, but I’ll tell you what: my mom would have given someone every penny in her bank account if they needed it.
- I loved how she told me too much that she loved me.
- I loved how much she loved Christmas, and how special she made it each and every year.
- I loved her loyalty. There wasn’t a truer friend than sweet Diane Lee Ptasienski.
- I loved that she always encouraged me to be the best version of myself—one who put others first, and took care of the underdog.
- I loved her simple and earnest prayers to the God she knew would hear her.
- I LOVED that she lived with her heart right out there on her sleeve. She didn’t hold back from loving people despite the chance of getting hurt.
Thanks for reading my heart, dear friends, and for getting to know the woman who shaped it.