Grateful for a Million Simple Things, Mom

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Thank you, Mom

Iʼm thinking about my mom today, and most days. She passed away September of last year, somewhat unexpectedly.

Iʼve been told, and would agree, that it takes longer to process the passing of a parent with whom the relationship wasnʼt easy. My relationship with my mother, though full of love, wasnʼt easy at all, not in recent memory anyway.

There were a lot of reasons the relationship was challenging, and I donʼt feel a need to explain or assign blame at this point. I just accept it and accept that it seems to make mourning more acute, more drawn out. Itʼs more than a year and I still spontaneously cry (sob, actually) about this regularly.

What triggers these episodes isn’t so much that I miss my mom, though I do, deeply at times. Itʼs usually a happy memory, and how I simply wish weʼd had more of them in my adult life, how I wish weʼd had time to resolve some things. I think we could have done it with another few years of good health.

But Mom didnʼt get those years of life, so Iʼm left to ponder our relationship on my own. This has me thinking about how I relate with my girls, and what theyʼll remember fondly when Iʼm gone. I hope my girls and I will have a simpler time of it. Weʼre off to a good start despite many challenges (divorce, single parenting, more moves than Iʼd care to admit, among other things).

But I know things can get emotionally complicated as kids get older despite our best efforts, and all I have to go on is my experience with my mom. So what are the things I remember with gratitude? (This is only a partial list, of course.)

-Her sense of humor, totally irreverent. I knew how to make her laugh and absolutely loved doing so. When times were good, my mom and I could share a tear-inducing, belly laugh about the silliest thing. She could be a lot of fun. (…Iʼm sort-of a fun mom. I could be more fun probably.)

-Her knowledge of history. I canʼt even begin to be the encyclopedia of world history my mother was. My girls have to google a lot of things I simply asked my mom growing up. (Iʼm a good speller though, maybe theyʼll appreciate that?)

-Her sense of style. My mother never, ever left the house looking sloppy. Even when her health was failing, she did her hair, she put on make-up and she found some fun accessory to jazz it all up. (I could definitely be a little stronger in this area. I remember my mom imploring me to ʻplease, just wear a little more eyeliner,ʼ… which is good advice really, I do look better when I wear more eyeliner.)

-Books. My mom loved to read, I love to read, my kids love to read and be read to. I think we have this one covered.

Finally, and probably most predictably, what I really remember and am most grateful for is affection. My mom hugged me, she kissed me, she let me lean on her. She had pet names for me that make me smile to this day. I’m thankful this type of thing seems to come naturally to me as well, Iʼm always hugging my kids, and they are pretty generous huggers themselves.

As time goes by and I continue to process my relationship with my mother, could this really be what I remember the most, the good times, the warmth and the love?

I guess parenting, at its most basic level at least, isn’t so complicated after all.

14 thoughts on “Grateful for a Million Simple Things, Mom

  1. Thanks for that glimpse of you Paris. It’s been 15 years since my mama passed and though I will never compare our two experiences, you expressed some very similar feeling that I have and am still processing about our relationship. I haven’t found to be *easier* as time has gone by, just a little more distant and *different*. Thank you.

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    • Yes, it’s amazing where our minds and our own experiences as moms can take us with this process, huh? Thanks, Juli, I really appreciate knowing that you read this and identified with it in some ways.

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  2. Paris- you hit the nail on the head. When I first met your mom , in July of 1974, I was so impressed by her glamor and humor. At 18 years old I just wanted to be like her. And, of course, her knowledge of so many things was impressive. You write beautifully and touchingly about her and the tricky relationship of mothers and daughters. You are a wonderful mom. I am so proud of you. Keep it up girl!!!!!

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  3. I am also dealing with the recent passing of a dear friend, very unexpected. I’ve been trying to find the words to put down about her and what I remember and what I don’t but you pretty much nailed it as Corie said in the post above me. Thank you for having the courage to write this, as many know its not easy. I’m struggling with the loss every day but also realize that this sort of thing happens every day to good people and there are no answers to the why’s but knowing that I’m not the only one dealing with the pain is oddly comforting. So, thank you again and maybe one day I’ll have the courage to write about Lauren and all that she meant to all of us.

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  4. I’m very sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. Thank you so much for the comment and I hope you do write about her one day, when you’re ready. Writing and posting this has been a cathartic experience for me, including learning that the post resonated with other people processing similar emotions. Thanks again.

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  5. I lost my mom 5 years ago to pancreatic cancer. Our relationship was strained for the most part. I saw my parents all the time, and they had a very close relationship with my son. But I didn’t have a close relationship with them, not until my mom was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Then it was a scramble to make up for lost time, which just didn’t happen. When my mom died she knew I loved her, and I miss her a lot. But like you said, I wish there had been more truly happy times that we shared together. I was lost after she died, consumed with guilt for things I did and didn’t do. Writing became my salvation. For years, I have written a blog, and now I think I am finally ready, healed enough, to write the book I’ve been wanting to for so long now. I wish you all the best.

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    • Thank you so much, Kathy…our stories sound similar in many ways. I wish you the best with everything too, including the book! I have a feeling it’s one I’d like to read.

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