Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is a wonderful celebration of Moms. Whether it is going out to a brunch buffet with your family (which I am doing today) or your kids bringing you breakfast in bed (which mine have done many times in years past) or calling your grandmother who lives a few hours away (which I will do later today), it is a day to pamper Mom and reflect on what Mom means to you.

It’s a day to give your Mom a hug and tell her how much she means to you. Yes, even if she nags you sometimes! (Which, of course, I never do . . .).

Mother’s Day can also have difficult moments for those who have lost their Mom. Other Brother, Robert and I lost our Mom almost twelve years ago and we still think about her and miss her. She wasn’t perfect (because, really, who can be a perfect Mom?) but there’s no one like Mom.

Even though we lost her as adults, she was fairly young when she died (56). I feel fortunate that we had as much time together as we did. Others have to go through the pain of losing their Mom as a child and that has to be so difficult. My grandmother died when I was ten, leaving her large brood of not only adult children but also two teenage boys. My heart goes out to those who have lost their Mom at an early age. That ache of losing your Mom stays in your heart forever no matter what age you lose her. I am lucky to still have a caring, loving Mother-in-law but I know, even in her late sixties, she still misses her own Mom.

The memories people are left with range from funny to poignant to trivial. In my grandmother’s case, I always loved running around her house, nestled in a tiny town in Iowa, with my cousins and uncles and brothers. And I remember her bread pudding. Ahh, that was yummy! I have not been able to find a more tasty replica of that treat (and believe me, I’ve tried).

Memories of our own Mom include her love of photography and the darkroom she created in our house so she could develop her own pictures (um, there used to be something called “film”). She was always trying to get that “great shot” – to the point of ushering us kids to the basement during tornado warnings in our home in Nebraska and then running outside to try to capture the image of the impending storm. She didn’t seem the storm chaser type but she acted like it sometimes!

I know quite a few people who are caregivers to their Moms who are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a sense of loss that comes with caring for their Mom either at home or with them living at a care facility. Alzheimer’s is a brutal disease. These women and men care for their Moms even when their Moms don’t remember them everyday. It is heart wrenching to watch the decline of someone you love, someone who has nurtured you your whole life yet now doesn’t remember who you are.

When their Mom does have a glimmer of remembering them and says things like “I love you” or “Why are you so tired, honey?” or “I’m sorry you’ve had a hard day” – it refuels them. After all, don’t we all want our Mom to make things better? To tell us things will be okay. Even through Alzheimer’s, sometimes the Mom these people remember shines through.

As for me, being a Mom is the best part of who I am. My daughter and I talk everyday and regularly make each other laugh until we have tears streaming down our faces. My husband’s kids are wonderful, too, and we have our own times of silliness and fun. I will spend the day with my daughter and Mother-in-Law and Hubby and Robert and we will have a wonderful day. Mother-in-Law and I will be pampered and we will laugh and eat too much at our brunch, maybe even reflecting on memories of her mom (who always loved a good buffet).

Now go hug your Mom and make some memories.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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