Living Below Your Means
Mother of a Day

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By LeftBlank
May 14, 2002

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My Mom died of leukemia when I was a year out of college. I was 23. It was pretty stunning. I didn't know a d--- thing about the world, really. I was impatient to get on with living. When you're that age, you think you're going to live forever, and if you've been lucky, you don't think you're ever going to lose your parents. But you will, you will.

She used to bake cakes and cookies. She crocheted blankets and sweaters. She had a sewing machine. I don't know many people who do this stuff anymore. Almost-lost LBYM arts (to stay on topic). She didn't live to see the Internet, but I doubt she would have had much interest in it. She much preferred to sit and talk person to person. But mostly she was a doer, working or volunteering, going a mile a minute. She had a lot of fun.

I've passed a lot of milestones in my life since then, wishing she was here. She'd be proud of my big shot job. She never met my wife. My daughter will only know her from pictures. She loved kids, was jealous of people with grandkids. She missed all that. I am 40 years old but I still remember climbing into my mom's arms. I wish my daughter could do that now. Hell, sometimes, I wish I could still do it. Or eat one of her chocolate chip cookies.

I was pretty much a jerk as a teenager, and a rascal in my 20's, and I know I worried the hell out of her. There are a million things I would ask her now, things it never occurred to me to ask, because I was in too much of a rush to get out of the house to pal around with my friends or whatever it was that seemed so important then. We never really had an adult conversation. I had some with my Dad, in the years after her death, but it was like shouting across a canyon. My mom was the glue that held her three men together, and when she died, we went spinning off in different directions.

We all have pain and grief and suffering in our lives. This is just one piece of it for me. I guess my message to anyone reading this on Mother's Day weekend is: appreciate what you have. Hug your mom and dad, if they're around, hug your kids, or your spouse, or your lover. Smile at the mailman or the old man next door. I don't care who you are -- there is someone in your life right now who might not be there the next time you look.

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