The earliest memory of my mother ironically is of missing her. Like I do today. She was and is away. As a child of four, I wasn’t able to reason, or understand why. I couldn’t even try.
A tiny house of six hundred square feet in pale pink. I remember the kitchen having black speckles on the floor and there was a polished white sink. Frilly curtains of sheer at the window above. Two bedrooms, I think. My little brother and I shared a room so small our fingers touched from one bed of maple lacquer to the next.
It was Christmas morning, and Mother was not there. She was in the hospital cradling a new baby sister who was born on the Eve before. Snapshots are in my mind of sitting in warm flannel near a perfect tree decorated delightfully. Full and bright in colored lights, it brushed the whole of the room. Presents galore. A galloping black rocking horse on red springs for my brother, plus a Chatty Cathy doll dressed in a blue cotton dress for me. She was like magic! Pull a ring of plastic white and she talked to me. Yes, really talked to me! Daddy and Grandpa were there too, but no Mommy to see.
My mother was a wonderful mother. Not a perfect mother but she did her very best. She raised five children, one who nearly died at birth, and struggled thereafter. Mother coped silently with severe anxiety and depression, yet pushed through to better herself personally and professionally. In spite of only a tenth-grade education, she surpassed every goal she ever set for herself and was probably the hardest working woman I ever knew. She was beautiful and creative, kind to others and loved all people.
That was then, this is now. Mother’s Day is nearly upon us. Yet, today the same feeling of missing my mother is still deep inside of me…almost tangible. It’s as if I’m a child of four kneeling at the foot of the Christmas tree whose mother is away again. Except this time, I’m all grown up. She’s not coming back. The painful perception of abandonment. For whatever reason perhaps this feeling has never left me?
The rocking horse under the Christmas tree has jumped from his springs of red to ride out to pastures of green where my mother rests in peace today. Chatty Cathy hopped upon his saddle to perhaps watch over her. Pull a string behind her neck to hear three sweet words never to forget,“I Love You.”
Happy Mother’s Day
*Dedicated to all mothers, particularly those who suffer from depression, anxiety or any other mental disorder.
*Mother and Father. My favorite picture of them, circa early 1970’s