Instead of writing an original post for today I thought I'd just post what I shared at mom's memorial. I think it makes an excellent blog post.
When I first sat down to write this, all that came to mind were things I was going to miss about mom and the things I won’t be able to do with her like random phone calls while walking to the train and hanging up quick when it comes, knowing she won’t be offended; trying new recipes and sending her pictures of them; emailing decorating ideas for our apartment that I’ll never actually do, or that James would never go for; going to the dollar store, big lots, thrift stores, and garage sales to find that deal on something I don’t really need; hearing about her weekly visits with Taylor, Megan and Daniel; and complaining to her about problems I know how to solve myself but just want to complain about.
The hardest part for me is coming to terms with realizing my expectations for the future were in vain. My mom was supposed to be the grandma, the first call when my babies are sick, even before the doctor; the one we see once a week, at every holiday, at school and sporting events, and on warm summer weekends at the cottage. She was supposed to be the one to help us pick our first house, pick the colors, and decide where furniture should go. She was supposed to help me make wedding invitations and hand write the addresses over a glass of wine, gather crap for centerpieces, go the menu tasting with us, laugh at the horrible presents we didn’t register for but will inevitably receive, and complain about my mother-in-law to, even though I love James’ mom, but there’s bound to be something.
Mom would hate this right now; everyone only remembering the good, as though she were perfect. Yes, she got mad at us like any parent does. But I honestly can count on one hand the number of times she ever yelled at Kim or me. As far as mothers go, she was pretty close to perfect. She was perfect for me. Now that she’s gone I regret never asking her about her parenting philosophy, but when I reflect on our relationship it’s evident in her actions. She never nagged about homework, never forced chores on us, and never asked anything except to bring whatever was on the stairs up to bedrooms each day and to eat vegetables, but somehow I turned out ok. I know there were many times I disappointed her or made her sad, but she never yelled, lectured, held a grudge, broke down, nothing; just showed unconditional love.
The lessons she has taught me are small, daily things that will stay with me forever and my own children will probably carry with them. Always be kind to others, accept people where they’re at, help when you can, clean a little each day so it doesn’t build up, don’t nag (I am really working hard on this James, I swear), sacrifice dinner and a movie so you don’t have to pay someone else to raise your kids because no one will ever do it as good as you, clean while you cook, don’t use the dishcloth on the floor and put it back in the dish tub. While there’s nothing earth shattering about these lessons, I live them every day, so each time I have dinner cleaned up before we even eat I will remember her; when I am stressed because company is coming and I am forcing myself to wash the sheets I will remember her; and when I am home raising kids feeling guilty because I should be working to help pay off our student loans and mortgage, I will remember her.
As I’ve grown older I have come to understand there is no love like a mother’s love. Had mom left us 4 years ago, I’m not sure it would have had the same effect, but I know when I have my own children I will understand a mother’s love even more and feel her loss even more. I can’t believe how lucky and blessed I was to have her as my mother. I thank God for picking her to be my mom.