In honor of Mother's Day, and of my mother, whom I lost two and a half years ago, I've decided to save my rant against American Express travel agency's ridiculous and unfair policy on airline tickets for next week and instead share some random memories that may trigger similar remembrances with you.
When I was growing up, money was in short supply in our house. My father was a cop and always worked a second job to pay bills. My mom stayed home to care for my siblings and I, and did her best to economize so we would have a little extra money in reserve for unexpected needs. These little economies, good, bad, and sad, have stayed with me my entire life, so that when I think of Mom, these are what epitomized her.
She always used a tube of lipstick down to the metal base until she couldn't dig out any more even with a toothpick.
She wore the same kelly green winter coat for fifteen years, until the lining fell apart.
She had two pairs of high heels, an all-purpose black and an all-purpose bone, and one "good" outfit, a black-and-white polka dot dress, that she had to wear for every occasion long after polka dots went out of fashion.
She bought shoes one size too large for us so they'd last longer, requiring tissues stuffed in the toes that didn't really help them stay on, but a supply of band-aids helped with the blisters.
She kept a cotton throw over the sofa so it would last longer.
Her name was Rosemary, but privately she called herself "Second Hand Rose" because all we could afford were second hand appliances and second rate clothing.
She always had a glass of iced tea ready for the mailman in the hot summer months and a cup of coffee in the winter.
Even when she was down with the flu, she got up to make my dad his eggs and bacon in the morning
She always had time to listen to our problems and was never, ever, judgmental, even when I wanted her to be.
She taught me how to iron, cook, clean, organize a household, and be a firm but loving guide for my own children.
She always had a smile and a kind word for everyone, even when she was dying.
Her last concerns were that all of her family was okay.
I'm not sure why those are the first memories that surface when I think of Mom, but, boy, do I miss her. I still reach for the phone to share something that happened, or to ask a question that only she would know the answer to, and I dearly wish I'd paid more attention to her during that last year, but, as most of us do, we always think we have abundant time.
If you'd like to share some thoughts about your Mom with us, please do.
Enjoy the day.