I watch them swing in unison…my two youngest.
They challenge each other to swing higher and jump farther.
His head swings back in delight and giggles come up from his belly.
I watch with pure joy as my thoughts go to earlier days when my own swing set with the leg-burning metal slide sat in my backyard. Our family laundry waved in the breeze while mom hung another load.
My hands can still feel the touch of the white t-shirts hanging from the helicopter drying pole turning slowly in the yard. I wander through the lines, brushing my hands along the soft cool wet cloth.
“Don’t rub your dirty hands all over my clean clothes!” Mom warned as she hopelessly pushed back wisps of hair.
She still stands there…very real in my imagination. She stands with her cut-out old milk jug stuffed full of clothes pins, hanging by an old cloth belt. (Just one of mom’s own inventions…recycling everything and wasting nothing.)
In my younger years, Mother’s Day meant gathered dandelions and home-made “I Love You, Mommy!” paper cards.
Now that my mother has been gone for 11 years, this holiday is full of emotion along with some dread. It’s a bombardment of feelings and a faucet of tears.
I tell myself, “Maybe this year will be different…maybe this year it won’t ache so much” but that’s not true and it’s all too real.
I often look at my own mother’s life and wonder how she lived so brave. Her own mother gone when my mom was just 24 and starting her own journey in motherhood.
I remember the day I found my mother standing at the sink. Her hands in warm, sudsy water, wiping dishes clean and letting unwiped tears fall into the sink below.
I had snuck up behind and stood silent, “What’s wrong, Mom?”
Her tear soaked eyes turned my way and she whispered, “I just miss my mom.”
At the time, it struck me odd but now it strikes me deep and my heart whispers the same.
This Sunday, we celebrate Moms.
Restaurants will be full and greeting card aisles will be picked over. Dandelions will be delivered by the fistfuls and hugs will be given with kisses exchanged.
For many, the day will be beautiful…as it should be.
Yet today, my heart goes to those who for the first time or the 100th time will be missing Mom.
If I could reach through these type-written words and into your real life world, I’d whisper:
- It’s okay to miss her.
- It’s okay to ache and have tears fall.
- It’s okay to wish you had her back.
- It’s okay to not be okay.
She may be gone from this place, but she’s not gone from your heart so remember her.
- Tell her story… let her live on through your words.
- Write her your own Mother’s Day card
- Plant something living and watch it grow
- Light a candle in memory of her
- Remember her well and then…live bravely.
Live brave on the swing set of life. Swing high and jump far. Throw your head back in delight and giggle from your belly.
It will bring you joy…. and that’s what she’d want for you!
Happy Mother’s Day, with love!