As we drew near the annual holiday, I found I missed her more each day. Many times I found myself wishing I could just pick up the phone as I once did. Even though I can't, I do sometimes still talk to her when no one else is watching. Oh, how I wish I could hear her replies!
Of course, with the missing come the memories. An early one comes from when I was about four. Some of the kids in the neighborhood were into the books featuring Doctor Dan and Nurse Nancy. Looking at them, I told Mom I might like to be a nurse. Teasing me, she said I was too squeamish for that. I took umbrage, insisting I'd grow out of that, and she said, "Then why not be a doctor?" In the mid-50s, this was not a popular position, but Mom saw no reason why her daughters couldn't do anything her sons could. That attitude stuck with me.
Around that same time, our family was in a car accident. On a narrow, graveled mountain road, Dad skidded on gravel, went up onto the side of the mountain to avoid plunging down the other side, and rolled the car as a result. When the dust settled, we crawled out through the windows to take stock. Dad was okay. My little sister had some bruises, but she was fine. So was I and Mom said she was. Since it seemed no one was injured, we all hiked to where we could summon help. Only after we were home did Mom mention the stiffness in her neck. It turned out two vertebrae were fractured. She lived with neck pain the rest of her life, dealt with it, and seldom said much about it.
Mom made most of my clothes, even when I reached the age for formal dances. My "homemade" prom dresses were every bit as stunning as my friends' off-the-rack examples or even moreso, since Mom was excellent at the sewing machine. Both my sister and I benefited, though Mom stopped short of tailoring my brothers' suits. I'm certain she could have.
It seemed Mom could do everything well. She and Dad laid their own circular driveway, studded with pebbles gathered at the beach. She made rag rugs and eclairs and the best apple butter you can imagine. She painted walls and pictures, canned mountains of fruits and vegetables, and did most of it while teaching full-time. Hundreds of adults can read today because they were in Mrs. Hubbard's first grade classes.
Like most mother-daughter relationships, ours was complicated. I was the oldest child and was therefore expected to be perfect, an expectation I found impossible and confining. Mom and I saw the world in very different ways, a matter which bothered her endlessly.
Nevertheless, as this Mother's Day came and went, I missed her. Terribly. And wished I could share a few minutes with her once again. If you still have your mother, why not give her a call. Today, while you still can.