As a little girl, I called her Mommy.
I remember lying on her bed with my head in her lap while she made her morning phone calls. She would stroke my hair and gently rub my face as she laughed with her friends and went about her business. I was quiet for no more than 15 minutes before I began my pouting, tapping her on her arm “when are you going to be done?” Afterall, I wanted her for myself!
She was patient with me.
Mommy was my whole world.
My heart jumped in excitement when she fetched me from school. And I would wilt in her absence.
We would pick up a wonderful woman, Mrs Oakes, who came to our house twice a week to help with housework (she made the BEST egg salad sandwiches ever!). In the era before seatbelt laws, I would hide behind the passengers seat and pretend I was a mouse. All the way back to our home, I would make mousey noises “Squeak! Squeak!” and Mommy and Mrs. Oakes would have a conversation about the strange sound coming from the back seat, “Must be a mouse who snuck into the car!” they would exclaim.
I picked flowers for her from our yard, my reward her smile when I handed them to her. Daffodils and lilacs were the favorite.
While I flourished under her loving care, I didn’t escape some of her well-known forms of discipline. If we didn’t finish our dinner, we would have to eat it for breakfast the next day. I recall slipping into the fridge later in the evening to sneak the peas on my plate which I knew wouldn’t taste good in the morning.
I lived out my adolescent and teen years in a house we moved to in the city when I was 10. I still attended the same school, but my relationship with my Mommy changed.
She was still the apple of my eye, but unbeknownst to me her marriage to my Dad was deteriorating. Always there for me when I needed her, I recall her darning socks by the light of her bedroom window or sitting at her desk balancing her checkbook. Her smiles were less frequent and the energy heavier. I sent her love and she gave it back to me as best she could. I called her Mom then.
When I was 24, Peter and I got married. Still unhappy in her own marriage, I reflect back and think it must have been hard for her to put her heart into the marriage of her only daughter when her own heart had moved away.
But she is a warrior determined to do what she views as best for her children and she gave us an unforgettable wedding experience.
A year later, she split from my Dad to marry her soul mate. Her smiles returned and she took up fly fishing, cribbage and an interest in port. (Happily, a few years after that my Dad married his soul mate.)
Her love and support through the years of our raising children, transitioning through careers and healing through the changes of life has been unwaivering.
She has always been there through all the angels have put before us.
I was once told by an astrologer that she is the perfect mother for me, although I didn’t need an astrologer to tell me that.
I call her “Maman” now. This is new in the last few years. Perhaps it’s a holdover from a past life we shared together in France.
My dear Maman, I am deeply grateful for all that give and all that you are. You are the BEST mother a girl/woman could ask for!
I love you, Maman!
Opening Presents on her birthday last week
And with 4 of her grandchildren (including my 2!)