Sunshine – for all the mommas out there

I couldn’t tell you my age but I know I was young: a toddler in Mom’s arms. She sat with me in our shared bedroom at my grandmother’s house and rocked me in the old wooden chair while singing nearly in a whisper.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine …”

It was probably after she left my father. She packed a few of our things in a suitcase and we returned to my grandparents. She tried so hard to shield me from feeling broke and broken.

It must’ve been cloudy outside, because of the soft dewy light that hung in the air like mist before a rainstorm. I now know that there is an empty field outside of that window where neighbors parked their cars, a place where I searched for lucky four-leaf clovers as a six-year-old. But on this particular day my world was so small and focused. I only saw Mom surrounded by the light reflecting from dark clouds.

“You make me happy when skies are grey …”

Her voice was like a blanket warmed on the line. There were tears in her eyes over having to be both mother and father. Maybe she didn’t want to move back home with my grandpa and grandma. Maybe she didn’t want to give up on her marriage or admit to being wrong about the man she loved. She had to do what was best for us.

“You’ll never know dear, how much I love you …”

Mom had the softest touch. She tucked loose hairs behind my ears as she sang the words. Just the first verse, because it was her favorite part. Or maybe that was all she knew by heart. I can’t remember anymore.

There are other memories from Grandmother’s house: the claw-foot tub, the hutch with all the Avon bottles, Grandma cooking stuffed cabbage in the kitchen and the smell of onions and ground beef sifting through the house. None are like the memory of Mom rocking me. The biggest lessons come in the smallest moments.

My life is quite different from Mom’s. Justin, my husband, and I are best friends. And we don’t have financial problems like Mom did. But that isn’t to say we don’t ever deal with stressful situations. Right now we are in a transition stage: house is for sale, and another is under contract. We aren’t sure exactly what the future holds, but I know staying strong for my daughters is most important.

“Please don’t take my sunshines away.”

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day – a day that, to this day, is still very much a difficult holiday for me.  I find its hard to accept kind words and gifts for the job that I do as a mom, when the thing I’d like to do most is to tell mine that I love and miss her.  And if I could see her today I would tell her what a great mom she was to my sister and I.  I would wish her the best and happiest Mother’s Day ever, but I can’t do that anymore…

 I know that the world is a cruel place and I also believe that my mom was taken before her time.  She had so much to do here still; so much to teach, so many places to go and so much love to give.  I still ask why and the only reason I can manage to come up with is that maybe, just maybe, God had bigger plans for her.  My mom was a better mom than me in many ways and I am grateful for every single thing that she taught me.  She was kind, compassionate, giving, strong, funny and strict, somehow all at the same time.  I strive to be like her, or even better than her, even though sometimes I do fall short.  Sometimes I have a bad day.  Sometimes I yell.  And sometimes I even lock the bathroom door just for a moment of serenity.  Nobody’s perfect, after all.

 With that said, tomorrow still is Mother’s Day and I still will celebrate.  I will tell every mother I know that she is great, that she is doing a GREAT job.  I will tell every mom I know that she deserves this day to accept the appreciation and love, because she does the best she can.  Every day.

 Please don’t forget to remind the moms in your life that they are amazing, not only tomorrow, but as often as you can.  They need to hear it.  We need to hear it.

 Happy Mother’s Day.