Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of my mom’s death and it’s got me thinking about a lifetime of memories. I’ve written about my complicated relationship with my mother in missing Mommie, but today I’m not thinking about the unanswered questions.
Today I am simply remembering her. Remembering specific moments with her. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done her a disservice by talking about my conflicts with her, with my feelings about her, and not talking about the memories. Because even though the conflicts were many, the memories are too.
Fox in Socks is my all time favorite Dr Seuss book because of her. I was either in kindergarten or first grade, my brother was three or four. She sat with us to read this book, got tongue twisted beyond our imaginations and we laughed until we were collapsed in a heap in the floor.
She never read it again, but laughed about that moment for the rest of her life.
I learned to love Elvis because of her. She would play records and we would dance and sing until we were worn slap out. These moments were rare, seeing her be joyful simply for the fun of it. She never let herself go, always kept a tight reign on her emotions. Even then these little moments were sacred to me, I understood without really knowing how precious they were.
She never read us bedtime stories, she didn’t like to read aloud. Instead she would often use dolls or action figures to tell us stories at bedtime. My brother would scoot into my bed ready for the story. Sometimes she used my brother’s Weebles, or our Fischer Price people to tell the stories. But my favorite stories always starred I our bendy Evel Knievel and Derry Daring figures.
(Is it just me or were toys cooler in the 1970s than they are today?)
I would become distraught (I am in no way exaggerating.) when Grandaddy would get on an airplane to go on a trip. I would stand at the gate waving at him through the window until the plane took off and then I would completely loose my mind. I was all tears and hyperventilation and the way she had decided to console me was to take me to Toys R Us for a color book and new box of crayons. And even as an adult, I would receive a new box of crayons and a color book any time there was something serious going on. When I went to have my hysterectomy I got the big box of 64 and five brand new color books. She wanted to make sure I enough to keep me occupied.
After I was already married but before Thing 1 came along, she and I went on a road trip and documented it with video. I laughed more with her in the car those four days than I can even believe! We were positively punchy but it all made sense. I don’t know what ever happened to that old vhs tape, I wish I had it though. It would be fun to laugh with her again.
My memories of my mom are a gift. All the memories, the good ones and the complicated ones. I’m lucky to have them. I was lucky to have her. I’m not sure if I told her that. I know she knew because moms just know those things, but it might have been nice to say it out loud.