Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom memories

I'm four, sitting in my mom's lap, on our way home from Christmas Eve dinner and midnight mass with family.  It's cold outside and I'm very tired.  I lay against the faux fur collar of my mom's coat and fall asleep.

Playing outside on my bike with the training wheels.  I pull up to the side of our trailer home, riding on the sidewalk to our steps.  The bully of the complex pushes me off my bike and into the row of rose bushes lining our home.  I lay on my bed while my mom picks out all of the thorns from my back and legs. 

It's May and we're walking up to Johnson's U Pick farm.  We walk on to a dusty old school bus, buckets in hand and take the bumpiest ride through unpaved, gravel roads to our strawberry patch.  On hands and knees we find the little red treasures hiding in the straw covered rows.  Dreaming of the shortcake and jam that will come makes the boredom and sun bearable.

"God doesn't make junk."

In my bedroom, at 12 or 13, hearing the knock at the door.  She sits on the edge of the bed and says goodnight.  Asks about my day.  Five or ten minutes of time, with just her.  Saying next to nothing.  Waiting every night for that knock.

Shipped care packages -  boxes of my favorite store bought cookie, cashews, a five dollar bill, and a note from her during finals week.

Singing.  A snippet of a hymn, a chorus from a musical.  Every topic seems to have a piece of music that she recalls and inserts in the conversation. 

Little flashes of her.  Tiny bits.  Elusive memories.  A small collection of moments.  And yet the power!  The influence, the love, the confidence, the foundation that she set in place for me.  It's impossible to document how a person can speak to your soul, long after they're gone or how being seen so deeply and clearly can change you.  Trying to let the gratitude overtake the sadness.


  1. Oh, I love that, Lisa! I know that she was an amazing woman--look at her daughter!

    1. Thanks. The images just started popping into my mind today. You are definitely one of my favorite moms :).

  2. What lovely, lovely memories. I hope you had a splendid mother's day.

  3. Sis, that is how most of my memories of mom are too...just like bits and pieces and sometimes randomly inserted into my day. I get a little teary eyed when they hit but they always make me smile through the tears. She had a way of knowing when to say the right thing when you didn't even know you needed to hear it...she still does. "God dooesn't make junk" for sure.

  4. How do I not have this picture?! Make a copy for me please? My memories, unfortunately, are few. But the pictures help. Thanks for this.

  5. somehow I missed this post. i was good until I saw that picture. mostly sad because i don't really remember it. I do remember mom walking across the stage to get her Masters degree and knowing that what she was doing wasn't common. She was doing something special.

    my memories:
    sunlight shining through the living room window onto her glass shelf of plants. Her tending the aloe, asparagus ferns, prayer plants, and african violets. Always the african violets all around the house.

    cuddling on the couch watching and singing along to the Sound of Music or Mary Poppins.

    Breaking a favorite something of hers. Hiding in the bathroom waiting for her to find me. Afraid of her being mad or disappointed. Touched for the rest of my life by her response "Dont cry over broken things. I can always replace things but I can never replace you."

    that moment more than any taught me how I wanted to parent, how I wanted to be in the world. Take a breath, let go of anger and frustration. Communicate your love.

  6. you just made me tear up on that one. She really had some good one liners.