Tribute to My Mom on Mother’s Day …

When you are a little girl, and if you are lucky enough to have the kind of mom that I have, your mom is your protector. You look to her for support and comfort and answers. You watch what she does and how she does it, and you want to be like her. If you have the kind of mom that I have, she encourages you to be like yourself, and to be who you are.

When you are a little older, in your teenage years, you suddenly find yourself pushing away from your mom. Something inside of that adolescent and rebellious body wants to yank that mom away, because you are striving to be independent, and you don’t want to feel like you need her. You watch what she does and how she does it, and you do the opposite. If you have the kind of mom that I have, she is hurt by this, but she understands that it is necessary in order for you to become who you truly are. So she steps back, and waits.

mom seventies

When you are old enough and you decide to leave your small town life and attend college for theatre and live in NYC, she is sad that you are leaving and that you will now live 4 hours away. But this is not what she focuses on. Instead, she takes you on a trip to NYC to look at colleges, and to make sure that this is really something you want and something you can handle. She comes to all of your plays and visits often. She encourages you to live your dreams, and tells you she is proud of who you have become.

When you are 35, and you have fallen in love and decide to marry the man that you plan on sharing the rest of your life with, your mom supports your choice to have the wedding in New York, and she co-officiates it, and finds a seamstress friend of hers to make your original “Christmas, silver-toned” wedding gown. She fixes your veil about 45 times in a row, when it keeps falling off in the wind, and she doesn’t mind at all when you finally say that you hate the veil and don’t want to wear it anymore. She takes in your husband like a second son, and makes him part of the family – the kind of family that he never got to have growing up. She makes him his favorite meals on his birthday, and wraps up gifts in a stocking for him on his first Christmas with you, and dances the “mother-son” dance with him on his wedding day, because his own mother is too dysfunctional to attend. She spends the next four and a half years loving you, as she always did – and loving your husband, as if she always had.

mom shower carmines

When you are 39, and you wake up one horrific morning to find that you are suddenly widowed, your mom is your rock. Your breath. Your sanity. She is the first phone call you make, when the nurses hand you the phone in that tiny, private room where your world changed forever. She is stunned into silence, and she is in her car immediately, driving the 4 hours to get to you, so that you don’t have to be alone for any longer than a person should be. She holds down the fort at your apartment, and handles the chaos and the fog of friends and people that fill the living room, not knowing what to say or do. She becomes the buffer that they talk to while you run into the bathroom, run the shower water, and sob. She stays with you in your apartment, so that you don’t have to face that first – or second – or third night, alone, with the knowledge that he is not coming home. She puts aside her own pain in order to let you feel yours. She is your protector. You don’t know how to walk or breathe or speak anymore, and so , just like when you were a little girl, she shows you. She allows you to become who you are, all over again.

veil

In the coming weeks and months and years after the death that rocked your universe, she helps you put the pieces of your life back together. She tells you over and over that you always have a home there in Massachusetts, with them. When you tell her that you NEED to stay in New York and pursue your dreams, now more than ever, she supports you and worries about you and tells you she is proud. She never tells you how to feel, and never tells you to “get over it” or that it’s “time to move on.” In fact, she often says: “I cannot imagine how you feel.” She reads everything that you write so that she can attempt to understand better how you might feel. She thanks the friends and family that have stuck by you, and comes to your defense against those that haven’t. She never judges you, or tries to change your mind or heart on how you need to process and feel. She doesn’t take it personally when you decide it is too painful to spend your first, or second, Christmas with the family – the way you had done for years. She is probably hurt by this, but she understands that this is necessary in order for you to become who you are now – and she comprehends that you will never be the same person that you were, before you lost “your person”, to death. She does whatever she can to help you, and she understands that sometimes, she simply cannot help you.

I am writing this today, not only to let you know how much I love you and how aware I am of what a beautiful mom I have, but also to show you how much you HAVE helped me. Thank you for being the kind of mom that promotes these kinds of words. Thank you for always supporting me in becoming the person that I needed to become, and then become again.

mom

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