GAYS MILLS - Last Sunday marked a couple of milestones in my world. It was the second birthday of the one and only Thatcher and it was my second Mother’s Day; and my third without my own mom.
Technically, I guess it was my third Mother’s Day. My very first one was celebrated with Thatcher still in utero.
Chasca isn’t one to take holidays very seriously, so when I was extremely pregnant and hoping to get spoiled, I wasn’t that surprised when he didn’t even realize it was a ‘big deal.’
“What do you want me to do?!” he asked in desperation as we drove around the block three times in Viroqua.
Swollen and unreasonable, I responded in tears, “I want you just to know what you’re supposed to do, you’re supposed to take me to brunch and buy me flowers and rub my feet and stuff like that!”
Exasperated by my emotional state over a second breakfast, he parked and hauled me into a café on Main Street for an extremely expensive brunch, and a mimosa for him.
This year, he figured it out and let me sleep in. He didn’t make me change any diapers, fried me bacon and wrote out a heartfelt card. No pointless, unnecessary squabbling required.
I admittedly do have envious feelings of others who get to celebrate with their moms, take them to brunch, and buy them silly gifts and the like.
I usually avoid too many thoughts about my mom, as her loss is still painful and it’s a lot of emotions to unpack, but this year I let a little memory of my first year away from home seep into my mind.
My mom never was able to see any of my little shabby apartments in Madison, when I struck out on my own. Her demanding work schedule and later her stroke prohibited her from ever making the trip, but she diligently sent care packages full of dried foods, trinkets, clothes and money. And, she called a lot.
When I was unemployed and feeling the winter blues, she called me every day for a week, before she left for work to remind me to sit in my window 20 minutes a day and get some sun to make me feel better.
By the time spring and Mother’s Day had rolled around, I was living in a groovy little apartment off of Willy Street. From my kitchen window, I would look out to the lake.
I was 19 years old and working as a waitress. I was also partying too much with my friends and all around having the time of my life. I naturally forgot to call home as often as I should have on the cell phone my mom worked long hours as a nurse to pay for.
So one day, while shuffling around an overpriced boutique on State Street I found a handmade blank greeting card that had a fat little baby in a washtub on the front. My mom of course was a lover of excessively fat babies, so it instantly reminded me of her. I shelled out a few crumpled up dollars and quarters, I diligently hopped on my 1950s Volkswagen bicycle and took off for home, eager to write an old-fashioned correspondence.
I scratched out a pinhole view of my life, telling her about my apartment, my boyfriend, the crazy neighbors and the view of the lake. I told her how I’d love it for her to come some day soon and see it.
It was shortly after sending out that card that I got the call that my mom had a stroke and our relationship would be forever changed.
Much later, I found the card in her purse that she always kept at her side.
Although our relationship was turbulent as teenager-parent relationships often are. I find myself more often than not wishing that I could have gotten to experience life with her more in my 20s. Now as a mother myself, I remember the small things, like that card. It helps to remember the bond we did have for the time we had it.