I'm thirty eight years old and I've now lived half my life without my mom. My memories grow fuzzier with every year that passes and all of the new memories I'm storing. I remember that she wore a blue bathrobe that always had kleenex in the pockets. She used hand lotion religiously. She and I decided that sandwiches always taste better if someone else makes them, so we always made them for each other. When I was in high school she would come home on her lunch breaks during the summer and we would watch Days of Our Lives and eat cottage cheese. She had beautiful feet.
My brother and I were theatrically afraid of bees. When they got trapped in our house, she would assume an alter ego (De-Bee!) and wield two flyswatters to valiantly slay the offending insects.
She never played basketball with me. I am also fairly certain that she and her friends did not waste their time questioning their ability to mother us. I'm pretty sure that they just woke up in their Pinterest-free worlds and got the hell to work doing whatever felt right. I imagine that defining yourself as a mother back then was a lot simpler than it is today. But I'll never get to hear her thoughts on this.
I have friends who free-range, I have friends who helicopter. I have friends who push and friends who nudge gently. I drive my kids around from activity to activity a lot more than I'd like to. I wish my kids would eat more vegetables. I compare myself to strangers on the internet and catch myself feeling superior or inadequate. I wonder what my kids will remember about me.
I wear a purple bathrobe with kleenex in the pockets. It's a good thing too, because my eyes well up when my kids present me with my Mother's Day cards. Some of it is simply sappy sentimentality (I get this from my mom), but with each Mother's Day comes a familiar empty pang that gets swallowed into the happy tears.
Today we went hiking.
Yes, earbuds. Earbuds!
And then, of course, I played basketball with Jack.