I don’t have a specific story about my mother. Most writers seems to, if essays and memoirs are any indication. They always start similarly: “I remember my mother standing at the end of the backyard, where the manicured grass gives way to the chaos of the field, her white dress billowing in the prairie wind. Arms folded, concern etched into her soft features, she watches as my brother and I disappear over the rise and into the wilds.”
Or: “Mother always clutched the edge of the kitchen counter when father came home. As if she needed to channel the strength of the formica to deal with this man, this beast, her husband. When she went to fetch him his first drink of the night I used to run my hand along the tiny ridges that her fingers left behind, cherishing what remained from the warmth of her touch.”
Beautifully written, perhaps, certainly evocative, but almost painfully over-dramatic. Why do we never seem to remember mothers in their best moments, the most important ones? The moments when they bring us juice without asking. When they pick up the toys we’ve left behind. When they teach us to tie our shoes despite our die-hard adherence to the wonders of velcro. When they smooth that patch of hair that always sticks up but that we can never see. When they set out clothes for us every day until we learn to dress ourselves. When they tell us we’re the best even if we don’t believe it. When they tell us they love us even if we don’t understand why. When they show us that love every day of their lives in ways both small and large.
This is why I don’t have a specific story of my mother to share. There are too many! All equally importamt. At best, I can share a feeling: Love.
Happy Mother’s Day!