1971, Christmas. I was 21, hadn’t met my husband yet. Mom was 63. These are from left to right Ralph (Buddy), Margaret Anne, Mom, me, Sharon Rose. Four of her five children in the same room, something that didn’t happen more than a handful of times. Missing from the photo was her first, Mary.
I wish I’d known Mom had 20 Mothers Days left. Had someone told me I would have called that a lot, that it was way far away. Twenty years are nothing in retrospect.
I wish I’d have made more of those 4 day weekend trips. We were only 500 miles apart, an 8 hour drive. Phone calls and cards were sometimes late. I had two little ones and time got away from me. Although we did call. We did visit. Just not enough when I look back.
I think she understood. I think, having been transplanted away from her family by 600+ miles and two states, she wasn’t surprised that visits were sometimes far apart.
I wish we’d taken better pictures. I wish we’d had digital cameras so we could keep snapping until we were all looking at the camera, nobody was talking and nobody got cut off. I wish we’d gone to a studio. Although there are studio pictures here and there, the vast majority of our collective memories are captured in shadow, on faded Polaroids, in black and white, somebody with their eyes closed.
I wish I could call her in the middle of the day on a week day and hear her ask “who died” because it was higher phone rates. If she hadn’t been in her 40’s when I came along unexpectedly, I wouldn’t have lost her in my 40’s and I could still visit. She’d be 103 now. Some things we can’t control.
I wish we’d had a movie camera.
I wish I’d listened more closely to her stories of her youth and the family. I did listen, but I wish I’d written them down.
I’m almost her age now that she was in the snapshot. Buddy’s gone. Sharon’s husband, gone. All our kids are grown. The good lookin’ husband I hadn’t met then has white hair now. Still my man.
My family got together for a week last year, 2010. I wanted a professional set of pictures, pro shots as well as snapshots. A mother-daughter pose, a father-son pose, a mother-son, a father-daughter, a girls only and a guys only, a Nana with the grandsons shot, a Poppy with boys, a three generation of men and of course the group, goofy and formal. I want. I didn’t get. I’ll try again next time to arrange it. I’ll even pay for it.
Sixty-three sounds old to the young. “Hey, Grandma, that’s almost to the end” from my four year old son to my mother-in-law when she turned 68. Yeah, well, you live long enough and at some point you’re almost to the end. I’m a ways away from the end. But once you cross the 44 line, statistically you’re halfway there. I am a ways away the other side of 44. I’m forty-twenty-one.
I do have a long term retirement plan in a dwelling place far far away close enough to visit Mom frequently. In the meantime, I wish I could see her face and wish her a Happy Mothers Day, like she’s moping around in HEAVEN!!!
So. That settled, here’s a happy wish to all the mothers of young ones, grown ones, new mothers, grandmothers, mothers to be.
All we ever have is the current. Love your moms now, don’t put it off. Take a picture of her, of yourself or kids, write down that you love her. Thank her for raising you. If the least you can do is send a picture in a card, send it.
And have a great day.