I have now started, edited and deleted this post about half a dozen times. For how can I put into words the essence of The Mama. The other night, over dinner, we sat around with the track guys and took turns describing our mums. It was fascinating.
me: "My mom is...welllllllll, she's all over the place. She's kind of crazy. She's hardworking. She's A Lot. She's giggly. She's generous...."
The thing is, I could spend an hour describing my mum. And I actually love talking about her-she's kind of hilarious and from 5000 miles away, it keeps her memory alive.
I often imagine that one day I'll write a book about my mum. (She'll obviously get The Big Head as soon as she reads this blog. But whatever.) She loves being the center of attention (though she pretends she doesn't. HA. So I imagine one small part of her would take a book written all in her honor as her due. Double HA-because we all know this is true.)
The thing is, my mum can drive me crazy like none other. There's a lot more I could say about this, but let's just not. Maybe we've been to hell and back together, but maybe the hell was something we created just between the two of us. Who can say.
We have always had a multi-layered, complicated relationship.
Aren't most relationships, that go to any depth, at least a bit complex?
It's amazing this capacity of the human heart-to be so infuriated and yet so full of love for another being.
But today I just want you to see, hear, smell, taste all the wonders of The Mama so you can understand why I love her with my whole heart.
I remember a childhood of green, green grass and sunny spring days.
I remember summers at the pool and folding piles bulletins in the halls of the church for my secretary mother.
I remember being ridiculously poor (*yes, even though I grew up in North America and always had a roof over my head*) and my mum making some very questionable money decisions-like buying a shopping cart full of food with a bad check and then begging her friend for a loan.
But she gave up any teensy ounce of luxury she could have had for herself and gave it all to my sister and me. Not once, not twice, but for years. She gave and gave and gave herself to the bone.
I remember long walks on a country road, all lines leading to my childhood home. And later we would walk the streets of Athens and Turkey and Hawaii too. She is always faster, walking with a purpose, a woman with places to go, looking back for me to catch up.
I remember hours of looking through her old year books, fascinated with the story of her, this Mama who was voted "Best Smile" in her high school.
I remember a mum who took me to the library to get as many books as I wanted, to far away adventures like museums and science galleries. I remember a mum who taught me to not spend money I didn't have (despite the aforementioned story), to mind my manners, to never ever lie.
When I was little, I didn't stop talking; now that I am older, we've switched talking roles this Mama and I. She's now the chatty one.
She loves us almost too much, honest-to-God. She loves and gives and cares and sees us through to the ends of anything.
My mom is more courageous than she even knows, a mighty woman of determination and strength.
She can do anything she sets her mind to.
She may not ever see it, but I do and I stand in awe.
Mama has kept going through the hardest, through the shadows of the valley of death to find the peace that only lies on the other side.
So this Mama and me-with our complex past, our crazy present-we fight, we make up, we keep going. She gets sad across the miles because I never say "HI" enough. And even after all this time, all these scars, all this mess, I still hate telling her goodbye. As a grown-up girl in my own right, I've cried more than once in the past few years when we've parted ways. She gets under my skin, and maybe I get under hers too, but she is in my heart, in all the deepest places.
I cry for the childhood I had and all the sweet memories.
I cry for the space between us.
I cry because I don't know if my mum will ever really see herself as I do-as brave and strong and true.
I cry because a girl still needs her mum, even when she's off adventuring on her own.
And I am ever grateful that of all the mothers in this whole world over, I have The Mama to call my own (and to be shared with sister. Of course.)