“Your Mother would be so proud of you”

31 Jul

I’ve never heard these words, or seen them in reference to myself until last night.

When my mother was alive, she hung out with a woman I’ll call Lea. Lea had a daughter my age, more or less, so it made sense to chum around I suppose. Looking back on it now, I’m not sure what my mother and Lea had in common, but perhaps it was nothing more than motherhood in a small town. I’ll never really know. Another thing I just can’t know.

Lea’s daughter appeared on facebook, then Lea herself. A blast from the past, a woman I knew so slightly. A woman who used an old nickname, something only my father called me when I was a child. I felt discomforted, and wondered why.

I am made awkward by my past.

I don’t recognize it. It knows me, but I can hardly remember it. I’m talking to someone who remembers all the grand things we did, and I can hardly conjure up their name.

Lea sent me a message wondering when I’d come home with the girls, if ever. I’ve thought about this a lot, and really don’t feel comfortable about it until they’re a bit older, and I’m in a bit better shape to handle it. My mother’s memory is embedded in that town-it’s houses and stone walls, it’s riverbanks and swollen creeks. She lived and died for me there-her bones turning to ash as we speak, likely only ribbons of the sapphire dress she was buried in left to rot in her casket. Her life, my life, was defined by where I grew up. The air is heavy with her.

I cannot walk those streets without the rush of years upon me. I can’t explain this to my daughters this young. Should I point to where my mother sat, all those years long stolen, as she waited for me to dawdle home? Should I point to where she picked me up from school after I puked up the hotdogs I was allowed? Can I sit them on her grave and tell them to lay down and talk to her, tell her their stories, show themselves?

Lea responded with the usual responses about missing my mother as well, the promises she made to her to help look after us (failed utterly) and how I was a great kid, and now a great mother. How my mother would be proud.

Immediately, I burst into tears to hear the words I didn’t know I had waited almost 20 years to hear. That I am doing what my mother would have wanted. That I am a person my mother would be proud of, a daughter she could stand up for and say “She is my daughter, my girl. She fills my heart, and brings me joy.”

The ache. The sheer ache of missing my mother in those words, missing “the mother”, the woman to guide you, who should feel for you, help you, tell you that yes, you have value and yes, you will find your way. The woman who talked to my mother as another woman, and as another mother, echoing what my mother would have told me cut deeply into me, but healed something else, allowed me to let go of yet another breath that I have been holding.

Times like this I wish my mother would have left something for me-letters, stories, pictures, video, something more than the visitor log book from her wake. I do not know her! I don’t have the chance to know her either-my father is pretty closemouthed, but he is here. I never even had that small chance.

But why do I drive to know them? Why do I crave their acceptance and pride so much? Why is this so important that it springs me to tears at the thought?

But for today, knowing that Lea is right, that my mother IS proud of me, that’s enough.


10 Responses to ““Your Mother would be so proud of you””

  1. Marcy July 31, 2007 at 8:50 am #

    That’s a long overdue message, and I’m glad it finally came.

  2. sweetsalty kate July 31, 2007 at 9:18 am #

    Bear with me as I start this point to you with a little background: lately I’ve been imagining that my Grampa and Grandma Joe, on the other side, have been reading the blog and sitting with Liam on their laps, proud of us, helping him to know mama and dada and his brothers as he waits for us.

    I know you’re not the heaven-type (neither am I, in the white beards and cottonballs sense) but can you imagine how fit to bursting your mom would be if she read these words? All of them, all your writing?

    Now that I know loss, I know this in the root of my being, that we’re being accompanied. You are too Thor, I know you are. And in the same way that my Grandma Joe manipulated the fates to have her twin-mama love sent to me through an old letter, your mom put you in the path of Lea to send you that message. Maybe you’ll think me trite to think of things this way, but I’m fixed on it, sure of it like nothing I’ve ever known before.

  3. Mad Hatter July 31, 2007 at 9:50 am #

    What a beautiful post.

  4. Kim July 31, 2007 at 10:13 am #

    yes. yes. YES!

    and mothers ARE proud, aren’t we? proud of our toddlers and our adult children. living with my MIL this summer has reminded me of that fact…. even when my husband is acting like a complete ass, she still guards the last of the asparagus risotto for him.

    like kate i can feel the lost people pressing through edges of our waking lives, being proud and scared and saving us the best leftovers.

    of course your mother is proud. LOOK at what you’ve made.

    ps- thanks for the i love you link yesterday

  5. Amy July 31, 2007 at 12:35 pm #

    Wow. So cool. It gave me goosebumps. What an amazing gift you recieved.

  6. Jen July 31, 2007 at 3:27 pm #

    What wonderful words for you to hear–I am absolutely beside myself happy for you.

  7. jen July 31, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    what a lovely post about something we all want (and need) but don’t always get.

  8. thordora August 1, 2007 at 2:19 pm #

    It was a nice gift to have actually. Except for the follow up message where she starts talking about how my mother always talked about bringing me home to Ontario. Which would be great if that was MY adoption story and not my brother’s. 🙂

  9. 7/16 din connector loss February 5, 2015 at 7:16 am #

    Wireless Charging. Sales@aethercomm.com. B.


  1. Martyr to mother « Spin Me I Pulsate - August 26, 2007

    […] Remember Lea? The one who knew my mother? Apparently she’s committed to filling me full of memories of my mother, what she knew, how she knew her. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable in some ways. […]

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