Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy birthday, Mom.

Every year for my mom's birthday, we plan to do something special to remember her life and what she means to us, even in death. We plan to have special food or do something meaningful.  Last year, the kids all made Grandma Lynn masks out of paper plates -- which I found equal parts hilarious and poignant.  

Her birthday would have been yesterday.  And yesterday found us leaving our visit with my friend Lauren and his fiancĂ©e Sara, after spending 3 days with them in Boston.  We were driving to Niagara Falls, a place I remember vividly visiting with my parents in childhood. I even remember our tour guide's name was Marina.

What strikes me every year is how there's a major Mom Theme that passes through the day, even when it wasn't planned.  Yesterday was about old friends and nostalgia.  Staying up way too late with Lauren and reminiscing. Bringing my children to new places and landmarks the way she did with me. 

I've decided I really appreciate this about her memory.  While we try to make some special event to commemorate her, it's the "themes" of my life that are most meaningful to me. Yes, we had a pizza party in the hotel room last night and talked about Grandma Lynn. But even more than those Special Event memories are the ways her memory is just imbued in every day life.  How she taught me to cherish persons in my life and explore the world.  

I miss her.  A lot.  And I cried several times yesterday talking about her.  When I told Simone how much I wish Grandma Lynn could see her 'big girl' self.  Simone was only 4 months old when my mom died.  Talking to Lauren about the last time I talked to my mom, when she was in the hospital right before she died, and how much it haunts me that my mom couldn't speak to me through the respirator.  She could hear me and responded to me - nodding and holding my hand.  But I can't fathom the frustration of knowing I was about to die and not being able to speak to my children.  

There is so much to miss about my mom.  But there is also so much goodness that sustains even after she was gone.  Ways she's remembered and honored in our life. And looking out our hotel room and seeing the falls, I have this overwhelming gratitude for what she meant to me.  Today, for me Niagara Falls represents the way we take the best things of our own lives and childhood, and pass them on to our children.