A Greeting For Mom A Week Early

The author’s mother Joyce with new friends in Thailand. Photo from Jade Moon

The author’s mother Joyce with new friends in Thailand. Photo from Jade Moon

I’ve always been a forgetful person. Maybe that’s why, when I can’t remember where I put my phone or can’t find my car in the parking structure, I don’t worry that I’m getting Alzheimer’s. It’s just normal for me. I’ve been this way forever. Sometimes it’s just inconvenient. At other times it’s embarrassing.

Which is why I learned long ago to write everything down. I mean everything. I used to jot lists on pieces of paper, which I’d promptly lose. Hey, don’t pretend you haven’t been there!

That’s why I’m writing this Mother’s Day column a whole week in advance. I’ll forget if I don’t do it right-the-heck now. And, in fact, I started thinking about this because I (again!) misplaced my phone and had to go tearing around the house looking for it. I thought of Mom, who would crow about it, and say, “See? Now you know what’s it’s like to grow old!”

Sorry, Mom. I’ve been losing things forever. I will swear up and down it has nothing to do with age. Not yet. Am I in denial? Maybe. Who knows?

But getting back to the reason for this column. As I was listening to Mom (in my head) rib me for forgetting, I suddenly was flooded with memories of things I had forgotten. Things that never, ever should be forgotten.

My earliest “Mom memories” go back to when I was a toddler. Anyway, I think I was a toddler, but I can’t be sure because the only things I have to go by are ephemeral flashes of image and sound and feelings.

I was sick with what I think now must have been the flu. I remember nausea, and burning up, and then shivering with cold. I remember crying, and being rocked, a voice singing softly. Warmth. Comfort. I must have slept. When I woke up, the fever had broken. Mom cradled me. She wiped the sweat away with a warm, damp towel and wrapped me up in something soft. And I felt, without having the words, that I was all right.

When I was in grade school, I was terrified I might not make an “A” in math. (I must have been a neurotic little kid, but that’s a different story.) The possibility I might not be perfect in something bothered me so much I could-n’t sleep. I worried. And worried. I worried so hard I made myself sick. Finally, I sat up in bed and started to cry. Loudly. Heartbreaking (or so I thought) wails and tears. Of course, Mom heard my dramatic sobs and came in to check. I remember – so, so vividly – being held tight in her arms, enveloped by softness and strength. And while I can’t recall her exact words, I will never forget the feeling she gave me that, no matter what, I was loved. I didn’t have to be perfect. She would love me and protect me forever.

Things happen in life. People change, they leave, they come back. They fight. They make up. Sometimes it breaks my heart that I know there were times when I’ve hurt my mother by being selfish, or neglectful, or ungrateful, or just plain mean.

The good thing is, age really does bring something that resembles wisdom. I know that, despite our many differences, we share a bond that is unbreakable. It’s called love.

Mom, you are amazing – strong and kind, with a childish innocence that I once found irritating, but I see now makes you special. It’s a privilege to be your daughter.

I didn’t want to forget, so here it is, a little early. Happy Mother’s Day.

Now, where the heck is my phone?

Twitter: @JadeMoon1