This Sunday, October 25, marks the 74th anniversary of my mom’s birth. This will be the first such date for me without her.
It has now been seven months since she passed away. The tears are fewer and farther between, but they still come at random, and sometimes inopportune moments. One day I was standing on a street corner waiting for the pedestrian light to change so I could cross. As I stood there, I saw a mother primping her little prince, doing that thing only moms do. She licked her fingers and swiped them through his hair as the world’s least expensive, but most wonderful hair product ever created. She then used this same miracle elixir to clean off what was probably dried mustard from his face.
It was as if I was Ebeneezer Scrooge being led down a path where I could see my own memories being acted out in front of me. I knew exactly how that boy felt.
Oh mom, c’mon. I’m fine. I don’t like my hair like that. Oh, and by the way, the sandwich you made for me today was really good! Especially the mustard!
Sometimes it takes us many years to learn to appreciate what we had as kids. I know many people who had very difficult lives growing up. My heart aches for them. I had an embarrassment of riches when it came to the love I had from my mom. She drove me everywhere. All my practices, all my games. She was always my biggest fan.
One summer during my vacation from elementary school, she bumped into a friend at the grocery store who was a staff member at the Boys Club in Petaluma, where I spent a lot of my boyhood time. He was taking a group of kids from the Boys Club out to Bodega Bay for an overnight camp out, and picking up a few last minute items before they headed west for the beach. For some reason, we were unaware of the trip, but he welcomed me to join them. Unfortunately, they were already on their way, and I was still at home. Mom came home, told me about the trip, helped me pack a bag, and just like that, she’s driving me out the winding roads toward the beach. For the one and only time in my life, I got car sick that day. My mom is driving like a mad woman along the coastal roads, and I’m hanging out of the car window sprinkling the roadside with my breakfast.