Happy Mother's Day Mom
By Scott Anthony
It’s been a long time since you left us. I think about you a good deal.
Especially when springtime comes. That is a strong parallel for me, remembering when you placed plastic flowers in the planter on the deck because, though you had never truly cultivated a green thumb, you loved the look of the colorful blooms. And when Easter came, I made you a paper mache rabbit at school. He was big, silly and magenta-colored and you played a trick on me each morning by moving his location around the house so that I might think he was alive. I think about you each time I sit at the piano. The way you guided my fingers to the right keys to plink out a simple melody that, when you played it, sounded like a symphony. My heart swelled up when you praised me.
I’ve been seeking that feeling ever since.
Before Dad remarried, I was confused. I did the bad kid routine for a while, but my heart wasn’t in it. His new wife turned out to be a good choice. She was strong-willed and an excellent mother herself. I know that you picked her, not only because you knew her and liked her, but because it was also best for the family you left behind. She too, was proud of me and I did my best to take care of her, the same way she took care of all of us.
I hope that you might be proud of me too. Though I was too young to worry about that when you left. Now that I am older than you were when you passed, I wonder what you’d think of your hulking son. As the six-year-old who you made spaceman costumes for, the eight-year-old with a deep fever, who you enveloped in your body on the couch until my fever broke, this was an epiphany; you had the power to heal.
As a ten-year-old, you daubed face paint on me for a parade and at twelve years old, I watched as the ambulance came to take you, not knowing that you would not come back. I’ve grown up now, at least physically, and can only wonder what my life would be like if you had stayed to guide me. I think you would approve of my own choice in a partner. She’s like you in a number of ways. Beautiful, gentle and demure, she believes that tarot cards really do tell the future, that a good, long hug is better than an angry word. That sometimes, tea is better than coffee and that saying ‘I love you’ can never be said enough. I think I can feel you hovering near me, mom, when I make good decisions. You were there on my wedding day, you were there when I began donating to the Children’s Fund. You’re once skinny, buck-toothed boy is the part of you that still lives, still weaves his way through life trying to soak up the good and dodge the bad. When I drive past the place where you were laid to rest, I try to pick out the location of your headstone through the tall junipers and I feel guilty for not stopping each time. But when I do stop, I feel a little silly, placing a flower there and talking as though you could hear me. I don’t doubt that you do, but I know that I don’t need to be there to communicate with you. We are intertwined on a cellular level.
Wherever I go, you are with me.
I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day.