Everything — and nothing — is the same
This year, there won’t be a last-minute rush to get a Mother’s Day card out for you, just like there hasn’t been a rush for years.
You kept the cards your grandchildren sent you each year, I know, I found them. Sister’s kids were much better at this card-sending than my kids were, clearly a reflection on the clever mom who got them to write.
This year, I probably won’t cry either, or suddenly disappear right in front of my family’s eyes, as a memory with volcanic force takes over. This is yet another Mother’s Day without you, and my rising thoughts about us are much more complex these days, just like you said they would be.
This year, I have weeded out even more of your belongings, although there are some things of yours that are still around. Your bottle opener is still used, and your tea towels, but I’ve completely worn out your whisk. And the Paul Revere Ware pots have finally burned through. You did say you bought those post-WWII, didn’t you? I replaced them with more copper-bottomed pots, just as you would like.
There are two oil paintings hanging in my house that also had place of honor in yours, but the painting with the swans now has a huge tear in it. You would hate that I’ve not had it repaired, that my eccentric elf doll with the big pointy ears now sits on the ornate gilt frame. One lanky elf leg hangs down and covers that rip.
I like it that way.
The furniture that was passed down to you, that now is passed down to me, is still polished with lemon oil, if less often than when you stewarded these pieces…
…and I hate to say, but the green velvet chair from your room broke. Teenager hijinks, one afternoon. It sat in the garage for ages, waiting for me to fix, just like your pile of projects-to-do sat — the pile I took from your house and kept for six years, thinking I’d complete your task. The project-pile eventually disappeared, un-fixed, at one summer’s garage sale. You would have crowed at the price I got for that junk…
…that junk that had potential, I know.
The velvet chair disappeared, too, but not before I spent years thinking I would fix it, replacing the horsehair seat, the one with the dent of your rear-end-shape in it, for a seat of softer foam. I kept thinking, “I’ll eventually establish my own rear-end-shape on that chair...” but never did.
The chair seemed to belong in only your room, and that room is gone.
I still prefer your pearl earrings to mine, even though yours are clip-ons. They match the pearl necklace Husband gave me on the one Mother’s Day you witnessed between us. I still suspect that necklace was all show for you, as there has not been the slightest sign of jewels on any holiday since.
And yes, I can hear you retorting: “Your husband is a saint, you should be grateful for that man.”
I am grateful, Mom, I am. I am grateful for all of my blessings, just like you taught me to be.
Lastly, your garnet earrings? I wore them to a wedding last summer where they shone brightly amidst the compliments. I never did see you wear them, I wonder why not? They are so stunning, if not a little old-fashioned.
You would have liked how I pulled myself together that day with those earrings, my burgundy velvet sheath dress, a chenille shawl for the evening chill. I even wore the mascara you kept telling me throughout my hippie years to put on ‘to feel better’…
and yes, I still roll my eyes at that ‘feel better’ part. But I did feel beautiful dressed in your jewels.
We never did gather together on Mother’s Day, once I grew up and moved cross-country, and we won’t be at your table this year. You’re not here.
Oldest Son has inherited your gift for gathering people for meals, dinner will be at his house. I’ve already been instructed not to be late, as I have inherited your penchant for the last-minute rush.
All in all, everything’s the same, this year as last and on down the line — even the same as when you were still alive and we got together for Mother’s Day by phone.
Yes, pretty much, everything’s the same.
…and no, nothing is the same — without you.