Monday, September 8, 2008

Memories of Mom

I woke up to the sound of Dexy crying "Mama, Mama, Mama" at 5:14am this morning.

This is not an unusual occurrence, but today I just didn't want to get up. I was in the middle of the most beautiful dream. I was in the entryway greeting our housekeeper and suddenly my mom was there too. Still an "old" woman, yes. But not as bad off as she'd been toward the end when Alzheimer's had stripped almost everything recognizable from her frame & face.

In my dream she was clear eyed, walking, alert and just totally "with it". She was wearing this blue & white seersucker robe, nylons, and white fuzzy slippers. Her hair was freshly washed & curled. She was smiling, but never said a word. I looked at Marta, and asked, "Do you see what I see?" I'm not sure if she answered, I was already scooping my mom into my arms. I wrapped them ALL the way around her, hugging her as tight as I could. I didn't want to let her go.

That's when I heard Declan calling for me.

I can't really explain to you how meaningful that dream was, except to say that generally when I dream about my mom, we are having an argument. This was sweet, it was palpable, it was so very much what I've been needing. A big warm loving hug from my mom. I also know that dream was a gift b/c I got to wake up feeling all that warm fuzzy hug stuff so that I could trudge bleary eyed down the hall, pick up my own daughter & pass it on to her, instead of just feeling irritated.

Unbelievably the one year anniversary of my mom's death came & went in July. Granted, I was dealing with my father's death right about the same time, so not surprising I sort of "missed" it.

I meant to post some kind of Ode To My Mom on her birthday but oops... it's been almost a month since that day came & went. Better late than never, right?

So, here are some things about my mom that I remember most/best:
  • Cody lipstick in gold tubes. She always wore the same shade & was never, ever without a fresh coat of lipstick (wish I could remember the color, even if Cody is long gone).
  • She always had a little smidge of lipstick on her front teeth, but she could also apply her lipstick picture perfectly without ever looking in a mirror. Of course, then she'd take a napkin to blot her lips which I never understood, since it pretty much took all the lipstick off. LOL.
  • Home perms (or permanent waves). She would always do them in the kitchen sink. I remember helping her w/ the back of her head more times than I can count, taking the little fuzzy rollers & crisp thin white paper, squirting the smelly solution all over each roller, then helping her rinse it all out later.
  • When she wasn't giving herself a home perm, mom got her hair "done"... every week, without fail, pretty much until a year or so before she died. She would go to a local salon and have her hair washed & set. Who does that anymore?
  • The way she smelled! Especially the saliva she would deposit onto a tissue or delicate cotton handkerchief to wipe my face off. It may sound gross to y'all, but I just loved the smell of her spit.
  • She had really narrow itty bitty feet for such a tall gal (AAA size 8).
  • She'd give me a sandwich baggie of coins (usually dimes) for my lunch money. Horribly embarrassing when you are 14 or 15. But, in hindsight how nice that my mom had lunch money to give me, regardless of its form.
  • She loved ice cream & she loved root beer, but root beer floats were her most favorite thing of all. Whenever she could make up an excuse (it didn't take much), she'd haul me off to the local A&W for a cool treat. Just the two of us.
  • She gave back to her community more any other mom I knew. Rick Rackers, Assistance League, Spinsters, PTA, The Wenches, Memorial Hospital Womens League, etc. I learned how to volunteer (& how to love it) from her.
  • My mom always dressed to the nines, even to get on a plane, or go to the doctor. Girlfriend never went anywhere without being put together. Hair & lipstick always just so. She loved the colors Navy blue, camel & beige, even though she was a "Winter" and really should have been wearing colors like fuchsia, violet blue or winter white.
  • Speaking of color, she would labor for YEARS over which color white to paint the house!
  • My mom had the MOST amazing blue eyes I've ever seen!
  • She was a great cook and she made a delicious full course sit down dinner almost every night (otherwise, we went out to eat as a family).
  • She loved cookbooks - she had several hundred of them - and loved trying new recipes, sharing recipes w/ her friends, or giving ME advice on how to cook something better. I learned how to cook many of her (and my grandmothers') recipes right at her knee, and those recipes are locked in my memory forever. I can cook them "by heart" even now.
  • She loved her own mother more than anything. Her dad died in 1944, her brother was off being a doctor in KS, so it was her and her mom against the world. She took care of her mom for 6+ years as she battled cancer (breast & lymphoma). She always swore that she would never "get over" her mother's death and I don't think she ever did.
  • Speaking of grandma. Mom told us wonderfully descriptive stories about "Pink" (as she was called), to the point that I felt as if I'd known her too. My favorite story was how she had always wanted a brown eyed child. Their family was all tall, blond & blue eyed. My Grandma died in July 1963, in the front bedroom of my mother's home. And in the fall of 1967, LA County Social Services sent me to my mom. I was brown eyed and my birthday was March 1st. Same day as my grandma. So I know I was sent to her, just as Dexy was sent to me.

That's all I've got for today folks! It's almost time to go get Dexy from school. Tomorrow is the Broker Tour (4 hour "open house" for real estate agents), so I have more cleaning & straightening up to do. Oh joy! Not. *snort*

What are some of the things about YOUR mom that are stuck in your memory banks forever?

5 comments:

mommypie said...

What a lovely tribute. You described her so well, I can visualize her so easily in my head.

And the dream? I totally believe some are little visits from the afterlife. Mamas always know what their little ones need.

shaunna said...

Okay, this post is amazing. A VERY beautiful tribute indeed. I was thinking the exact same thing as Mommypie there as I was reading it... a much needed visit and hug from Mom
:)

Ms. Single Mama said...

Beautiful.

I had a dream like that about my father a few months after he died. I could tell the difference between the real visits and just dreams.

This sounds like a visit.

I believe in that kind of stuff... and I LOVED your list.

My mom memory - (she's still here) so it will have to be her henna hair dye jobs and her uncanny ability to always make me feel better even when I'm totally down.

Ms. Single Mama said...

Beautiful.

I had a dream like that about my father a few months after he died. I could tell the difference between the real visits and just dreams.

This sounds like a visit.

I believe in that kind of stuff... and I LOVED your list.

My mom memory - (she's still here) so it will have to be her henna hair dye jobs and her uncanny ability to always make me feel better even when I'm totally down.

mommypie said...

What a lovely tribute. You described her so well, I can visualize her so easily in my head.

And the dream? I totally believe some are little visits from the afterlife. Mamas always know what their little ones need.