It’s funny, I guess. After all these years I sit here thinking about my mother while drinking my morning coffee. If she was here today she’d be sitting across from me clouded in a thick layer of cigarette smoke with her black coffee handing out sage advice much like Yoda. She’s been gone for 8 years on Valentines Day this year. The day she passed I wrote that God chose to take the sweetest woman that ever lived on that day because Heaven needed her love more than we did. I was an Atheist then, and like many other parts of my life that’s changed too. That’s a different story all together I might share one day.
I didn’t imagine growing up I’d end up like my mother in any way. My hats off to her. I couldn’t imagine being a single mother with two boys. Despite what my ex-wife tells people I knew a little of her struggle just based on taking care of my own two sons. Despite the fact we were married, and what she tells her new friends or people who don’t know me personally, that’s what I did. I took care of our boys because it’s what was best for all of us. One mutual friend once told her that he didn’t even think she liked our kids. Despite that fact I don’t in any way want this to be about my ex-wife. The truth is I wish her well, and hope she gets all she deserves in life.
Today, however, my mothers memory hangs close. It’s like her spirit is here watching me, following me around the house as I turn off lights, take dishes to the sink, and laundry to the basket. I could hear her laugh from beyond, or maybe it was the tiny dog next door barking, either way I could see her in the hallways of my mind with her cigarette hanging from her mouth yelling at my brother and me about becoming responsible men. I can only imagine as many things we’ve done to make her proud that there is a bigger list that would shame her. I don’t think she’d ever show it if she was ashamed, but I know the look she’d gives us with that crooked head tilt, and cigarette dangling from her lips. She would be looking at us over the top of her glasses daring us to keep acting up. We did way too often, and we knew the results of our behavior all too well.
As loving as she was she could be just as wrathful. Looking back though I can see more of the love than the punishment. I suppose I just choose to remember it that way. Why keep all of that sadness in my heart. Maybe that’s why I sit here writing about turning off lights. After the third light I just shook my head and laughed. I see so much of her in the way I talk to my kids, looking over my glasses with that warning glare, and screaming “OI” when they start to argue. I want to keep holding them close as they age, just wishing they would stay young a little longer.
I hold this black cup of coffee as a salute to you this morning, Mom. Although it’s not laced with Wild Turkey, and I don’t smoke, I can see you sitting across from me. If times were different I’d spend one more day listening to your Yoda like advice over a bowl of your award winning chili, and you telling me to get off of my fuck fat ass and go to work.
I can hear your voice, and I wonder if we are really so different?
Here’s to you Mom…