When I was little, maybe five, my hard working, take on any task despite the mid day sun in July Mom, decided that she was going to trim the wild roses that were growing well into the path to the garden. After several hours, she collapsed onto the grass. ( I have to admit that I don't actually remember this event, but she told me the story often. ) My Dad had a grocery store a short walk from the house but didn't find my Mom for some time. Fortunately when he did, he got her into the house and cooled her down and she made a full recovery. When she asked me why I didn't go for help I said, " I thought you were dead and I didn't want you to be by yourself." Have to love five year old logic.
I always wanted to be a Mom and the sweetest, most wonderful day of my life was the day that Shannon was born. I was twenty and all I knew for certain was that I had no idea that a heart could hold as much love as I had for that new human with the incredibly bright blue eyes.
Shannon was wise and gentle and brave and fierce and loved wide open.
When Shannon was four she flitted into her bedroom one spring morning while I was making her bed and announced quite matter of factly that she couldn't wait to get to Heaven. More than a little curious, I sat on the floor and she plopped into my lap. "And why is that?" I asked, noticing that she smelled like sunshine and Vanilla Wafers. "Because Mom, it's always warm, and they never turn the lights off." It was that simple.
How could I possibly be sad on Mother's Day? These two wonderful women hold my life in place, like the cover of a cherished book, hard bound, sturdy, beautiful, inviting... a cover that secures the chapters from beginning to end. Some of the chapters still unwritten but held together and inspired by my Mother and my Daughter.
In the last days of her life, my Mother said to me, "I love you too...so very much." The memories of those days are blurred by unfolding events that were beyond our control, but I will always hold dear those last whispered words.
My last conversation with Shannon, a lunchtime phone conversation was so ordinary. We planned her Monday morning job interview, where we were going to have dinner, what time she would be home from Gram's, what time I would be home from work, what time Denise would be there. But that conversation ended with "I love you Mom." The last words I would ever hear her say. We should all be so blessed.
Being Shannon's Mom is the most precious gift I will ever receive. Mother's Day can not be sad for me...even though I am without my daughter and my mother ~ it is a day of wonderful memories and tenderness.
We cannot know how life will unfold, so we allow the sorrows to become a part of us, as much as the joy. We allow life to teach us to live with more love than fear. We allow ourselves to be braver than we thought we could be and gentler than we ever imagined.
I so love the line from Steel Magnolias when Sally Field says of her daughter, " I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out."
We choose each other. How incredible that Shannon chose me to be her Mom for her whole life.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing women in my life.