“I can pinpoint that as the single happiest moment of my life, because I realized then that Mom would always have my back. It made me feel giant. I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I should have fallen, but I didn’t fall, because Mom was in the world.” ― Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
8 years without Mom, and this was one of the hardest. First, with the pregnancy, and the baby shower, and the labor and all the firsts. I would’ve loved to talk to mom about all the weird little aches and pains and see what she remembered about her own pregnancies. She would’ve made something for Bonnie – a blanket or a onesie, or a hat, or all three. She would’ve stressed through the whole process and then we both would’ve cried when she gave it to me. She would’ve been there at the hospital. I think she would’ve liked Bonnie’s name. I know Bonnie would’ve liked her. She would’ve stayed for awhile and helped me figure things out. She would’ve looked at me like I was crazy when I acted crazy. She would’ve snuggled and laughed with her. She would’ve given her bits of treats when we weren’t looking. She would’ve napped with her and gardened with her and sat on the deck at the cabin with her and they would’ve been great friends. I hope that I would’ve grown in appreciation of her as I became a mama to my own little girl, growing in gratitude and understanding of her as a whole person, and not just my mom.
Now that we’re back in Garden, I wish for her help and advice even more. I wish I had her guidance when I searched for jobs and interviewed and eventually chose one. I wish she could help me fix the house, and work on the yard, and pick plants to hang on the front porch. Finally! I would’ve appreciated those weekly trips to the Garden Center. I wish that I could ask for her opinion about roofers, carpet, electricians, plumbers, contractors, zoning, etc. She would’ve had all the answers. Our projects would’ve stressed her out, but maybe seeing Bonnie every day would make up for it.
I wish that we could’ve gone to church together each Sunday. I wish that I could hear her sing the hymns with us and watch her watch Bonnie during the homily. I wish that she could’ve been there at the pool each day, feeding Bonnie club crackers, and fretting over her. I wish that she could go on walks with us, pushing Bonnie in the stroller around the hospital, to the park, to Tumbleweed and Municipal Band and the library. I wish that we could visit her at the office instead of her bench. I wish that Bonnie knew her as part of this place, so she could fully understand what makes it so special. There have been so many unexpected things – both good and bad – about moving home. But the biggest surprise was how often I encounter her around town. Her presence is everywhere, in everyone, and it’s such a comfort to be around people who knew her.
When mom was in the world, she was always organizing and giving structure and order to my life. In the past 8 years, there have been so many big life events that we’ve had to handle on our own. It’s exhausting, living this life without her. I wish that I would’ve recognized and thanked her for all the time and effort it took to take care of all of us all the time. There are so many things that I wish I had noticed.
It hurts so much because it was so good for so long. So today, may I focus on the good.