"She Loves Me Like A Rock" (Finding Signs Of Strength And Your Mother's Love As You Dismantle Your Childhood)
It's one of the paramount fears of childhood that we will lose our parents one day.
If you don't believe me, just watch Bambi again. Heck, watch any of the Disney movies. It's not just little forest creatures wandering around the meadow motherless, all of those Disney Princesses' mothers are conspicuously absent as well.
Thanks Walt. It's small wonder we were petrified as children that our mothers would pass away, leaving us to face the world alone.
But it wasn't limited to The Wonderful World of Disney. What about all those Shirley Temple movies we were weaned on? Or Little Orphan Annie? Or Oliver? The world is obviously a harsh place for the motherless. It's a wonder "orphans" even get out of bed in the morning.
But we do. Mostly because we have kids of our own. Some of us even have grandkids. Besides, we knew all of our lives that our parents would more than likely pre-decease us. So we were prepared for this eventuality and all that it entailed, right?
Yesterday was the day my siblings and I converged upon our mother's home to perform the final clean-out, as we close with the new buyers in a week or so.
I was extremely worried over how my sister would handle this entire undertaking. I didn't think she would deal with the process very well. After all, she was the "in town" kid that practically lived with Mom - caring for her these last few years.
Here are a few supplies we found essential:
Boxes, tapes, styrofoam packing peanuts
Big Girl Panties
We pulled into town a few hours before the moving company. We'd done some preliminary work a few weeks earlier, but we still had a long day ahead. My sister was waiting out in the front yard for us as we pulled into town. As I unbuckled my seatbelt, I admonished my husband,
"Remember, SENSITIVITY IS KEY TODAY! This is going to be extremely hard for her. No matter how frustrated you get, I want you to be sweet!"
"When am I ever not sensitive and sweet?" he queried. I didn't have time to have this marital conversation. Besides I need his strength and cooperation today in more ways than one...
We got straight to work. All business. Brisk and efficient. We emptied drawers and packed boxes.
Meanwhile, the moving men were hard at work moving the big stuff. Pretty soon the walls started to produce an echo. I thought I could hear the long-ago sounds of my children and my nieces and nephews chasing one another down the hallways as toddlers...
Suddenly the men start making their way toward my mother's bedroom. I blocked their way. They seemed like lovely gentlemen, but I didn't want them in my mother's closet. She was a fashion icon who adored her clothes. Me and my sister needed to go through her closet ourselves.
Before I knew it, I had dissolved into a puddle on the closet floor. My sister cradled me for a while. Then she slid Mom's jade ring on my finger. She pinned a rose on her own shirt. She gave me some gloves and took a leopard hat. We each helped ourselves to a shiny clutch evening bag and then buried our faces in our mom's monogrammed robe.
We boxed up the rest and ushered the movers in.
A few hours later, I opened a kitchen drawer my mom like to refer to as her "miscellaneous drawer." Inside I found a pair of sunglasses, some paper clips, a picture of Mother Theresa, a refrigerator magnet that people reminded not to "Mess With Texas" and a rock I painted in the 5th grade.
You could tell how creative I've obviously always been because on it I had colorfully painted the words, "Leslie's Rock!" Purely Inspired. Still- I couldn't believe my mom saved that rock for over 40 years. Had it been in this drawer all this time I wondered.
A friend recently told me to look for the signs that my mom is still all around us. So maybe this was my mom's was of telling me to "be a rock" or to "rock on?" Or, knowing my sassy mom, she was likely saying, "Can you believe how much I loved you that I kept this hideous rock?"
In the words of twentieth century singer/songwriter and philosopher, Paul Simon, maybe she just loved me like a rock. And that's good enough for me.
About the Author ~
It all started one Christmas when they bought her an iPad...
Everyone from Leslie's husband of 33 years, to her 5 children squirm in discomfort as she taps away, using everyday family experiences as fodder for her blog, "A Ginger Snapped." They can routinely be heard complaining as she prattles and tattles on what they now commonly refer to as, "Pandora's tablet!"
She has been featured in Your Teen Magazine, and on websites such as Blunt Moms, Scary Mommy, BonBon Break, Today's Parent, BlogHer, and Faithit. She has been interviewed on NPR and is also proud to be liberally splashed about The Huffington Post in the United States, France, Spain, Japan, Quebec and Germany, as she comes to realize this may be the only way she ever travels abroad.
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