By the time I eventually moseyed over for a visit, my mother would have at the ready some carefully curated quotes, knowing full well that, as soon as I arrived, I’d be planning my exit.
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail,” she’d tell me, nodding. “What’s past is prologue!”
I would just shrug, which only led her to say:
“Youth is wasted on the young!”
She’d throw a Latin phrase my way and, like the former teacher that she was, expect me to respond with the correct answer.
“Panacea?” she’d demand.
“Cure-all,” I’d respond dutifully.
“Gallia est omnis divisa…?” she’d tilt her head at me.
“…in partes tres,” I’d say, barely stifling a yawn.
She’d share her pet conspiracy theories as well. “Sir Francis Bacon actually wrote all of Shakespeare’s works,” she’d exclaim, even as I tuned her out. “Known fact!”
After I left home, I could barely get through a visit with my mother. She smoked like a chimney. She’d stockpile every bit of bad news and tale of woe to aim at me, like a missile full of misery. I didn’t realize until later that it was her way of trying to prepare and protect me from things that might go wrong. “Forewarned is forearmed!” she’d say, finger jabbing the air.
After her passing, I learned that, no matter how old you are, when your parents pass away, you feel as if you’ve lost your moorings. Looking back on old, poor-quality photographs, you realize that your mother had a whole life before you were even born, and now that she’s gone, you ‘ll never get to hear those stories.
Dear readers, if you’re lucky enough to still have your mother in your life, I’d like to gently and gingerly nudge you to spend time with her while you have the chance.
Heck, I think I’ll come at you like the
New Jersey Mama Bear that I am, and say it like this: So, what, it would kill you to call the mother who gave you life? 🙂
Coffee and cake at a cafe′ once a year on Mother’s Day are all well and good. Being fully present and hearing with your heart? Priceless.