Today was a gorgeous spring day–sun shining, birds chirping, green everywhere, and no wind! The veggie garden I planted with Kayla, my 13-year old daughter seven days ago was showing the tiniest bit of life from an ant’s perspective. If you live in Wyoming you’ve been waiting for a day like today. You’re not cowering from the elements and you can come alive again. If you’re from Wyoming you also know that there is a snow advisory in the forecast; so much for my little lettuce seedlings.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Social Media was scattered with thousands of shots of proud mamas and their sweet babes, adult children hugging parents, grandparents brunching among bouquets and mimosas. My two daughters and hubby spoiled me with whatever I wanted: chocolate, coffee, brushing my hair. I felt loved. The day was complete with the annual local Children’s Choir concert in which both my daughters participated. You can imagine the frantic search for proper attire of black pressed pants, black socks, polo shirts without blueberry stains, and oh yes, cowboy hats.
The show was amazing! I knew to grab a few napkins off the cookie table on my way to my seat for the ‘those-are-my-babies-singing-up-there’ moments. Both of my girls knew I’d be in the audience crying my head off and they’d laugh, thinking it hilarious. The song that got me going was ‘No Time‘ about someone on their journey home. Eighty teen/tweens were singing their hearts out and I’m guessing there wasn’t a dry eye it the place.
Now, there is a three-year old in all of us. At least there is in me. The one that says, ‘I want more!’ and ‘Why can’t I have?’ It was about this time in the concert the three-year old in me started throwing her fit. Not only was I crying, but I wanted more. Sitting on my left was my sweet husband. He was holding my hand. His eyes may have been dry…maybe…probably. There was an empty seat on my right. It was that empty seat that was getting to me because it was Mother’s Day and I was missing my mom.
My mom took her journey home twelve years ago. She was the most amazing lady and as all of us who have lost a loved one know, it leaves such a hole, an eternal hole, and I wanted my mom in that empty seat watching her grand-babies sing. I may have been sobbing a bit by now. Luckily, the next song was about the scarecrow and his brain to lighten things up, but my singing girls’ faces were still blurry through tears.
My mom and I have this thing about two pennies. I just know that whenever I see two pennies together, she has sent them to me from heaven. It started this side of heaven when I was a little girl and my mom would give my sister and me each two pennies for the offering at church on Sunday. She’d get out her little leather coin purse and drop two pennies into each of our hands.
The first time it happened after she died, I was in St James church in New York City and I went to a service. Before I got up to leave there was a penny on the seat beside me and as I genuflected there was the other penny on the floor. Neither was there before. One time, I dumped my purse out of the car and only two pennies fell out (if you knew my purse!). Many times over the years I have found two pennies when they weren’t there before and it has been when I have needed a little extra love; a mama’s love sent from heaven.
So as I sat listening to ‘if I only had a brain,’ and calmed down a little bit, I transitioned into the next phase of my fit: demanding. ‘Fine, then I want my two pennies!’ Which of course didn’t work, but it didn’t stop me from pretty much getting down on my hands and knees after the concert to search for them…none.
“You’re the best mom in the world,” my girls said that night. And to them, I am. I was taught by the best.
It was a great Mother’s Day.
That was yesterday.
Tomorrow, is the anniversary of the day my mom took her journey home. I try to forget. I try to make it be a day that isn’t about that. I try not to cry. But sometimes I can’t help it and I want to be a three-year old. So today is my sandwich day. I’m sandwiched between two of the hardest days of the year; a day on which I am to honor the woman who has molded and shaped me into me, and the day on which I said good-bye to that woman and her laugh, her wisdom, her comfort; good-bye to the mom who easily and often said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’
Today, I’m still a little sad I didn’t get my pennies. I think I’m in some stage of my fit. Allison, my ten-year old and definitely my independent girl is extra needy. She wants to visit after school and tell me all about her day without me playing 20 questions. She wants me to come into her room and watch her clean it. Okay, what is going on here? I lay with her before bed. She twirls my hair with her fingers.
She tells me a story.
She says, “Mom, when I was three, Kayla and I were up in Auntie’s guest bedroom at her house. I pointed at this picture on the dresser and said to Kayla, ‘I know her.’
Kayla said, ‘You don’t know her. You weren’t born yet. I knew her. I was one, but you weren’t born yet.’”
I listen to Allison’s story. I know the picture she is talking about. It is a picture of my mom holding my sister on her lap when she was a baby.
Allison keeps twirling my hair. She says, “I told Kayla, ‘I know her face. I’ve seen her.’”
I listen to Allison take a breath, “Mom, when I saw that picture, I recognized Grandma Jill’s face. I had met her even though I wasn’t born yet. When God made me, she was there.”
I breathe. I cry a little bit–peaceful tears. I kiss Allison good-night and hope that maybe my mom kissed her in that same spot before I did…this was so much better than two pennies.