I’m home. Not home as in the place where husband fusses at me for putting his black dress socks in the drawer where his navy dress socks belong. Or where fevers and “ouchies” are made better with kisses and Popsicles. It’s not the place where a teenager has lost the privilege of having a bedroom door for a week for slamming it one too many times. No, this is the home where SHE is. My one who birthed me, raised me, loves me in spite of me.
She’s had many homes over her years. She’s had many heartbreaks as well. They promised to have and to hold her. Love and cherish her. Till death would part them. It did not work out that way. Other things, other people parted them. As if she had the strength of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon, she held it together. She held us together. The glue that kept us from drifting away from home base, our true north. I remember many times when she did without so that my sister and I could have everything. If only she understood that SHE was our everything.
Tomorrow she’ll sleep a deep sleep and the surgeon will remove the offending gland. My sister and I will sit and wait and consume stupid amounts of overpriced coffee. The hospital gift shop will love and worship us before the day is done. A few tears will be shed. We will ache from much laughter and probably from a few memories. You see, when they left her, they left us, too. I’ve often wondered how my beautiful sibling and I were left with such a capacity for loving when we have been given quite the opposite by those who left. Yet my heart quickly reminds me…she did it. She loved us. She taught us to love, simply by loving us with every exhale, every inhale. With every beat of her scarred, yet joyful and generous heart.
When the surgeon comes to give us the report, we’ll stand and listen and thank her. This same doctor who delivered my sister’s son ten weeks early, because he was determined to enter the world on his own time, will now tell us the thing is removed, she will be fine, we can take her home once she wakes, blah, blah, blah. We smile our relief and wait for our Sleeping Beauty to rejoin us. In the waiting, we might be tempted to take selfies with our medicated matriarch, because we are such good daughters and yes, these apples have not fallen far from this precious tree. We look at her and are reminded that the “ornery” is still strong with this one.
Over the years, she has been the instigator of many pranks and the teller of many jokes and funny stories. Giving someone a good case of the chuckles by telling a funny tale has been a favorite of mine since I was little. I consider it an honor to be from this line of laughers, story tellers, and joy givers. Many souls and stomachs have been filled and nourished in her home, giving testimony to her gift of hospitality. Food, comfort, care, love, laughter, joy. Plenty to go around with leftovers to take home. She is generous with everyone, always willing to give of herself and all she owns because she knows that she is blessed.
When I was three years old, she sat down at the piano, started playing “God Bless America”, and told me to come sing for her. I barely knew the lyrics, but was familiar with the song. She would correct my mistakes without going all “stage mom” on me. Even when I got stuck on the same incorrect lyric and sang it over and over until I’m sure Irving Berlin was making plans to haunt me from his grave, she was still encouraging me to keep going, keep singing. “Stand beside her and guide her, through the LIGHT with the NIGHT from above!” Blaaaaahhhh!!! She persevered and I’m now *cough cough* forty something (Can we pretend I’m 30?) and still singing, with a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Performance.
She, my precious mother, is a rare gem. Such a treasure to all who know her. I’m grateful she’s mine and I hope that someday my sons will feel that I have loved them much like this great lady has loved me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, her surgery is in four hours. I need a little sleep if I’m going to look pretty in those recovery room selfies my sister and I have planned…..