I Want My Mommy…
By Lori Welch Brown
My mom has been gone 17 years now, and yet it still feels surreal to say it. In some ways it feels like she’s been gone forever; other days I can recall her passing so vividly it might as well have been yesterday.
I was the baby and the only girl with three older brothers growing up. Mom always said she prayed and prayed for a girl, and was elated when I finally came. Her regular OB/GYN happened to be on vacation, and she always joked that had she known all she had to do was wait for him to go out of town, she would have sent him on a cruise years ago.
In my teen years when she and I were having mother/daughter struggles, she lamented, “Be careful what you wish for,” as she cursed my rebellious, argumentative nature. I wanted independence and/or a family with a pool. I wanted a mom who liked shopping and dressed in something other than jeans and flip flops. I wanted a girly-girl mom to teach me about boys, dating, and make up. I wanted a mom who liked to travel and read fashion magazines.
Mom was none of those things.
But then she was gone, and all I wished for was my Mom back.
I wanted the Mom who left me annoying messages that said, “Hi, Lori. It’s your mom. Where are you?”
I wanted the Mom who always had a Costco-sized cheesecake in the fridge “just in case.”
I wanted the Mom who made the best potato salad and sweet tea on the planet with no regard for calories or sugar comas.
I wanted the Mom who always tried to slip gas money into my pocket because she didn’t want me to run out—even though I never had and was well into my thirties.
I wanted the Mom who made sure I had a birthday cake every year even if it was in crumbles because baking wasn’t her strong suit.
I wanted the Mom who never, ever missed anyone’s birthday and kept Hallmark in business.
I wanted the Mom who told me she loved me every single time we talked and even when I wasn’t very lovable.
It’s easy to take people for granted—especially Moms. Now I know how lucky I was to have had a Mom who put her family first always—to have a mom who sacrificed daily with little or no reward beyond the occasional, “Thanks, Mom” as we were running out, slamming the door behind us.
Although she loved being a mom, I’m sure it came at the cost of sacrificing some of her own dreams and desires. Money was tight so there were no spa appointments, girls’ weekends, or even babysitters for date nights. Rarely did she shop for herself.
I vividly remember when I was around 12 that Dad took us to Landmark which years later became Landmark Mall. But this was way before any kind of mall existed. My brother’s girlfriend at the time worked at a boutique there, and Mom picked out a new pantsuit (which were all the rage). It was a BIG deal. That pantsuit was still hanging in her closet when she died almost three decades later.
For awhile after Mom passed, I was haunted by all the times I treated her like a jerk. The times I let her call go into voicemail because I was ‘too busy.’ Or, the times I didn’t feel like making the drive out to visit. Or the times she didn’t meet my lofty expectations and I let her know it.
Those memories stopped plaguing me when I realized that Mom would never make me feel badly about anything. She would forgive me the worst sin because she loved me like only a Mom can—unconditionally.
It took losing her to realize how blessed I was—and continue to be—to have had a Mom like mine for as long as I did. Not everyone has a Mom who loves them unconditionally and is there for them 24/7. And if you are blessed to have a mom like that, consider yourself fortunate and give her a huge hug and maybe some flowers. Definitely make her breakfast and do this dishes. And vacuum.
Cheers to all the Moms out there who continually make the world a better place by just being in it.
About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.