Jen’s Gem: Never miss an opportunity to create a memory.
Almost eleven years ago, I had my last conversation with my Mom. I wouldn’t know it at the time, but she had only hours left of her life. Naively and with child-like hope, I thought she’d be able to hang on for another day or so until my children and I could see her.
I’ll never know if she heard these pleas or the multiple “I love you’s” through the choked sobs I did my best to hold back. I’ll never know if she felt the immense love I had for her in those final moments. However, I’m beyond grateful that this wasn’t the only time those words were uttered to her.
I believe in my heart that my Mom knew I loved her. I believe she knew I treasured our regular Friday evening phone conversations. To this day, I feel a pang as the week comes to an end and I’m unable to call her to share the details of my week, or the activities of my kids, or simply to hear a kind word or two from someone I knew loved me inside and out.
Like me, my Mom was older when she had me and my younger sister. Her failing health in the last years of her life prevented her from attending the events in my and my children’s lives. Pictures and phone calls afterwards were not quite the same. How I longed to have her at graduations and ball games and award ceremonies.
In a few weeks, my daughter will graduate high school. I hear her friends (whose parents are much younger than I) speak of the family members who will be present and most, if not all, mention their grandparents. When my Mom attended the graduation of my niece twenty-some years ago, I knew instinctively that she would not be able to attend this momentous event with my children.
How proud she’d be of my daughter! How excited she would be to learn of her future college plans. I can hear her now telling my daughter to “study hard” and “do your best.” I suspect she’d also throw in a “watch out for the boys” and “not too much partying” comment. Advice that I will echo as well.
My mom shaped much of the way I parent my children. Affectionate, yet firm, I never doubted her love for me. What a blessing! While she didn’t always agree with my choices, she never berated me for them. In hindsight, I often wish I would’ve listened to her. I could’ve avoided a few hiccups. Moms have a way of always being right, don’t they?
I’m grateful to God for my Mom and while I long to call her today to wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day,” instead I will keep her memory close to my heart. I’ll close my eyes for a moment or two and remember how I’d lay my head on her knee and she’d play with my hair. I’ll recall her delicious cooking, her fixing my torn stuffed animal, and her holding my newborn children.
But most of all, I’ll remember her hugs that were so tight at times, you thought you’d pop. What I wouldn’t give for one more.
If you’re blessed to still have your Mom, I pray you will create a memory that you can one day look back on and treasure. I pray you will linger an extra second or two as you hug her. And I pray mostly that you will never, ever miss an opportunity to tell her you love her while she can still hear you.
Happy Mother’s Day and God bless you!