How are you all?
I kept waking up all night long and had such a restless sleep. I was wondering what my problem was every time I glanced over at the clock to see it wasn't time to get up yet. Then it hit me shortly after waking up for good this morning - today is my Mom's birthday.
She should be 57 today.
It hit me really hard this year, harder than the past few years, and I'm not sure why that is. I brought Lily to daycare in tears, pulled myself together to drop her off and left again in tears. Halfway to work I turned on the radio (from Lily's Sesame Street cd) to the lyrics, "don't you cry tonight, there's a heaven above you baby" (from Guns N' Roses song Don't Cry). This has happened so often since my Mom died - lyrics from songs that seem to speak directly to me at moments I am desperate for comfort. I take these moments as whispers from my Mom, letting me know that she is still here, ready to give me advice whenever I need it. The times I ache inside the most are the times something blatantly obvious strikes me in way that cannot be ignored. That was the case today.
I worked today, which was probably a good thing. After work I stopped by the flower shop as I do every March 14th. I picked out a gorgeous bouquet that I know Mom would have loved. It was mostly purple, which was her favourite colour. There were daisies in it, which were her favourite flower. There was even a little butterfly in it. She once bought me a card with a wind up butterfly in it, so when I opened the card, it would "fly" out. To her, it represented me, and her constant desire to see me spread my wings and fly in this world. It was the perfect bouquet for her.
I refuse to bring flowers to the cemetery. Nobody can enjoy them there, and that is not where my Mom is. Instead, I give the flowers away to someone I think can appreciate them. Normally it's the old age home close by that I bring them to. Today I didn't feel that was the place I wanted to go. Instead, I decided to give them to Lily's daycare provider, Jodi. She's a wonderful woman, and while we don't talk much about our personal lives, I suspect she's going through a lot right now, and I don't think she gets much time to do things for herself.
So I awkwardly brought in a giant bouquet of flowers and sheepishly explained the meaning behind them, all the while fighting back tears that had been threatening to fall the entire day. She said the perfect thing to me. She said "I will think of your Mom every time I look at them." While I felt like a bit of an idiot giving them to her, I knew she was the perfect recipient for them and I know she will enjoy them as my Mom would have.
Jeff came home around 6 so we could go out for dinner to celebrate the day. I thought it might just be Lily and I for dinner, he is so busy this time of year. When I asked if he had time to come, he looked at me like I grew 8 heads, and said "of course." It means the world to me that he recognizes my need to celebrate Mom's birthday. He just gets it.
He surprised me even further by walking in the door with an amazingly beautiful bouquet of flowers:
I put them in a vase my Mom gave me when Jeff and I first moved in together, as a house warming gift:
Perfect. When we got home for dinner, our house smelled like fresh flowers, it was a fabulous greeting.
So, I want to wish my Mommy a very happy birthday. She used to love when I would sing to her on this day, and I long ago adapted the Simpson's version of Happy Birthday:
"Mommy it's your birthday. Happy Birthday Mommy!"
Lily and I went downstairs tonight and I brought out some pictures of my Mom. I talked to Lily about her, told her she was her Grandma, and that she loved her very much and wished she could meet her. Lily stopped playing with her sand box and listened very intently to what I said and looked at the pictures with interest. She said "Grandma" and I asked if she would like to say "Happy Birthday Grandma." She smiled and just squeaked out "happy." Yes Lily, I guess that sums it up doesn't it? That's all Grandma would want, is for me to be happy. It was a nice message. With tears streaming down my face, it hit me again that Lily and my Mom won't get the opportunity to meet. At least not in this lifetime or on this earth. And that hurts me so much more than I will ever be able to express.
There are things in this world without substance that have power over us because we allow them to. For me, that's today, and the date of Mom's death. Really all today is is another day right? It's March 14th, no big deal. Yet the entire day has threatened to break me down and crumble with each reminder. I have allowed this date to possess my spirit. It's one of few days I allow myself to really remember and reflect. Surprisingly, it hasn't gotten any easier over the years, but I owe it to my Mom to keep her spirit alive and to celebrate her birthday in small ways. Because this is what she would appreciate....and today is all about her.
"Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would, I'd never leave" ~ Winnie the Pooh