Mother of Mine

This is for my mother, who doesn't remember me. I was the light of her life, and one of the last stories she told (over and over as Alzheimer's robbed her of herself) was that I was the living doll she always dreamed of having. She would repeat the story of the day I walked to the end of the dock behind the house. I was still in diapers, there was no railing on the dock, and she stood at the foot of the dock and called me back, heart in her mouth, afraid that I would fall and be lost to her forever.
I didn't fall, but I am lost to her forever anyway.

Because she can't share this day with me, or these memories, I'll share them with you.

One of my earliest memories is of sitting in her lap, under the arbor by the kitchen door, at that same tin-roofed Cracker house on the St. Lucie River. She is singing to me. She is singing "You Are My Sunshine."

It is a Tuesday night, and the ladies are at the house for the weekly mah-jong game. The card table is set up in the living room, near my bedroom door, and I helped put out the candy dishes earlier. Now I am going to sleep, lulled by the clack of tiles, and the voices of the women as they play: "One crack. Three bam. Six dot. I'll take that. Do you know who I saw yesterday? Who? Four dot..."

I am so small that I am standing on a chair to see into the pan as she teaches me how to scramble an egg. She tells me to sprinkle a drop of water in the pan to see if it's hot enough. The drop should bounce. I tell her the pan is ready. It's only after the egg is cooking that she asks where I got the water, since I never got off the chair. I tell her that I spit in the pan. She doesn't miss a beat, just says "Those eggs are for your father."

She taught me about art, and always took a certain pleasure in reminding me that she went to Ringling Art School, whereas I didn't get accepted into Rhode Island School of Design. She taught me to sew, and to cook, how to play mah-jong, how to knit. She taught me a million lessons and there isn't a single one that she remembers, because she doesn't remember that she ever had a daughter.

I remember for her. Happy Mother's Day, Florence.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/08 at 11:52 AM in Maudlin Crap

(4) Comments
#1. Posted by Reecie on May 09, 2005

Oh, Lynne ...
I’m so sorry, but I know that she will remember again. Know you again.

I used to sing that same song to my son when he was a baby. Some nights, it was the only thing that would put him back to sleep. I hope that memory is never lost to me—it’s one of my greatest fears.

#2. Posted by Miss Bliss on May 10, 2005

Oh sweetie…a blessing on you and your mother and the memories that are now in your keeping.

#3. Posted by MM on May 11, 2005

Happy Mother’s Day to you Lynne…and the daughter becomes the mother…I love you

#4. Posted by boat drinks the elder on May 12, 2005

I was a little boy, but I remember the “ladies at the house.” They weren’t the same ladies you knew…different ladies. But in many ways the same. My mother, bless her at 80, remembers them well.

I see the vision you’re having. It’s a lovely, sweet one. You’re a good person, Ms. Shoes.

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