Fullness of life- 8x10
Today is January 2nd, my birthday. And today, my mind is on my mom and what I want to say to the universe about her.
On January 2nd, 1971, my mom's water broke at midnight and her doctor was 70 miles away . My parents had tried for 6 years to have a baby and were not going to let a little stretch of highway get between them and a safe delivery. My dad got stopped going waaay over the speed limit, but when the policeman saw the state of my mom in the passenger seat, he yelled and motioned to "GO ON!" and gave them a police assist. I was born 15 hours later. My mom did those 15 hours of back labor, with no medication, because she didn't want to do anything that might affect her baby. My mom. I won the lottery that day. There is no love quite like a mama and her baby. Even when said mom and baby are 83 and 52.
My mom would never admit she is an artist but she is one of the most profound artists I know. She thinks out of the box and has always done things her own. way- from covering her college apartment walls in floor to ceiling murals, to painting flip flops on her feet on campus because she liked to go barefoot, to playing songs on the piano by ear that my brother and I would dance to. She always retained the memory of what it "felt like" to be a child in a world that was full of imagination- sometimes scary, sometimes exhilarating, and sometimes difficult to comprehend. It's one of the reasons she was such a remarkable mom, a second mom to many of my brother's and my friends, fun loving Granny, and a wonderful teacher and counselor to hundreds of children.
She got her Masters degree in 1963 and her plan was to go to Boulder, CO and build an A-frame with her cousin Pinky, who had a jeep and an A-frame blueprint. She had some land picked out and applied for a teaching job. The secretary told her there were 80 applicants and 2 positions. After waiting and not hearing anything, the summer passed, and she assumed she did not get the job and signed a contract for another school in Alamosa. The day after, Boulder called and offered her the job.
I've always wished she had torn up that contract and taken the job in Boulder.
She married my dad in 1965. She thought he was intelligent, very mature, and had the Scandinavian good looks she liked. They had nothing in common except for the psych classes they took together, and the desire for a family. They went on a few dates and my dad asked her what she thought about marriage. She told him she thought she might someday. He responded that he meant with him!
Whatever strange alignment occured in the stars to bring these two together, I'm thankful they crossed paths.
When I went into labor with my firstborn, I asked my mom to be my coach. I didn't want and epidural and I knew she had the experience to help me through it. After a long night, kind of the delirious stage, I was thinking about all of the women who had given birth before modern medicine- I was mumbling something about about the "poor women" who went before me with no idea if they would live or die during labor. My doctor heard me and told me I needed to get the epidural because my time was running out to get one. I replied that I didn't want one, and my mom was coaching me. My mom, God bless her, said " Oh honey, I forgot how hard this is. I think you should get the epidural......" And I caved. I should have known better, I suppose, knowing my mom would endure pain for me that she would never want me to experience. That is the love of a mother.
I saw my parents at the nursing home today. I told them seeing them was my very best birthday present. My mom has been declining the past 6 months and isn't sure of my name or who I am always, but when I get close enough to look into her eyes, she always says " I LOVE YOU!! " And both of us have a visceral reaction to the love we have known for 52 years. Our souls recognize one another, even when memory evades.
Thank you, mom. For everything, for more than I could ever write in a lifetime. Forever and always. I love you .