The good news is that this year on mother’s day I know I won’t actually die from missing my mom; because I made it through last year. The bad news is my mom is still dead and mother’s day is still really, really hard. I’m certain that it will get easier over time; people I love and trust who have been through it tell me it is so; but it’s just awful. There is a Cheli shaped hole in my heart that I don’t imagine will ever be filled.
Having kids makes it better....and it makes it worse. Part of me wants to spend the day in my bed with the covers pulled up high over my head blocking out reality but that won’t work for my kids or for the me that Cheli raised. Part of the magic of Cheli is celebration of holidays; the real and the imagined ones (you may be unaware that the day after Monday holidays are a sanctioned holiday in my family). It’s important to me that my kids have oodles and oodles of magic in their lives. Belief in magic is one of the best gifts my mom bestowed upon me. I’m 42, I know the secret identities of the Easter bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy but they’re still magic to me, part of me still believes. I want my kids to have that same feeling. And, I want my kids to know that days like mother’s day are important. Not because your mom shouldn’t be important to you all of the time, not because it’s the only day a year you should buy her flowers but because when you are a mom every other single day of the year is dedicated to other people.
My grandparents always made sure that we made a big deal out of mother’s day because my mom was on her own; my brother and I just never stopped. We always made sure that the day was about her and my kids do their level best to make it about me (like for instance, they’re taking me to brunch and they let me buy some running shoes) That being said, the older I get the more I realize that most of the things our kids think are about us are really still about them. They are the reason that I will not stay in my bed with the covers pulled high over my head. They are the reason I will go to brunch and I will open my (surprise) running shoes and they are the reason that eventually mother’s day won’t be so hard. In that I am truly blessed; my kids have studied magic under the best, they’ve had Cheli for a grandma, it will take no time at all for them to have me laughing through breakfast.
And so, because it is mother’s day and because I am missing my mom and because she was truly, truly hilariously funny I think I will end this post with a Cheli story; really, it’s an Erin story best told by Cheli. I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it and think that I’m a really good story teller but at the same time I hope you’ll also know that while I am a really good story teller and I do a fair job, I have nothing on Cheli. I wish she was here to tell it to you herself....you have no idea what you’re missing, but I do.
It’s late at night. My brother is visiting from Denver and has been out and had a couple of drinks. He gets dropped off by a friend and tries to quietly sneak into the house. Suddenly a voice whispers urgently from the dark,
“Erin, I’m a moth.”
A moth? He thinks. He looks around.
“Erin, I’m a moth.”
He can’t figure out what is going on and where is this moth that is speaking to him? But he is determined to find it, he looks everywhere trying to locate the moth. Again...
“Erin, I’m a moth.”
He recognizes the voice, it is our mother. Apparently, she’s become a moth.
Like all good children he knows he must respond, even if she’s a moth; she’s still his mother.
“I hear you, I just don’t understand how you became a moth.” He says with all seriousness. Because, really, what does one do when their mother has become a moth?
When the moth starts her genetically acquired Dastardly Dog laugh, his confusion grows.
“Look up.” At which point Erin looks up and sees my mom standing at the railing of the master suite balcony that looks over the family room.
“I said, ‘I am in the LOFT’ not ‘I am a fucking moth.’” She says as she is doubled over in laughter, she was whispering in an effort to not disturb John who was sleeping (which is about to become impossible).
“I heard you come in and I wanted you to give me the bottle of Advil from the kitchen counter.” She says when she’s finally able to get out the words.
Erin gets the super-size bottle of Advil off of the counter.
“I’ll bring it up.” he says.
“Just throw it to me,” she says, “I don’t want to wake up John.”
So he throws the bottle. She misses it. It hits the railing. Do you see where this is going yet?
As the bottle hits the railing the lid comes off and arcs up and into the cathedral ceiling-ed family room. One thousand Advil tablets rain down on my brother, on the family room....on everything. Dropping one Advil is not particularly loud or disturbing. One thousand Advil tablets exploded with great force from a second story balcony makes one hell of a statement. My brother is lying on the floor doubled over in laughter. My mother is doubled over the balcony railing (no doubt peeing on herself) unable to speak because she is laughing so hard. John has ejected himself from his bed in terror believing himself and his family to be under attack from outside forces.
It is three a.m. and everyone in the house is wide awake, a moth nowhere to be found. My brother spends an hour picking up Advil on his hands and knees. Not because it takes that long to pick up one thousand Advil, but because he cannot stop laughing.
Imagine how much harder you would be laughing right now if Cheli was telling this story. Happy Mother’s day to all of the moms and moths out there. I hope you have a wonderful day.