Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A moment of great weakness

My mother loved children. As the secretary of a small Catholic elementary school for almost two decades and the aunt of a dozen nieces and nephews she had lots of opportunities to engage in some serious 8 year old dramas and lots of boo boo kissing. The kids in "her school" loved her in return and from the moment they started school they learned to call my mom by her first name and forget that the proper way to address an adult, especially one with such power as the school secretary, was with a "Mrs." or "Miss" (almost all who worked in the school were female). My mom never wanted it any different. She encouraged this familiar relationship and no administrator dared fight her on it.

Christmas was a boon in my mom's house. She came home for days before the Christmas break with arm loads of treats and treasures from the kids and their parents. The final day before the week long break she had to use a large cardboard box to bring home her gifts. Gifts of chocolates from the local gourmet chocolatier were shuttled to her freezer to store for later because she received so many they would go bad before having a chance to eat them all. Her Christmas tree showcased many of the beautiful decorations that were given to her. I now have some of those ornaments; quite a few of them have crudely scrawled, childish handwriting on stickers on the back: "To B__, Love Jeremy", or "For B___, Merry Christmas - the Johnsons".

She was loved and reciprocated that love. But the message she always gave my sister and me when it came time to talk about our own children was, "I'm too young to be a grandmother".

And she was. But more importantly, we were too young to mothers. At least she thought so. As a woman who gave birth to her first baby less than a month after her 20th birthday (that would be me) she knew from being too young to have kids.

Now she's gone. She never got a chance to be a grandmother.

But she would have loved her grandchildren.

She would have loved them fiercely and protectively. She would have swooped them away when she came to visit and covered them in a thousand kisses. She would have been the best grandmother.

If there had never been such a thing as cancer she would be here right now, taking care of me and amusing Chicky. She would love her granddaughter and been excited for the next grandbaby to come. If there had never been such a thing as cancer I wouldn't have to fumble for the right name to give her whenever Chicky asks who the woman in the picture in her room is. Grammy B? Grandma? I never know what to tell Chicky and I certainly never know what to tell her when she asks where my mommy is.

I feel cheated. I feel like my kids have been cheated. And I'm very angry about that fact. Angry doesn't even seem right - I'm pissed off. Gyped. Got the short end of the stick. But Chicky and this baby who is causing me so many problems right now are the real losers in this shitty deal. Hundreds of children's lives were touched by my mother but my kids will never know her. They need her, and they won't even know how much.

But more importantly right now, I need her. I need her so much it hurts. I need my Mom.

52 comments:

Rusti said...

I'm so so sorry for your pain. You've brought tears to my eyes, as I can't imagine how you deal with it. She must be with you though, and your kids can still get to know her through your stories and photos. I know it's a crappy second to the real thing, but your love for her, as well as hers for you, PLUS the love everyone else had for her will get through to them. I feel sad that our kids will never know my MIL, and can only pray that my FIL and my parents will be around for years to come. I'm hurting for you and wishing there were something I could do... I'm sorry.

Smiling Mom said...

Ahh, I'm feeling your pain coming through your writing. I'm so sorry.

Kvetch said...

Your mother lives through you, through Chicky and through your new baby. They'll never know her, but she is part of them because you are.

Rachel said...

I am so terribly sorry for your pain and your loss.
She will remain alive for you and your kids as long as you continue to share your memories and pictures with them. We lost my MIL two years ago, the 21st of this month, and she never got to meet my 2nd child... that hurts. But, I know she's watching over us.
I am so sorry for you.

slouching mom said...

Thinking of you. And wishing things had turned out differently.

fidget said...

Chicky, I'm sorry. My husbands mother left the earth much to early due to breast cancer. She was a lot like your mom. My husband gets melancholy over her never seeing him grow up and never getting to enjoy grandchildren. My father died when I was but a wee babe in arms, he was the pied piper of children and I often wonder what it would be like to have him around.

the new girl said...

You know how people always say...you could be writing MY story and you're all like, that's kind of cool but REALLY? (probably not REALLY.)

Will you just trust me when I say that somewhat weak thing to say? And believe with the exception of being a school secretary (my mom worked for the phone company) and her feeling 'too young' to be a grandma, (I'm old, remember) our stories are I. dentical.

My mom loved to give and christmas was her thing. I say that she was christmas personified.

I often think if she was here, the LNG would be getting a package a week from her. It's not the THINGS I miss, of course.

It's the nurturing. The mothering.

I'm feeling you, Mrs. C.

b*babbler said...

I'm so sorry Chicky. While the situations aren't exactly the same, I can only tell you that I know how hard it is to become a mother when you are without a mother. It just seems so wrong and sad.

((Hugs))

SJ said...

I'm heartbroken for you, so very, very sad. I'm thinking about you.

motherbumper said...

Oh Mrs. Chicky I wish I was there to hug you.

Phoenix said...

All I can say is, Hugs.

Kizz said...

I'm sorry, that just sucks. I hope that you feel better all around as soon as possible.

mothergoosemouse said...

Having just this morning seen both my parents off on a plane bound back to their home, I'm reminded of how fortunate I am to have them both, even if only for brief and infrequent visits.

How I wish your mother could be there with you now.

Queeny said...

Sounds like your mother was a wonderful woman. I can only imagine how much you miss her. My heart aches for you.

Dervish said...

I am so sorry that your mom can't be there to take care of you and to delight in Chicky and your coming baby. Cancer sucks. I almost lost my mom to it several years ago. My mom just lost her mom to cancer - even at 64, even when your mom is 84, it still sucks.

Hugs to you.

crazymumma said...

I'm really so sorry. I truly know how you feel. My mother and father never met my husband, or my kids.

Its just such a lousy feeling.

Major Bedhead said...

I'm so sorry, Mrs. Chicky. My heart hurts for you.

Rachel said...

I understand exactly the kind of person you are describing your mother to be...You are such a lucky woman to have such a wonderful mother...I say have because you will always have her in your heart and if you talk about her to your children the way you wrote about her here today they will know her too.

Hugs...

Lara said...

i wish there were something i could do to help. i miss my dad too. i think the missing never really goes away - it just changes in little ways from one day to the next.

:(

i'm sending big, squishy, almost so long that they're uncomfortably awkward, bloggy hugs to you.

Lawyer Mama said...

I'm so sorry, sweetie. (((HUGS)))

Hannah said...

Once again, tears on my keyboard. I'm surprised the darn thing works anymore.

I won't lay any platitudes on you, because it's just not fair. Hugs. And I'm so sorry.

The Hotfessional said...

{{{Hugs}}}

kittenpie said...

Oh, sweetie. You're right, it's not fair that she gave her life to children and won't know yours. I bet you will tell her all about what a wonderful woman she was.

It's not the same, but I feel the same way about my grandmother. She would have loooved having Pumpkinpie, I would have gone well out of my way to visit with her, but she went quickly from pancreatic cancer three years before my kid came around. I hate that she'll never know what a great, warm, loving woman she was, too.

Hugs, honey, and as much of my love to you as I can squeeze through the wiring.

baggage said...

I am so very sorry. What a beautifully written tribute to your mom.

BOSSY said...

Aw hell, Chicky - fer chrissake Bossy is probably old enough to be your mother and she wouldn't mind filling in as substitute. And you're right - it's shitty shitty shitty and Bossy is so sorry you don't have your mom, and so sorry your kids don't have their Grand-Chicky.

Cakabaker said...

Wish there was something I could do besides sends ((HUGS)) your way. I hope you have a great support group that can take care of some of your needs, but there is just no way to replace what you need from a lost loved-one.
I get those needs around holidays and special days when I "need" and hug from my son (Adam) who was lost to us six years ago at age 16. So many times I have wanted to hear just a simple "Hi mom" or "what's up" , or just a big hug from him. Just to hear him laugh again, or play his guitar. Just to hear some of the crazy shit he did in school that day:) I share your pain. But it's not really the same pain is it? While they tend to be the same there is a difference between a child/parent pain and a parent/child pain. Either way, it sucks! May you find comfort soon.

Heidi Hyde said...

It sucks. It sucks it sucks. I am so sorry. I'm angry for you.

-hh

Family Adventure said...

I can't imagine, but I am so sorry. It is so unfair.

Heidi

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Oh T, you just made me cry. I'm sad for you, with you.

mamatulip said...

I am aching with you. I am hurting with you. And I am so, so sorry. I'm sorry because it's not fair and I'm sorry because I completely understand where you're coming from.

I'm always here if you want to talk.

Jacquie said...

It is so very unfair! Cancer sucks on so many levels!

I feel angry when I think how my Dad missed out on seeing his grandkids. It isn't right that his most generous feature, his heart failed him.

Hugs to you!

Julie Pippert said...

So unfair. So unfair to all of you. (HUGS)

Julie
Using My Words

OHmommy said...

Hugs!

FENICLE said...

I feel this post. Although I still have my mom - I've seen what cancer can do to a family. It sucks raw goose-eggs.

She's with you in spirit. I know that isn't all that comforting though. I'm sorry.

Jess Riley said...

Oh Chicky, I'm so sorry; it's crummy, it's unfair, it truly does suck. I too wish things had turned out differently for you. *hugs*

creative-type dad said...

So sorry :(

My wife lost her mother to cancer just before our daughter was born.
It hurts that she'll only know her in stories.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Oh honey, you know I understand this. I know you do, of course you want your mom. Not weakness, humanity. You're human, and you're suffering.

PunditMom said...

It is so hard. PunditGirl has my parents, but my in-laws are both gone and they would have loved her to tears. It makes me sad about the love they all missed.

oooooxxxxx

Redneck Mommy said...

I can't say I completely know what you write of, or understand it, as my mom is still with us, still causing us grief, loving us in her own spectactularly poor way.

But Boo's dad was an awesome man. I was raised to call him Uncle Larry. He lit up the room when he entered it, even in his final days.

And he passed before my kids arrived. Boo and I are still saddened by this.

So I kinda get it.

But not really, of course.

But I like to think she's with you and the kid(dies) watching over you. And in the mean time, she's surrounded by children up above, loving them, while waiting for you.

Maybe she's with my Bug, spreading her love with him, until another time...

I'm sorry T. I really am.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry. My mom was like your mom. She was a florist, and no child ever left her shop without a flower clutched in his or her little hand. It's hard enough to miss your mom, but it multiplies your pain when you also miss her *for* your children.

Oh, The Joys said...

It is hard enough having lost my own Gran. I can only guess that losing your mom is like that only intensified by multiples of 1,000,000.

Much love. XO.

kgirl said...

I had to wait a few days before I could come back and comment, because well...

Describing someone to your children is certainly not the same as them knowing the person you loved. It sucks. It just sucks.

Big hugs.

crunchy carpets said...

I can only imagine. I am very close to my mom.
She lost her mom when she was only 8.

She misses her mom to this day.

It totally sucks.

mel from freak parade said...

But more importantly right now, I need her. I need her so much it hurts. I need my Mom.

I'm so sorry. It's all very unfair. She sounds like an amazing woman.

Jozet said...

I am so very, very sorry.

I miss my father, I think, moreso for my children's sake than my own.

I am so sorry.

Velma said...

I'm so sorry - it is, indeed, a shitty thing. {{hugs}}

Toni said...

I'm touched. There are no words to help with this void in your life...So sorry for you and especially your children...

Jenifer said...

Chicky, I am so sorry.

I feel for you. My husband's parents both passed away from cancer when he was in his early twenties. I have heard him express many of the same sentiments about how he wishes his Mom and Dad could have been grandparents. And how our kids got gyped by not getting a chance to meet them.

For my daughter's first birthday she received a small gold childs bracelet from my husband's Aunt with a note that said ,

"Your grandmother was saving this for her first granddaughter. It is with great pride that I have the chance to pass it on to you now. I hope you wear it and know you are extremely loved, even if she's not here to show it."

Talk about giving me the water works in the middle of my daughter's first birthday party....

I hate it when kids get gyped. Cancer sucks.

AnotherMomCreation said...

For the longest time I couldn't even speak to my oldest about my mom because I would just break down and cry. I tried not to cry but damn it all, I could not control it. Now, I get a bit weapy but I know what you mean. There are soooo many days that I am feeling cheated, gyped, lonely, jealous, angry, pissed, and sorry for myself and my 2 beauties. I try and take comfort in knowing she is watching me, she does send me good vibes but every now and then, when life hands me the shit end of the stick, when I see all the grandmothers at soccer field, or when a friend tells me about her shopping trip with her mom, I cry. I cry for myself and for my girls, because like you, my mom was a phenomenal woman. She died far too young, and touched so many people while she was here.

I hate that you have to go through this alone. It's just so hard. I know what if feels like to want your mom, even at the age we are at...

Just know she is watching you, silently holding your hand while you sleep. She is. I know it.

lildb said...

man, I know it's not even comparable, but I kind of understand; at least, the part about feeling cheated (re: my brother being permanently mental and disappeared).

I'm so sorry, honey.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Oh Chicky, I'm so sorry. Yes, there is nothing like a mother when you are feeling down, and it is SO unfair that yours is gone.

She wasn't too young to be a grandmother. She was too young to die. Cancer just sucks.

Paula said...

Crawling out from under my rock here just to say...

You know if she were alive...she would be right by your side.

That in itself is a tremendous thing.

Because my grandmother is alive, but I don't know her. Because she chose to abandon my mom when she was eight.

This is coming out like a snarky competitive someone-else-always-has it-worse-than-you comment, but it's not, really. What I really mean to say is that the love she gave you is still in you. Still with you.

No one can take that away.