Happy Mother’s Day to those who have mothers with whom to celebrate and those who are mothers and grandmothers. I have to admit that Mother’s Day always causes me to have an achy heart. I miss my Mother; after 44 years, I miss my Mother. I am being selfish. I wished she could have known her children’s spouses, children, and grandchildren. I wished she could have witnessed the good and the bad in our lives. I wished she could have witnessed the joys of success in educational achievements. I wished we could have spoiled her with gifts, affection, and love. She was gone too soon, and I wish we could have known her more deeply. Most definitely I wish she knew my sister and I had moved beyond pretending to play house in the backyard with beautiful homes today of our own. They say, a daughter eventually becomes friends with her mother; I ache for that.
|Me, my Mother, and my sister, about 1950|
The following is a letter I wrote to family and friends in May 2000. I submitted it to Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine. It was too short for an essay, but parts of it were published in the ME newsletter. Sadly, for ME fans, the magazine and newsletter are no longer published.
The color red always reminds me of my Mother. Mother said your wallet should be red so you could always find it at the bottom of your handbag. You were sure to get your wish, she said, if you could make a wish before a red bird on the ground took flight.
Mother decorated with the color red. The first bathroom in my memory was red, accented with some type of black and white wainscoting. It was a tough bathroom to withstand the traffic of a family of six. Perhaps it was red so as to discourage dawdling. And perhaps, she felt safe painting a small room red whereas a larger room with red paint would be a greater risk.
When I was 7, our family purchased a red 1955 Chevrolet , bought a year after my brother was born and still owned when he was in high school. I wonder if this red car made her feel young and sporty rather than 42 and a mother of 4?
I’ve never owned a red wallet. My hand often lingers over a red one, but usually I buy a “safe” color. I decorate my Christmas tree each year with red birds to represent the good luck they might bring. I haven’t had a red bathroom or a red car yet. I do find myself cutting out magazine photos of red bedrooms and red accented living rooms. I do seem to have a passion for painting my toenails red. I have red hair, now fading with age to an ordinary brown. Consequently the word “red” has been on every document that I ever completed to describe me, thanks to a gene pool from my Mother and Father. Red wallets, red birds, red cars, red rooms - all of these red objects remind me of my mother.
Beyond her obviously liking the color red and using it, she was an attractive woman with black hair, who loved to dress well. One of my earliest memories was of her in a red coat. The sight of a red coat now triggers my thoughts of an early elementary room visit she made—time has erased the reason why. All I remember was my being so in awe of her beauty as she sat with all the other mothers off to the side in rows in front of our lockers. She outshone them all as she sat there in her red coat. How glad I was to look over, when I was supposed to be paying attention, and see her there – for me.
To you - Happy Mother’s Day! What color reminds you of your Mother?
Happy to add an addendum – I now have a red Sonata; I’ve had multiple red wallets; I have had a red handbag. I am still trying to beat the red bird off the ground with my wishes. No red rooms to report!