As I write this I have an overwhelming amount of emotion running, a strange heaviness in my chest, yet an overwhelming peace. I can close my eyes and see in slow motion everything I am about to write in bright vivid images, as if this all happened yesterday,
Donna...this post is about Donna. Donna is my Mom, my birth mom, one of my Moms'. I am lucky enough to have a couple Moms, but she was the first.
My earliest memory of her is from when I was six...on my sixth birthday actually. I ran into her bedroom and stood next to her bed and woke her up by saying "Mommy!! I am six!" and I remember her saying "Yes you are! I love you!"
I remember when my brother and I were little, she always made our birthday cakes from scratch. And they were always themed. She always kept them a secret, we were never allowed to see them until it was time to blow out the candles...or that's how I remember it.
Every Christmas she made cookies. I mean ALOT of Christmas cookies...all kinds. My favorite of them were the pazels. Now, we never got to actually eat the thin waffle like cookies, we got the little bits that come off the sides of the cookies. You know, that part that gets stuck to the waffle iron that makes the waffle not square...so you have to tear it off to make the waffle perfect. Those parts...there was always a whole bowl of these little bits, and with a little powdered sugar, its just like Christmas 1994.
On Christmas and Valentines day we always got those little lifesavers books. The ones that came with 5...thats right 5 regular sized rolls of lifesavers....we loved them. Well besides the butterscotch. Those were the last to be eaten. I have looked for them during the holidays and I can never find them...I will find them and keep this fun tradition alive (or something similar) with my own children.
She loved to cook and bake. She was so good at it to. If I ever am half the cook she was I will have some happy family and friends! She did not mess around. No boxes, mixes, or frozen stuff. All from scratch all by hand. I suppose this is why its so important to me that I do the same... because I have such great memories of her doing it, its just my way of remembering.
She loved to sew and craft...and she was good at it. She had a sewing/craft room once. I remember it being a hot mess of a room...but it was always so special to got inside. She was a master, she could sew clothes, she could embroider and cross stitch. I have two pieces of cross stitch that she made. One she gave to my Aunt as a wedding gift 20 years ago, and my Aunt handed it down to me when I got married. I plan to give it to my daughter or son when they get married. The other piece is one she gave to me as a wedding gift.
She was strong. Quite possibly the strongest person I ever knew. She managed to keep a smile on her face and keep her head above water and seem just fine to many people. She was able to do this in some cruddy circumstances. She worked so hard at being the best Mom she could be even when she was sick and struggled with addictions...she always tried.
She passed away a little over 3 years ago. I remember this day vividly to. I remember because I was 2 1/2 months pregnant with Parson. I remember that it was a sunny beautiful day outside. I remember feeling so strange and not knowing how or what to process. I remember not wanting to tell anyone.
I know a lot of people think that its strange that I don't talk about her more. But just because I don't talk about her doesn't mean I don't think about her or I don't remember her.
I look just like her...I mean like spitting image of her. Sometimes I glance in the mirror and almost mistake my reflection for her image. Every time I sit down at my sewing machine I think of her, every time I try a new recipe or bake a loaf of bread I think of her. When we are in Michigan and drive past certain places I think of her.
A few weeks ago I was going to the grocery store late at night after Parson was in bed. I had been thinking about her that day because I was working on some sewing projects. I sat down in my car and I swear on my life she was in that car with me. I could feel it and I could smell her, you know that comforting smell of Mom. I didn't break down and cry and I was not mad...I just smiled. I smiled because I knew she was happy, I knew she had the best seat in the house and she was loving watching my brother and I. I know she loves watching Parson.
Its funny how you don't need to spend your whole life with one person for them to make an impact or imprint on your life. Even though I only spent part of my childhood life living with her and a part of my life missing her she is a huge part of me.
Take it as you may...but do this. Remember no matter how short the time you are with a person, you will impact them, shape them to be who they are.
Left: My Mom with me as a newborn
Almost 23 years later
Right: Me with Parson as a newborn