Today my Mom would have turned 82. For most of my life, I don’t think we actually knew her age. It was not our business as my Mom was fond of repeating when we asked. It wasn’t until she became sick and her birthdate had to be constantly repeated as a form of authentication that I really became aware of her age. The best way to describe my mother’s relationship to her age was she didn’t act it at all!
This is probably the reason I still have to think when I calculate her age. To me, she was simply a force to be reckoned with, an unearthly amount of forceful personality packed into a small frame with a fondness for wearing a particular brand of track suits (AKA “active leisure wear”) and sneakers. Coupled with a fleece vest and she was done with fashion. She did, however, have very distinct taste in bags. Which now that I think about it is probably where I get my search for the perfect bag from.
I still feel her life was too short. Nine years later and that hasn’t gone away. Nine birthdays later and I still miss her and as each year, we’ll be eating Mexican food tonight and I’m drinking a mighty strong margarita.
I knew today was going to be difficult. I slept poorly last night, waking up every hour and then oversleeping and having to run out the door. Which also meant that I had to skip meditating so you can imagine that I was a hot mess. When I did finally get to my classroom, the first thing I did was meditate. The theme was compassion for self and others. The practical activity would be to find something today that when I reacted today, I would do it with more compassion (for myself) then normal. Great, not something that fit with where I was already sitting today, feeling-wise.
GG had to bring the boys today as I was late and I wanted to have them with me. They came in their banana yellow raincoats except that Henry was wearing the one from George (and lost in it) and George was wearing Henry’s which was too short.
Having the boys there sparked a conversation at the end of the day with one of my best employees. She wanted to tell me about how much her life had changed in the past 18 months, including learning to like dogs. The boys were responsible for a good portion of that change from fear to feeling safe. Further, her work and her place in our community made her aware of her strengths and how she saw her future.
When she was telling me this, I realized that here it is – the spark that is my Mom and her legacy. That for every person that comes through the classroom and finds their path forward, that is my Mom’s impact and legacy. As long as that keeps happening, her spark remains. It’s not an insignificant light but rather something bright and never ending. That means that she remains present.
I wish that I could come home and tell my Mom this. I know she would probably react with something awkward and try to change the subject. I don’t know if my Mom ever knew how much impact she had on those around her. I do know that she was super uncomfortable with positive attention. I can relate. But today I tried to practice some of that compassion and I listened. That listening let me hold my Mom that much closer today.
Happy Birthday, Mom. Thank you for being the spark in my life, from the first day to my last.