Friday afternoon, I decided to take my lunch break and walk down to the corner card shop to pick out Mom’s Mother’s Day card. At some point, while mulling over the cards, I took a trip down memory lane and decided this card had to be the best one I picked out – ever! I found IT! I found the perfect card. I am not sure why, in my years of growing up, Mom rarely showed the emotion of saying, “I love you”, but always found a card to express her sentiments. Some folk’s bottle up their emotions and it is a long road to try to figure out why their feelings are difficult to communicate. On a personal note, I can tell you that my Mother had an abusive childhood, and while deep inside, loved her siblings and parents – the physical hugging and expression of the word, ‘love’ lacked. Mom rarely showered us in hugs and to this day, I am not a very ‘huggy’ person.
I proceeded back to work and at five o’clock said goodbye to the work week and ‘hello’ to the weekend. Now, conveniently, my hubby’s office was across the street from mine, so at 5:05 pm, I crossed the street and opened his door, but was not greeted with a smile. Instead, my disheartened husband asked me to have a seat. Why is it when you know bad news is coming that you tense up and do not listen to the words, but focus on the eyes of the person delivering the message. The eyes said it all – someone passed away. Oh NO! Who? “I got a call that your Mom had a stroke and was found on the bathroom floor……………..” That was all I heard. WHAT!!! NO!! There is too much left to say…too much to share…to many years left for her to see her granddaughter grow up to share life. My daughter was her world. I remember how excited she was the Christmas prior picking out the very best “My Little Pony” for my daughter. “Are you sure this her favorite one?” “Yes, Mom, she will love it”. “Why did they name a Pony, ‘Yo Yo’?”, as she giggles. Then, she had to find a baby doll. Every five year old needs a baby doll on Christmas. It was a special Christmas that year and yes, my daughter loved her ‘Yo Yo’ and doll. Mom was in Heaven before her time.
We made the trip back to Pennsylvania and over the course of months, I shoveled through many items. My humble Mother did not have much treasure in form of monetary gain, but her treasures came in the form of afghans, crocheted doily’s, quilts and items that carried the signature of a woman who spend hours laboring with her hands to produce a quality portrait of affection. Mom left no words for me to say she was proud of the person I had become. No letters of expression to convey that, while few words were ever spoken, I had become the daughter she had always hoped for. I looked, moved, extracted, rubbished through mounds of papers, documents, electric bills from 1952, newspapers from 1940’s, manuals of how to use your new toaster and microwave, pictures I drew in Kindergarten, but no letter for me. No letter. No letter with a signature signed, ‘Love, Mom’. Was I asking for too much? Recently, I opened my social media account and examined the photos of my cousin gushing over autographs from a sports team that he lives and dies for each year. I (quickly) came to a conclusion that he was being silly to want something as valuable as an autograph. I mean what would the proclamation of the autograph announce? “Dear Stella, keep reaching for the stars. Signed, Your Celebrity!!” Most people who seek autographs are hoping that signature will be worth lots of coconuts once they have crossed over. I am told an autograph is only as valuable as the person who seeks it and the less signatures that are floating around the galaxy, supply and demand kicks in. I would have given a tree full of coconuts to find one letter from my Mother. So, the concept of my cousin seeking autographs from his idols is not so senseless.
My search came up empty, and while I was disappointed, my heart was full from her love displayed in her crocheted craftsmanship. Still, I longed to see just one small letter. This opened a door in my life to start a tradition. From the first day my daughter was born, I created a journal. It started out as a precautionary measure expressing how special and appreciated she is to her parents, but that one journal turned into three complete. Now that my baby has babies of her own, I started writing a book to them expressing our love, and hoping they will appreciate their parents, as well as the goodness and grace bestowed upon them. Perhaps the books will be passed down to our great grandchildren with the hope they will appreciate the journey of love that brought them into this world. As I paraphrase a quote from Stephen Covey, “…to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy…” I feel that I have fulfilled my urgency to plant life into a legacy knowing that my vision for its fruit can only be just that – a vision. I envision our grandchildren reading these journals and creating within them a sense of awe.