Friday, May 10, 2013

Missing May Days with Mom

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — It’s been four decades, but sometimes, especially in May, it still hits me. It’s a tsunami of sorrow that ebbs and flows, and sometimes seems almost completely quelled by joyful memories. Then, when I least expect it, it sweeps over me: I want my mommy.
I bought Mom a rose for her May Day birthday. She would have been 94.
I put the rose a vase in my colorful cubicle that reflects her art teacher influences nearly half a century after we painted and did needlework together, admiring each other’s handiwork.
When she left us, my sister and I were young moms in our 20s. Sally presented her with the best birthday present ever: her first grandaughter, also born on May 1. A year later, I followed up with her first grandson, born on May 18.
Brandy and Ryan were still little kids, but Mom made their brief time together count, and both retain fond memories of their fun and creative grandmother.
May was a very happy time in our family, full of love and celebrations: birthdays, Mother’s Day, even the occasional dance around a Maypole. Mom taught us how to make one, with the backyard clotheslines as a centerpiece, and how to make May Day wreaths and little bouquets out of whatever was handy: field daisies, wildflowers, the fragrant, big white blossoms that filled the catalpa trees in our yard.
Year after year, spring always seemed like a miracle after brutal Michigan winters, and she had a lot to do with that. 
Nature was something to celebrate, in the best and worst of times. Even winter had its perks, we discovered, as she taught us to find a good sledding hill, make snow angels,  how to sculpt creative snowcritters and whip up a bowl of gourmet snow ice cream with milk and maple syrup.
But May was the start of prime time. I still wonder if she arranged to check out a little early, in April, a month with the cruelest reputation, just so May wouldn’t be ruined for us.
And it wasn’t. But a wistfulness lingers. I want to talk to her and bring her up to date on the bon mots and creative antics and accomplishments of her grandchilden Brandy and Ryan and tell her about brother Tom’s three kids, the grandchildren she never got to meet: how much Dr. Adam, for instance, reminds me of her physician dad, my beloved nature-loving grandfather. 
And the great-grandchildren: the joys of watching her great-grandson Alexander the Great grow from a talented tot to an imaginative teenager sometimes came with bittersweet pangs. I wish she could have known him and he could have known her.
I recently asked Alex, who has inherited his great-Gram’s sunny nature, if he’d heard any good jokes, which seem to be in short supply lately.
“Not really. Usually my friends and I would rather make witty comments relevant to the situation,” he noted.
Mom would’ve loved that ... and him. And the  artistic and musical skills of my son and grandson, and all the traits they share with my kind, creative and loving mom. I want to tell her about it all.
And sometimes I do, especially in May, around her birthday and Mother’s Day.
I believe good souls are eternal, that we’ll meet again, that it some ways that matter more than conventional reality, we are never really parted.
But sometimes, I long to hug her and join all the scattered tribe for just one more family Mother’s Day, for fragrant flowers and a dance around a May Pole.
If you’re lucky enough to have a mom within hugging distance today, take full advantage.
Happy Mother’s Day.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at 575-541-5450. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore

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