Sunday, May 9, 2010
Mother's Day 2010
That's me, my sister & my Mom, in our Sunday best, probably somewhere around 1964. Probably Easter. My sister & I are wearing coats made for us by a family friend, & our Barbie dolls had coats that matched ours.
My mom was in her early 20s then. I was born six days after her 20th birthday, & my sister was born 21 months later. When I was 2 & my sister was still a baby, my dad's employer transferred him to a small town in northern Saskatchewan, some 600 miles away from the area where both he & my mom had grown up. We lived in a tiny, rented two-bedroom house on the edge of town. We didn't have a lot of money, but not many people did in those days. Long distance was expensive, so people mostly wrote letters (which makes me laugh now -- my mother is a lousy letter writer). My mom said she did call her mother the night the mercury dipped to -50F to ask whether it was still possible to breathe when it was that cold outside.
I didn't realize until many years later, struggling with anxiety, that my mother too had struggled with anxiety & depression. In the first 25 years of her marriage, she lived in 11 different houses in 7 different towns, raising me & my sister while our dad worked long hours, giving up newly made friends & jobs and pulling up stakes to start all over again. My dad would often have to report to work in the new location on very short notice, leaving my mom to pack up the house and deal with the movers (& my sister & me, who found it harder and harder to move the older we got). She had what she called "an Irish temper," & would sometimes explode in frustration -- but we clashed no more or less than any other mother & daughter, I think. She still frustrates me at times, to this day. ; ) But the older I get, the more I appreciate how difficult it must have been for her, and how much she did for us.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. And thanks.
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I'm glad this day is almost over. It's not been fun (never is), but no worse than any other Mother's Day over the past 12 years. We went to see "Iron Man 2" at the movies which was fun (the theatre was far less busy than it usually is on Sunday afternoons), then went to the cemetery. There's a small Peter Rabbit-ish stuffed toy that's been hanging from Katie's niche since Easter, & as we solemnly approached the columbarium, I realized it was hanging backwards -- i.e., Peter Rabbit was mooning us. For some reason, this struck me as funny & I cracked up. And then the laughter turned to tears & I wound up fumbling for my Kleenex anyway. Dang.
And then we came home & I turned on the computer and didn't feel quite so alone anymore. Thank you.