Mother's Day is on Sunday. For me, the day is very bittersweet. I can not fully embrace it with my mother no longer living. However, I am a mother. The day was created for me, too. So, I do my best to think of positive memories of my mom and let the sadness go and be happy.
This morning, while showering, I was thinking. My best thinking happens in the shower, it has to be said. Anyway, I was thinking of childhood memories involving my mom. I found myself lost in a scene in my mother's flower shop. I was about 7 years old, I'm guessing. It was summer time, and not being old enough to stay home alone, I would accompany my mother to her shop. I loved it. My mom would come armed with craft projects galore. Paint by numbers, friendship bracelets, wooden boxes to paint. I can't even imagine how many loop n loom pot holders I made that summer! She would give me odd jobs around the shop, my favorite being pre-filling the floral water tubes. Living in a beach town, I would walk up to the boardwalk and bring us back the most delicious french fries drenched in vinegar. My mom would stop working and share them with me. We would sit on our tall, wooden stools together and talk. It made me feel important. Special.
Now as an adult, a mother myself, I think about that memory a little different. I see the other side. I believe you truly appreciate your mother when you become one yourself, when you've walked in similar shoes. I'm sure my mother loved the time we spent together during those summer days at her shop. I'm also sure, given the choice, she would have rather sent me to summer camp so she could work more productively.
I believe my mother was juggling it all at that exact moment. Divorced from my father, she was primarily raising me and my oldest sister alone, while working full time running her own business. Occasionally I remember seeing my mother stressed, like, for example, during the second biggest flower gifting holiday, Mother's Day. But mostly, I just remember how damn happy she was. Sunshiney happy. She never let on to the feelings she must have been feeling as she embarked upon a day at the shop, daugher in tow...how am I going to keep Nelly occupied for 8 hours straight so I can work. I don't recall her flipping out trying to rush us both out the door early in the morning, screaming "hurry up! We're going to be late!" When I distracted her with a million questions, like I was known to do, she never showed she was loosing patience. When I grew bored of one activity, she had an infinite supply of ideas to entertain me and they all sounded, well, fun. My mother made me feel like she wanted me in the shop with her. Like we were best friends.
I treasure the memories we made in her flower shop. They absolutely hold a dear place in my heart. More importantly, maybe the memories have taught me something about how to be a better, happier mother. Maybe the next time I'm finding myself frazzled with Alice and her antics and I'm about to go to that place I'm not particularly proud of, I should think of my mom. Think of how she handled it. With patience and a smile. With the right attitude, even the simplest most mundane tasks can be thrilling to a child. I should embrace this knowledge, because one day, many years from now, Alice will reflectively look back on her memories of me. What will she see? A stressed out, impatient mother? Or one who embraces fun at every opportunity? I will strive to make sure her memories are all of the loop n loom and water tube filling caliber.