My mother lived for eighty years, but it wasn't long enough. I know that babies lose their mothers, and women in their twenties die every day. But gratitude for her longevity hasn't lessened my longing for more time with her. I wanted her to see my children get married. She didn't get to. I wanted her to meet her great-grandchildren, and she never saw them. She was fun and loved life as much as ever and if she were still here she'd still be grateful for the gift of it.
One of my friends said, when her mom died, "I've lost my cheerleader." No one else cared in quite the same way. It's true. I am blessed by the affection of many people, some related and many not, but no one is interested in me like my mother was. My mom knew how mundane my life could be, and she still wanted to hear about it! If I had guests for dinner, she wanted to know the menu and what I wore. For example:
Did everyone eat a lot, or was someone picky? What time did they go home? Did I think they'd be inviting us over very soon? If not, why wouldn't they?
Didn't I think I was catching colds too often? Maybe I wasn't sleeping enough. No, vitamins probably wouldn't help. Was I worrying too much? Well, I shouldn't, because after all I was doing the best I could and that's all anyone could be expected to do.
Who would I say my best friend is now? And why is that? Maybe it's because she's the one who still writes you. People should write more letters. Or at least call, though long distance is expensive. Anyway, you always need friends.
Didn't I dread moving so often? At least I had a wonderful husband who helped me. Most women don't have it so good. But, really, when did I think he might get out of the Air Force so that I could stop moving? Only if he wants to, of course, because it's important that he's happy, too.
Did I realize how well-behaved my children were? Better than most people's, and better looking, too! At least we could say that to each other without bragging, because we both know it's the truth. Don't you hate it when people brag on their kids to make themselves look better? We don't want to do that.
Did I need so many dogs? How could I keep a house clean with all those animals running around? Yes, they're cute, but still.....
I miss the conversation that continued regardless of how many miles were between us. I miss sharing things that only she would find worth mentioning. I have so many questions for her now, almost ten years' worth, that I didn't think to ask back then.
And the first one is, Did you have any idea how much I'd miss you?