Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Memories

Note: The post below is actually yesterday's and I forgot to post it, instead clicking save. Sorry, folks!

Marcie and I celebrated Mother's Day in our own way. We did the standard stuff, including brunch with Marcie's mother, often an adventure in itself. It was always an effort to isolate Barbara in a happy land far away from the buffet-skeptical Bob's comments.

Marcie always made it a point to reach out to my grandmothers. She was very good to Grandma McNab/Craigg, or "Big Mom." She made friends and impressed her early.

But Grandma Pruett was always disappointed if Marcie did not show when I did. I have explored that special relationship before. It was close-knit. Marcie's laugh was so infectious in our family's events, and it filled the room and grandma with joy.

So close were the two that, though both are gone, my Aunt Mary told me still keeps the seat that Marcie sat by Grandma in clear for them when I come over, and I appreciate it. It brings tears, though. Marcie was a proud addition for Grandma.

Marcie gleaned valuable information on me from Grandma, too, who always seemed to impart on Marcie a deeper love for me with her disclosures. I am sure she could have gone the other way with some of my foibles.

After one particularly good conversation, Marcie pulled me down and hugged me. She did not explain until we left in the car a bit later.

"Honey," she said. "I am so moved by your Grandma and her little stories about you."

I looked over at her, and she let her hand slide up and down my leg as she bit her lip.

"She told me that when you were a little boy, after your mom left, you went to all your aunts and wished them a happy mother's day."

It was not unusual for me to do that. I appreciate what mothers do and go through. But Marcie kept talking and pulled over. She had tears in her eyes.

"She said she remembered that you told your Aunt Theresa that you were thankful for all of your aunts because being around them made your mom being gone hurt less," she said.

The year grandma shared this with Marcie, Aunt Theresa had died of liver cancer.

I did remember saying something like that after Aunt Theresa asked me if I was okay the Mother's Day after my mother left. I was not playing, though the event was at Wells Park, because I had been told I couldn't after arguing with my sisters in the car on the way there.

"Do you miss her?" Aunt Theresa asked.

I remember nodding and shrugging, "She left because she doesn't care, though."

She cares," Aunt Theresa said, unpacking some potato salad. "Maybe she'll come back."

I looked up at her, my big 10-year-old eyes wet and burning as I croaked "Do you think so?"

And as she hugged me and said she didn't know, and I heard her sniff, I told her it was okay, that having her and all my aunts around made it hurt less. Then I wished her a happy mother's day, embarrassed that I made her cry.

Aunt Theresa told me to go wish my aunts a happy mother's day, and she would talk to my dad (her big brother) if he said anything about it. I did so and then was allowed to go play.

Marcie, after hearing the whole story, was holding her hand to her chest and crying. She squeaked out, "I know you were a good boy, and that she thinks you are that same boy and remembers that on Mother's Day should tell you how special you are to her."

Of course I knew. But what I also knew is that Marcie was special to Grandma. What i also knew is that seeing Grandma at the grave site or in her coffin is not seeing her at all. It is remembering her, alive, which moves me.

So I have not been to the grave sites after the funerals, just as Marcie will never be in the ground.

I want to remember the people I love as I loved them, not as I lost them. That goes for Aunt Theresa and every other mother in my family, even those with no children of their own.

And that now goes for Marcie, too.