It was a crisp, “blue-sky and sunshine” day. Warm for the month of May, but hinting strongly of summer’s promise. It flowed gently, like the breeze that ruffled your hair. You meander, enjoying the brightness and the warmth of the sun; and as you walk along the old, worn path to Mama’s, you reflect on things past. You’re grown now and can look back.
“She was always fussing at me...sit up straight...make sure your face is clean and don’t forget to wash behind your ears....sit still and don’t fidget....don’t be going outside and disappearing, supper’s almost ready...”
The words echo in your mind and in your heart. Mama always fussed, but then, Mama always cared because she always loved.
She always tried to show you. She always baked the best cookies and cakes and after school there was always a large slice of something and a glass of milk. “Just to tide you over until we eat,” she’d say, glad that you were home and that the house wasn’t so empty anymore.
And how she always hated the rips and tears and half-hanging buttons that had to be mended. “Come here,” she’d say, playfully grabbing your arm as you tried to fly by her without her seeing, and already reaching for the needle and thread.
She had the eye of an eagle. Nothing escaped her vision. Not a smile, not a tear. Like the time you broke her favorite vase and were so afraid that you hid under your bed and she’d come looking for you. You were certain that it was the end of your short little life and had sobbed out what you’d done, and she’d just held you close in her arms and whispered in your hair, “just as long as it’s not you that’s broken.”
She was always there. For the good times and the bad, the heartaches and joys, for the excellent and ordinary days of your life. Always. Helping, holding, laughing with you, crying with you, tucking you in and kissing you goodnight until you thought you’d gotten too big. Always making sure that you knew that she cared, that you knew that she loved you.
You’d asked her that once. “I loved you from the moment I first saw you,” she’d said, a twinkle in her bright and beautiful eyes. “You were the ugliest little child...” and she’d laughed, knowing that you knew she didn’t mean it. At least not the ugly part. You always knew that she loved you.
Like when you went away for the first time and had called home because you were so homesick. She’d said, “It’ll be all right. You’ll be fine. You only have to call. We’ll be right here for you.” And they always were. And you’d said, “I’ll work hard and make you proud of me.” And she’d said, “ I already am.” And she was. Always. She believed in you even when you didn’t.
You can picture her now, standing on the porch step, hands caught up in her apron to hide the flour from the fresh biscuits, yelling for your Dad and you to “come inside before everything’s cold.” Her voice trying to sound so harsh, while her heart was happy and glad for the moment in time when she stood and watched you silently before she called out.
All through the years you’d always meant to somehow find a way to tell her, to show her, how very much she meant to you. Now as you walk along, reflecting on the years gone by, you finger the red roses in your arms, knowing they will be her very first.
Stopping, you place them on the ground before the cold granite stone and whisper, “Hi, Mama. Happy Mother’s Day. I’m late, as usual.”
And you can almost hear her say, “I love you anyways.”
(c) Sharon Barber
Now that you're done wiping your eys and crying into your tissues, I would like to say a little something about Sharon. Just recently I had the honor of meeting her via e-mail and can't express what a warm, loving lady she is. In fact, she's the type of person who reaches out to you and makes you smile through your tears....so please, drop her a note, you'll find a great lady at the other end...I promise!
This article first appeared in the Olean Times Herald, May 12, 1991, Olean, NY and was entitled "The Mother's Day Visit". It IS under copyright, so DO NOT take it without her asking her permission first. Ok?
Sharon...THANK YOU for allowing me the privilege of displaying this in my website. I know everyone who reads this will be touched by the beauty of your words!