I may miss my mother, but I see her everyday.
One of the best things about having children is discovering little flashes of their grandparents in their faces or personalities.
My mother was a nut. For her, and her three sisters, life was one big walk though an amusement park. They never had much growing up – that is if you measured life in material objects. But on the other side of the scorecard, the place where you find love, respect and knowing you were never alone, she did better than most. For her, life in the early part of the 20th century was one of difficult economic times, world wars and political uncertainty.
But then there was a stream running behind the little stone cottage where she and her sisters would spend their time. I guess being rich in imagination and never knowing you were poor helped her forge a character of optimism and a disposition for always looking for the good in life.
My mother never took herself too seriously. Life, in her eyes, was much to short to get caught up in the busybody lifestyle or worrying too much about what others might think. If she felt strongly about something, well, that was it.
I remember a story once about when she went to visit an elementary school my brother and I would be attending after a move across state. Dressed in a colorful dress and heels, she strolled through the halls looking into each room and sizing up where she’d be sending her two boys during the day. She must’ve visited with a dozen people that day – from administrators to teachers. Only later, when leaving the building, did she realize she’d toured the entire building with a plastic toy propeller twirling in the wind from the back seat of her dress. Apparently either my brother or I’d left a wooden airplane in the front seat and she’d inadvertently sat on top of it when she went to visit the school.
I only tell this story because I know if my mother were alive today, she’d tell you the same story, laughing all the way. That is just how she was.
Today I see my mom everyday in her 17-year old granddaughter. Our daughter’s confidence and self-assured disposition is exactly of my mom with the overriding attitude of don’t take yourself too seriously. I’ve seen our daughter trip and fall in the most unexpected moments to only bounce back up and leave a room with a brilliantly disarming smile silently saying “I meant to do that”.
Not once, but so many times the past seventeen years I could never hope to keep count of her graceful falls and exits.
My mother’s granddaughter is strong-willed, free-spirited and always going to land on her feet with a smile. Although the two never met, there is now doubt they are cut from the same piece of wild, crazy and sometimes irreverent bolt of cloth.
Today marks the thirty-fourth year without my mother in my life. But through the magic of genetics, she’ll always be near as my daughter.
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