Without Birthdays There’d Be No Mother’s Day

I don’t remember the day I was born, do you? But ask any mother about the day her child was born and she will be glad to fill you in.

(Imagine a New York accent.) “Little Johnny came on a rainy Wednesday. Oh yah, he gave me the fits for eleven hours. Johnny just didn’t have a clue as to how to get outta there, so I pushed him! I’ve been pushing him ever since. But anyway, his arm was up over his noggin, the doctor said, so a puny thumb flipped out first like a hitch hika. The Doc fumbled around so only his head was crowning and all. That hurt like a bugga! The good thing was it helped me forget my husband was layin on the floor out cold. He lost it when a nurse handed him a soiled towel to throw in the linen basket. Geez Louise, I had to do the Lamaze all by myself. All that breathing! The nurse took ova holding my hand and started breathing with me. The doc said to start pushing. Golly. Finally, after all the ‘don’t pushes’ and ‘not yets’ I felt like I had the constipations. So I pushed like a motha and screamed like a psycho lady. Lamaze schlamaze! That kid took my breaths away. I swear little Johnny and I were the same color of blue. I bet a dolla he was. Actually, I did swear. More than once, but who’s countin’ at that point. The doc said I was doin’ good, and that I was fully effaced. Ida like to slap him in his efface! Everyone, including my husband, who pulled up beside me again, kept sayin’ to push. With my eye balls bouncin’ at each one of ‘em I yelled with spit comin’ out, ‘I am! I am! Holy Schmoly! Get this kid outta me!’ The doc told me to give it one last big push, which was good, because that’s alls I had left. So I pushed like a weightlifta and out came my boy like a bowling ball. The nurse put him on my chest like a slab of meat and I was so full of the emotions. Johnny cried, for crying out loud, and my husband came in close and all our tears mixed together. I’d go through it all over again! A miracle it was, a miracle for sure.”

Due date determined by the baby, not the mother | SciTech ...

Pink Teddy Bear

She had flushed pink cheeks and her eyebrows wouldn’t sit still. Emily’s eyes, fixed on mine, wore anxiety and a shade of sad. Their teddy bear was dead, the one that connected my dying mother to my living six year old child. She couldn’t look at it. The bear she had covered with some of my work uniforms in our walk-in-closet. Emily’s guilt and grief were bound tight. Emily had forgotten to put the bear back up on her bed and Charlie our dog mangled it. Another loss.

The bear had been in the care of my mother until she passed away last year. The shaggy pink bear was looked after quite nicely by my mother. She made sure to send messages through me to Emily about how the bear was behaving. I told my mother how Emily was behaving.

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There is an album on my desk filled with written thoughts and poems and stories about my mother. On the cover is my mother holding the bear. It is one of my favorite photos of her. Emily sees the photo whenever she passes my desk. I reassured Emily that it was going to be okay. Her sadness awakened in me a sleeping grief. We shared it for a while.

I sat on the edge of our bed as Barbara spoke tenderly to Emily.

“I’m sorry you are so sad. It hurts doesn’t it? You know what? Grandma is babysitting the bear now. They are together.” Barbara, mother, kept speaking comfort and assurance to a little fractured heart. Mine.

Her words came from a mother place. Emily was comforted and I was too.

*

A year has passed since my mother died. It was early on a Monday morning. The all night vigil had taken its toll and I had fallen asleep. My head rested on the edge of the bed next to her womb. I woke to find her birthed into a greater light. One day I will awake and see her again, but not yet.

A Christmas Card From Above: In Cursive

She Scotch-taped them as they arrived.

The threshold couldn’t hold them all.

Between the living room and kitchen

the Christmas cards hung open like parted lips.

 

Postal employees carried double heavy loads then.

Stamps were less than a dime

and tongues licked each one.

They arrived all through December.

 

To me it was like any collectors dream.

I used to collect beer and pop bottle caps

and keep them in an old Maxwell house coffee tin.

On occasion they fell out and stood in ordered battalions.

 

The cards lined up too and I thought

my mother was a curator of sorts.

She put them up for display

and passersby would thumb them open.

 

Beyond the Currier and Ives images,

beyond the glittered Santa beards,

beyond the bright star over the Savior

were cursive words at the bottom inside.

 

Greetings from around town and around the country,

hand written in indelible ink from indelible friends.

Aunts and uncles too, grandma’s and grandpa’s

shaken scrawl etched in the lower corner.

 

She sent them out too,

Her cursive swirled inside like flurries.

Her words beautiful, quiet,

and ending always in ‘Love comma.’

 

This Christmas eve I pray for snow.

I pray that the God of ‘Nothing is Impossible’

would send me snowflakes in the wind

like my mother’s handwriting.

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