Monday, August 18, 2008

More Than A Thousand

Today as I was reading a book to my daughter, I felt myself start to tear up.    Sometimes I can go for a long time without being sad about my Mom not being here.   It's been almost 9 years since she passed away, and most days I go through the day without shedding a tear at all about it.   But then there are other days, where the most random thing will make me have that scratchy place in my throat, then the misty eyes, and then, the totally choked up feeling where I know if I continue talking, I'm gonna cry.   Sometimes I continue; sometimes I don't.   This time, even though I was reading to River, I decided it was worth it to keep going, even if the tears came.

The book was about a girl who believed she was a ballerina.    She envisioned herself dancing up on stage, as a prima ballerina, even though she had never really taken lessons.    Her parents knew that she loved it, and so eventually they agreed to send her to lessons - and, no, this is not Angelina Ballerina.    It'd be pretty bad if some little mice made me cry.    The story goes on, and the little girl was going to be in a recital.   She wore her pretty costume, and had her fun make up on, and did great up on stage.   Of course, the story sounded familiar to one of my own, but that wasn't the part that made me sad.    The part that got me was this quote:

"After we were finished, Mom clapped and laughed and smiled her proud-of-you smile."

I think that's one of the things that I miss the most from my sweet Mama.   If I had to describe how she looked at me more times than not, it would be that look.   Where she clapped and laughed and smiled so proudly at me.   From the smallest of deeds to the greatest of accomplishments, she believed in me, and encouraged me in who I was completely.    From the time that I was little, and would mess up on a drawing, to when I was older and had real issues, I would go to her with my problem, and she would say to me, "You'll figure it out.   You'll find a way to make it work out."   She didn't tell me just what to do to smooth things over.  She didn't make me do the formulated "right" response.   She didn't do it for me.   She believed that I knew what to do, and allowed me to find out how to make it happen.   

There's a picture that one of my friends captured at my high school graduation of my mom looking at me with that expression.   I can't tell you how true it is, that a picture is worth much more than a thousand words.

As I continued after that statement in the book, even though I knew the tears were coming,  River looked up at me and said, "Are you crying?"

And I said, "Yeah.  I am."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because it makes me miss my Mama.   And how proud of me she always was.   With dancing, with everything.   But it's okay to be sad about it.   Sometimes it's good to be sad." I reassured.

"Let's not think about it anymore.   Let's read this book."  and she moved to the next book in the stack.

I laughed and said okay.   But someday, I'll have to teach her, that we can't always do that.   Believe me, I know.   That's what I've done my whole life.    But, not today.   And even though it only lasted about a minute, it was good to grieve for that minute.


emily said...

I'm so glad to hear you let those emotions swing on in to your day today...what a beautiful tribute to your mom. Clearly, you are that kind of mom to River and Asher...Thanks for sharing this with us.

I sure wish I could have met her.

melissa said...

come on, em...they were staying away just fine...until that last line. ;) i do, too.

Amy Sasser said...

I had tears in my eyes just reading your post. Your mom would have lots to be proud of today. Sorry we missed you yesterday at the park. We had just gotten in from a walk and Anna was going down for her am nap.Love you friend.

Caroline said...

That was so sweet Melissa, and I teared up too. I can't imagine what it would be like to not have my mom around. Even though I never knew her, I know she would be so so proud of the woman, wife, and mother you are.

Jennifer P. said...

thank you so much for sharing that. I have LOVED finding bloggers in similar situations as mine and knowing I'm not alone. It sounds like your mom taught you some wonderful lessons to pass onto your girl---and in that sense she'll live on forever.

Thank you so much for your sweet comment too.

Sarah said...

I think it is a beautiful picture of you showing River what it looks like to experience all the feelings of life. She'll grow up with that knowledge of healthy emotions...what a treasure for her. One day she'll appreciate those tears.