When my father died, it was just me and my mother, both trying to find our way. My way as a rising senior in high school, her way as a young widow. I looked at her for validation of who I was and what I did and even what I wore. She was my person. Everything was ok as long as I could see her, talk to her, be near her.
When I got married, my biggest worry was, is she going to be okay without me? Isn’t that funny? I knew it wouldn’t be like when I went to college and she said “go”, because I was still technically living at home. But this, this was different. I wouldn’t be living with her anymore. Wouldn’t see her every day. Would she be okay without me? Turns out she was just fine. But then again, that’s my mother.
She never worried about the future, only lived in the present. As far back as I can remember she would always say, “whatever will be will be” and “it will all work out how it’s supposed to.”
There was a nine-year span where my mother and I lived together as two single women. Sounds like a television comedy and it was just glorious. We would both be in our respective bathrooms getting ready to go dancing, music playing, clothes laid out for inspection.
We would leave our apartment and go our separate ways. It was at the local diner where I would end up after my night ended, hanging out with my friends over late night eggs. And then it would happen. The energy in the diner would become electric. People would start milling around. A low buzz would begin and grow as the door to the diner opened. I knew what was happening. My mother had just walked in, with her bright smile, her glittery clothes and her sparkly eyes.
Everyone in attendance wanted to look at her, inspect this light of a woman who electrified the dull diner. Some even approached her for a hug and a kiss. She and Joe would be escorted to their usual booth, where they would cheerfully speak to anyone who ventured over to say hello.
One night, a friend of mine had brought a friend who didn’t know this was a weekly occurrence. She was fascinated by the hubbub and said, “who’s THAT?” To which I proudly answered, “that’s my mom.”
I haven’t thought about that in a very long time. Honestly, it feels a hundred years ago. But even now, I still see that dazzling woman in front of me. Her warmth and her love still find a way through.