No matter how many times my mother told me that “someday I would understand”, I never believed her. Not once. She was always overreacting, overprotective and overly concerned about any and everything I did. She kept me on a short leash, but yet I was allowed independence. Oh yes, do what you will, til dark, then it’s in the house for the night. Yup. That was curfew; Dark. When you grow up in North Dakota, in the winter, dark is 4pm. Oh Joy. Dinner was always on the table and the house always seemed to be picked up, even though I hadn’t lifted a finger. My clothes were washed and folded in my room and other than the occasional “turn the music down”, she let me be myself. Whether it was talking on the phone, listening to the radio, reading a book or playing Nintendo, I had some pretty great teenage years. I was very active in High School. Art, Soccer, Theatre, Choir, you name it, I did it. She always seemed to be there when I needed it. Sometimes, she’d be there when it wasn’t “cool” for moms to be there. I know I snapped a few hurtful words in her direction multiple times throughout my teen years and even into my early adulthood. I was so concerned with being independent, that I never realised the amazing role she played in my life.
When Charlie and I welcomed Timothy Michael into this world, everything changed. I’m not talking about late nights and no sleep, I’m talking about quiet moments and memories that come flashing back. I remember the townhouse we lived in when I was young. My room was at the top of the stairs and I used to sit up and there and play for hours, but it was the old brown couch downstairs with the crocheted throws on it that I remember. That is where my mother and I would sit and watch movies or read books together. I would sit with my plushie dog and woobie and look through photo albums and ask who people were and no matter how many times I had asked, she always answered with a smile.
I remember crawling into bed with her when I couldn’t sleep or had a bad dream, she’d rock back and forth til I was sound asleep. I remember the smell of her sheets. Only she can make my sheets smell that good. We would sing along to the radio in the car and just laugh. Go for bike rides in the summer joking that she had a bike that looked like the wicked witch’s bike from the Wizard of Oz. The saving of the “plushie” dog numerous times involving everything from sewing him up to glueing his nose back on. Even when I was older, I remembered the way her hugs fit just right and no matter how “fallen apart” my life would be at the moment, that was all I needed. My mother and her hugs. Of course, I was so stubborn and set on being my independent self, I never really admitted that to her. I now know, that she needed to hear that. She needed to hear it everyday.
Grandma and Timothy (2 mos)
Timothy is 2 months old now. He is absolutely the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I look into his blue eyes and my heart almost stops. There are times that Charlie and I will almost argue over who gets to put him to sleep for the night. If you’ve ever had your heart broken, it honestly hurts. It’s chest clutching, sobbing, aching pain that can stop you in your tracks. For me now, it’s realizing we’ll never get this experience back again. Followed by a slight bit of panic, where I want to pick that sleeping baby back up and never let him go. Every time I have to put another set of jammies away because he’s outgrown them, or I watch him learn new things and become more independent, my heart is overjoyed and breaking all at the same time.
Two months, honestly, feels like a week. I can’t imagine how fast each year will pass. I just know that no matter where he goes, or what he becomes, he has a huge piece of my heart that will break and heal itself over and over again as the years go by. I suppose that heartbreak is what reminds us to cherish every moment. I can’t go back to all the times I didn’t tell my mother how much I love her, appreciate her and how she also has a huge piece of my heart, but I can tell her today. And yes, she was right that someday I would understand. That someday is now.