My Mother. My Daughters. Making Me.

This is more writing about Mom.  I write it because it’s still in me to write.  It is part of my day to day, but it is not all of my day to day.  I can’t ignore it as part of my story.  And…  I still have more to say.  I’m not writing it to say, “Feel sorry for me, it still hurts.”  I’m not writing it for pity or support.  I’m writing it because it is my story.  And I believe in the power of telling our stories.

 Little Miss is two and a half years old.  She turned two and a half on Mom’s birthday.  She’s named after her, and has all of her grit and fire.  She is tenacious, high-spirited, and has a wonderful sense of humor.  She makes me climb the walls one minute and melt into a puddle of Mommy goo and love the next.

Baboo is Five months old as of three days ago.  Her smile melts my heart.  Her “Zen” nature has earned her the nickname, “Buddha Baby” (thanks to Auntie K).  She makes Mom’s faces.  She smirks like her.  She smiles like her.  She watches so often, but makes her own demands in her own ways. 

And my Mom isn’t here.  Sometimes I still can’t believe that.  It’s been over two years and it still makes me weep.  She’s still the one that my mental Rolodex scrolls to first when they hit new milestones.  She’s still the one that I want to run to on so many days when I feel whipped at the task of mothering them.

I remember trying to get my mind around her diagnosis in those first days.  I remember wondering if I would have to raise my children without her.  I remember begging God that that wouldn’t be the case.  I remember being so pissed off that at this time when my world should be so consumed with this new life that instead I was consumed with helping my Mom in the fight to not lose hers–not that I begrudged Mom of that.  It just felt like a mean trick life pulled.

I remember how Mom’s eyes lit up when she saw Little Miss for the first time.  How they danced when she was around.  How in the two months they had together Little Miss was the one who could infuse Mom with enough energy to coo and crinkle her eyes up and say the Grandma things.  I remember how her heart was broken by not being strong enough to hold her.  I remember laying on her bed not long before she died…  Me, Little Miss, and her.  She put her arms around us both and said, “Oh Val…  To have you both right here….”  And we cried.

And then Baboo came into the world.  And Mom wasn’t here.  And the grief was fresh again.  Because this time there would be no memories made with her Gramma Caro. 

I became a mother as I lost my mother.  And my world was rocked by that.  My world is still rocked by that. 

She gave me the strength and the courage to be up to the task.  She gave me the sassy comebacks to pepper my daughters with.  She gave Little Miss her attitude, and Baboo her smirky smile. 

I am who I am now because of my mother.  Because of her raising me.  Because of her life.  Because of her death.  I am who I am now because of my daughters.  They keep me going.  They cut through my tears and bring me joy.  They exasperate me.  They fluster me.  And they grow me like she did.

And this is a beautiful mystery.  Tinged with grief.  Infused with hope.  The making of me.

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