Thursday, August 27, 2009

Today Is Mother's Day

Everywhere else, today is August 27. In many places across this nation, schools have resumed classes. I guess it's another hot, hazy late summer day most places.

Today would have been my mother's 78th birthday so, on my calendar, today is Mother's Day.

I've been thinking today of my memories of her — her love, her warmth, the things she tried to teach me when I was growing up. And I've been thinking of the things she loved — her family, her first–grade students, the things in the world in which she saw beauty.

She was remarkable in many ways. When my brother and I were small, she made our Halloween costumes every year. She would start working on them weeks ahead of time with sewing patterns strewn in the living room and she always completed them with enough time to spare that she still could make any necessary alterations.

I never figured out if the objective was to save some money on Halloween costumes or give her an outlet for her creative energy. Maybe it was a little of both.

She couldn't have saved much money, though, after buying all the supplies she needed to make two costumes.

And she was a stay–at–home mom in those days. She taught for awhile when she was first married, then gave it up while my brother and I were young, but she went back to it when my brother and I were in our teens. She had an artistic flair. I always thought she was a good singer, but I don't know if she agreed, and she played no musical instrument so teaching an appreciative audience of first–graders probably fed her artistic leanings.

As a stay–at–home mom, her creative urges had to be satisfied by doing things for her children — like creating Halloween costumes. I recall being a little embarrassed, wearing homemade costumes when my friends got to wear slick plastic masks and fragile costumes from the store. I didn't appreciate all the things she did for us when I was small, but, today, I am filled with a sense of astonishment at the things she did, year after year. It's one of many things I wish I had told her before she died.

She may not have played a musical instrument, but she was fond of music, all kinds of music, really. Certain singers were particularly high on her list. One was John Denver, who died a couple of years after she did.

I never fail to think of her when I hear a song by John Denver. And one song in particular always makes me think of her. It was recorded when his most popular days were behind him, I think. I'm not even sure if Mom ever heard it. And, if she did hear it, I'm not sure if it had any special meaning for her.

But it does for me. It defines her spirit.

She and I shared a fondness for John Denver's music when I was young. And, until the day I die, "Perhaps Love" will be a reminder to me of all that she meant to me — and what she still means to me today.

The flood that took her life couldn't take that from me.
"If I could live forever
And all my dreams come true,
My memories of love will be of you."