Happy Birthday to You
Babes, today is my mom's birthday!
Look at what a babe she was:
In case you are new here, or I just haven't reminded you recently enough for it to be stuck in your brain, my mom passed away in August of 2010. Her name was Becky. She had colon cancer and fought it like the badass-boss-lady she was. I could dedicate a lifetimes worth of blog posts just to singing her praises, to processing the shitty sadness of not having a loved one here, and to storing all my memories of her before they become too fuzzy for me to recall. She was a shiny beacon of giggling light. She was the queen of the kitchen and read more books than anybody I know. I don't say that lightly- she literally read more books than anybody I've ever met. Our house was dripping with books. We had books on our stairs, books on our furniture, books on kitchen chairs. Oddly enough, all of these books made me want to be a writer. What a coincidence!
I debated not saying anything because once, a few years ago, an acquaintance told me I should "stop talking about my dead mom on the internet". I also wondered briefly what place a celebration of my mom had on a fitness/wellness blog, but then I said fuck it to the "rules" of blogging. In blogging you are supposed to pick a niche if you want to be successful and only write about that one thing literally for the rest of your life but that sounds boring and I do what I want, ok?
I will cry today. This is not really an IF question but more of a WHEN question. In years past this has happened in some really fun places like a public bathroom and a conference room at my office. It's been long enough now that I know I probably won't cry until I get home from work, but I also have all my fingers and toes crossed that I won't start crying in front of all my students. I have only cried once when I was teaching and let me just tell you- it was awkward as fuck. It's not always a sad cry, just more of a shitty "ugh-another-year-without-you" cry and then I usually start laughing because I know she would be so pissed at me for crying instead of living my goddamn life to the fullest. She was a ridiculously positive person.
I still have moments, all these years later, where I immediately think of things that I can't wait to tell her. The other day I was driving home from work and I reached for my phone to call her. Sometimes, in random places like jam-packed grocery stores, one of her favorite songs will come on and I imagine she's sending a quick hey down my way.
Growing into the adult years without my mom physically here has brought some odd questions to light. Who will I call when my kids are shitting their pants and driving me bonkers? Who else knows the perfect recipe for crack-like Christmas cookies? Who else can I whine to about my dad? (Hi, Dad, love you!) It's been six years, but this last year has been one of the hardest. Planning a wedding is a very mother-daughter activity. The thought of going dress shopping without my mom made me so uncomfortable that I bought my dress online, and tried it on in my bedroom. This actually was a blessing in disguise because the lighting in my room is reallllllyyy good. I spend a lot of time wondering how to honor her appropriately on the big day. I try to guess the things she would've suggested so that it feels like she's there. She never got to meet Dan, but I know she would be as in love with him as I am.
I discovered a few years ago that the best way to honor my mom on her birthday was to celebrate her. To make a little list in my head of all of the things about her I love and miss. I mentally thank her each year for instilling in me a dying devotion to the Barefoo-t Contessa, a deep hate for the musical stylings of Kenny G, the skills to make the most perfect grilled cheese sandwich every time. I try to emulate her every day- she was a no-nonsense sass-queen, she liked to mom-dance when the mood struck her (ALWAYS), and made every day feel sparkly. She was quick with a hug and a laugh. She was my favorite person.
Losing somebody you love is a shitty experience- duh. But, it's made me follow my heart fearlessly, stand up for what I believe in, and to stop waiting for my life to happen. I wish she was here- every single day- but I like to think she would be proud of the live we've created and all the love we've found.
Happy January 31st, to you! Go celebrate something good.