“But you’re not Ukiah’s mother anymore.” The funny things that come out of the mouths of babes. I know where this came from. My daughter was trying to wrap her head around the holiday that is mother’s day whilst also wrapping her head around the fact that she has a brother who isn’t here anymore.
“I’m always going to be his mother.” It was a knee-jerk response I wasn’t sure I was capable of. “Just because he’s an angel now doesn’t change the fact that I’m his mother.”
There was a confidence in the statement that surprised me. This confidence didn’t exist in me on my first mother’s day without him. I still remember half-yelling at my own mother “What am I mothering? A box?”
Now it’s different. Now I speak the truth. I’m still his mother. Death changes nothing about that.
Right after Ukiah died, my parents tried to convince me that I was more of a mother than most mothers could ever dream of being. The idea was that by being Ukiah’s mother, for however long it lasted, I somehow become a super-mom. Like being his mother gave me powers somehow. It’s a nice thought, one meant to soothe and bolster at the same time, but it’s not the truth.
I’m just a mom. I’m not super-hero mom. I’m prone to the same short tempers, the same gaps in judgement, the same misgivings as any other mother. Being his mother didn’t give me super-patience, or the ability to see through each and every decision and realize the outcomes.
The one super power it did bestow on me was enjoyment. When I have a moment with my daughter, by god I have a moment. It beautiful and perfect and every part of me knows it. I take my with it, relish in it.
That’s why Sunday was a good day, one of the best. Unlike many a mother’s day, it wasn’t met with a lot of fan fair or flourishes. We went to the grocery store and picked up stuff for a picnic. Then we loaded up the entire family, including the dog, and went to the river. We went to our favorite stretch of beach and had it all to ourselves. I watched the dog play fetch in the water for hours. I helped the daughter dig up sand and find shells. I smiled as she got a stick and pretended to fish. We wrote letters in the sand and drew pictures. She captured a ladybug and named it Bingo.
Every moment of that day, as simple as it was, was perfect. My heart sang and I listened to its melody, completely at peace. Being in the moment, seeing it for what it is and not taking it for granted, that’s my superpower. That’s a gift that is partially from Ukiah and partially from my daughter, and it is a gift I cherish.
p.s. I know I’m beating a dead horse about this, but the George Mark House #fundabed campaign is still going on and it needs your help. Not just donations, but they can use that too, but just getting the word out. Please help them fund two of their beds for a year. A five buck donation buys one meal for one child at the house. Just five bucks. But if you don’t have five bucks, please consider posting it on facebook, sending out a tweet. Anything.