So as I reach the same age that my Mother was the day she gave birth to me, the sun is shining a normally abnormal glow. I rarely see the sun on my birthday. There are a few past years when the sun shined down through the blizzard like conditions, but I couldn’t tell you which years those rare events happened. Maybe in my teenage years, maybe when I was just a kid.
I am forty years old today, and I miss my Mom immensely. Some people like to say that time heals all wounds, but that is not completely accurate. Time simply allows us to grow accustomed to walking around with holes. Time helps us adjust, but the wounds never officially heal. No. The wounds are always open, and most of the time that is a good thing, because it lets the air in. However, that also means that those wounds will occasionally gather particles from the air and those little bits can start to fester until the wounds are washed out with tears.
Anyone who has lost someone that they loved with every fiber of their being will understand what I am talking about. Grief never goes away; it just gets placed on a shelf inside of us. Sometimes, we dust it off, other times the vibrations of life wiggle the grief until it falls off of that shelf and comes crashing down…smashing to bits at our feet. It is those times when we have to pick it back up, ever so gently glue it back together and place it yet again on that shelf inside of us, those times never get any easier.
I am hoping today is not one of those times, but it usually is. I don’t want to let the vibrations of life knock things off my shelves, but it happens. My birthday reminds me of my Mom. She is the reason for this day, and I can’t help but wish that she was still here. Saying that, I feel selfish. I feel selfish because she is not the only one that is missing from the everyday. Dad is gone too, and so are my brothers. One brother is literally gone…the others are figuratively. My grandparents are no longer in this world; Aunts, Uncles, as well as some very good friends have all passed over.
I have moments when I get so angry. I get angry because I knew, even when I was a small child, I knew that I was getting screwed over. That sounds so bratty, and ungrateful, doesn’t it? Oh poor me, poor, poor me. I am not ungrateful. I have been extremely blessed in my life and I wish not to discredit those blessings, but I am also a realist and I am not going to ignore what I occasionally feel inside of my soul.
I am forty years old today. My Mother was forty when I was born on a cold, snowy January day. I really have no idea what it was like outside that day. If I had the opportunity to hear it straight from my Mother’s mouth, I was too young to realize the magnitude of worth in seizing that moment. Many mothers and daughters butt heads, and my Mom and I were no different. We fought like crazy all though my teenage years. Stupid teenage angst, hormones and hot-headedness. Now that I am a Mother myself, I fully grasp all the many times when my Mom said “You’ll understand when you have children of your own”. She was right. I do understand. I understand that Mom loved every one of her children, all in different ways…and yet still equal in strength.
So why is it that I get angry? I get angry because my daughters will never get to enjoy their Nana. They will never get to be scolded by her, or have their hair cut by her steady and knowing hands. They will never get to see her sipping her cup of tea while reading a romance novel, or see her smile at them. They will never truly experience the way their Nana sounded when she spoke, with her Irish brogue that sounded so normal to me. I can only hope to keep my Mother alive in my girls through stories, through pictures, and through the occasional yet rare video tape my sister had recorded years ago. Even all of these reasons are selfish, and I am ok with that.
To be honest, my daughters don’t know any different. Nana has been in heaven since before they were born. So it is merely self-serving for me to be angry about her absence in their lives. I know this. But it still happens. I do still get twinges of anger that life couldn’t grant me the wonderful experience of having my Mom, while I am a Mom myself. I guess that is the tradeoff of being born last in line.
My older siblings (I have six other siblings still alive) have always carried a chip on their shoulder because I was the youngest. Most of them blame me, but I understand that their anger towards me is displaced. How could being born last in line possibly be my fault? Some of them have always referred to me as “spoiled”. It took me years to understand how and why they viewed me this way. They are correct in many ways. I wasn’t spoiled with gifts, I didn’t get anything I wanted from my parents, but I did get a lot of one particular thing from my folks that they may not have. Time. I did get a LOT of time with my parents.
It is funny peculiar though, because the time that I had was gifted to me when I was young, and immature. Time was given to me when I didn’t realize the value of it. I didn’t realize how precious that time was. I didn’t realize how fleeting time can really be. I do now though, of course, in retrospect. I was actually quite blessed to have been born the youngest in my family, but there was a tradeoff that I do not recall signing up for. Yes, I had more one on one time with my parents. By the time I was in high school, all of my siblings had moved out and had families of their own.
Because of this sequence of birth order, I had oodles of time to spend with Mom and Dad while no one else was grabbing for their attention. I have a ton of memories of things I did with my parents, places I went with them, time spent together…and I share most of those memories with no one else but myself. In that aspect, I WAS spoiled. But I never chose it that way. Life just happened in that order.
The tradeoff for this is that now that I am older, and life has matured me…I don’t get to have my parents around while I am raising my own kids. I don’t get to have those heart to heart conversations with my Mother, as friends. I don’t get to have her knowledge passed down to me when I could really use it the most. But, that’s ok. For in her place, life has given me other Mothers, and Fathers. Now, I have two Mother-In-laws, a Grandmother In-Law, and a Husband who loves our children (and me) immensely. I have two Fathers-In-Law, and a Grandfather In-Law, all whom I love a great deal.
I miss my Mom. I miss my Dad. I miss my brothers…most of them. I miss my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and friends who have all traveled on before me. I will continue to miss them every single day, but they are all still here with me…in these holes in my heart…sitting on this shelf inside of me. Today, they all reflect the sun, on my fortieth birthday, and I feel blessed.
Molly Roland is a writer by nature, and she enjoys stepping over the invisible lines society loves to draw.