Mother’s Day approaching has felt a little like a ticking bomb that may or may not detonate. My guess has been as good as yours as to my reaction. My instincts, right now, tell me to tell you to love your mother more. Hug her more. Take pictures. Share stories.
I think that it is an understandable emotion to wish to redo moments. It’s okay to wish to go back in time to hug a little longer. That fleetingness of life and love—that’s what makes it so perfect.
When I was little, it’s no secret I used to wake up in the wee hours of the night to scurry to my mom and dad’s bed. I never feared the dark, per say. Rather, I feared the partial moonlight that would cast into my room and create shadows on my wall. I would look at them and see the silhouettes of trees and know they were trees, but I was always a little worried one day I’d open my squinty eyes and see something else. So I’d jump out of bed with my eyes closed and run directly to my mom’s side of the bed. She must have just expected me by that point because there was always a spot open for me. While I’d climb into bed with little grace, my mom would open her eyes and ask in a shallow awareness if it was me. I’d respond in a whisper “Mami, can I sleep in your bed?”
No answer was needed, I was already snuggled up to her.
My favorite moments were Saturday or Sunday mornings. I’d wake up but lay still with my eyes closed. My mom and dad would be awake and my mom would quietly talk to my dad about me while gently stroking my hair. I’d pretend to sleep as long as possible, but eventually, I would open my eyes and smile.
“Mami? How do you make pancakes?”
She’d laugh. “Do you want to make pancakes? Or do you want me to make you pancakes? You’ll make a mess! I’ll just make them today.”
Those moments will live infinitely in my mind. Each time I think of them I will smile and tears will collect in my eyes. I’ll never have those moments again, but I’m so beyond happy I had them when I did.
My mom would always say “I am the architect of my own destiny.” This came from a very favorite poem of hers titled “At Peace” by Amado Ruiz de Nervo. I never knew that until after she passed away, at which point we used the poem for her memorial. It was strikingly apt:
Very near my setting sun, I bless you, Life
Because you never gave me neither unfilled hope
Nor unfair work, nor undeserved sorrow/pain
Because I see at the end of my rough way
That I was the architect of my own destiny
And if I extracted the sweetness or the bitterness of things
It was because I put the sweetness or the bitterness in them
When I planted rose bushes I always harvested roses
Certainly, winter is going to follow my youth
But you didn’t tell me that May was eternal
I found without a doubt long my nights of pain
But you didn’t promise me only good nights
And in exchange I had some peaceful ones
I loved, I was loved, the sun caressed my face
Life, you owe me nothing, Life, we are at peace!
What I’m reflecting on for Mother’s Day is how beautiful a philosophy that is, and how beautiful my mom was for loving and living this. I’ve thought about my part in my life—in constructing something sweet and good. In harvesting only roses.
My mom was extremely good at being the architect for not only her destiny, but for mine, as well. (I won’t speak on behalf of my Dad and sisters, but I imagine the feeling is similar.) She could draft up a destiny on a whim. In fact, occasionally she would toss her blueprints in the air and only visualize what she needed. She laughed, she loved, and she LIVED. Then near her setting sun, she slowly began to pass me the drafting paper, little by little, but continuously. Eventually all the tools were in my possession: instructions learned over the course of 27 years. While that was not enough time for instruction (it will never be enough time), she made sure I was fully prepared to take over as architect.
Tomorrow I will clutch my “blueprints.” I will clutch them in my arms as tightly as I can and be grateful for what she left me and the memories I will always have because of the beauty she had in her. I will spend my time celebrating that and allowing myself the responsibility to take over and create something wonderful for the future. MAYBE I’ll even try to make some pancakes.
That is my choice for tomorrow. Tomorrow WILL be a Happy Mother’s Day.
❤ Meet you on the beach someday, Mama.