Repeat of Ode to Mother

This is a poem I wrote last year to my mother. I found it almost by accident this evening. I think it may be one of the best things I’ve ever written because it describes Mother so accurately. I know this is a day late, but I hope you will humor me.

 

Before I was born,
you protected me.
You wouldn’t let
them do a necessary
hysterectomy on you
because you knew there
was me, hidden deep inside.
Thank you for being protective
of me before anyone believed
I existed.

You continued to protect me
in so many ways until the
day that you left us.

Even the last time you
spoke to me, you were
giving me advice that
I didn’t really want to hear,
but I see the wisdom of…
now.

You fed me, clothed me,
changed diapers,
and was there to catch me
if I fell, ever, whether it was
as I took my first steps
or if I fell while trying to
learn how to skate.

You were always there with
bandaids for the scrapes
and scratches, the bruises
and dings of life.

You were not the sort
to go on and on with
sympathetic cooing
and oohing.

You would patch me up,
get me going,
and tell me to not think
about it and I’d be much better.

You were right.
Every single time.
You gave me courage
and impetus to get going
so many times
when I just wanted to give up.

You always listened to me,
giving me the benefit of your
wisdom and your love.

Sometimes you made me
absolutely crazy mad
with your attitudes,
your absolutes,
your stubbornness.

Maybe that was because,
usually,
I knew you were right
and I didn’t want to hear
about it.

You were always the strongest,
most confident woman
I ever met.

Fix a faucet? No problem.
Sew a fancy dress? No problem.
Keep your house clean? No problem.
Hold me when I couldn’t breath
because of asthma? No problem.
Get out of the car to tinker
with it in pouring rain because it died? No problem.
Put together a three course meal with dessert
when unexpected visitors came? No problem.
Wear me out with a paddle when I
rebelled and acted like a brat? No problem.
Stayed calm and collected when I got
lost at JCPenneys? No problem.
Teach me about Jesus and
what was true and what was not? No problem.

I always thought you had
all the answers to life.

I remember your pretty Sunday dresses,
your shiny high heels
as we walked into church.
The smell of Certs in your purse
when I opened it up to get something
for you.

Your ability to talk to anyone, anywhere,
and make them laugh and feel better
was amazing.
It embarrassed me to death sometimes
and I don’t know why.
You were simply being you!

There is so much I remember
about you Mother, that was good.

Then you grew weaker, sicker,
and eventually needed help
with everything: housecleaning,
showering, styling your hair or
dressing you in “that pretty robe, no,
not that one, the pink one.”
No problem.
I was happy to do for you,
what you did for me for years and years.

I cherish those moments.
I cherish all of the moments,
good, bad, and challenging.

I cherish especially a moment
as an adult when you were at
the end of your life and were
lost inside your own mind and
seemed unreachable.

I cried and prayed one day
that I just needed to “talk to my
mother!”

Two minutes later the phone rang,
and it was you, the real you.
You listened and gave me
some of the best advice ever.
Then you said you loved me
and was glad we got to talk.

I cried for ten minutes
afterwards for the blessing
of talking to Mother.

You weren’t perfect,
no one is,
but I always remember,
that you did the things you did
because you loved all of us so much.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mother.
I still miss you.
I still hear you in my head
sometimes when I
wonder what you would do
about something.

You were a great mother,
and I love you, still.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
5/10/15

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