I miss my mom.
The things I miss about her surprise me.
I miss how easily she put an elaborate meal together.
When my husband and I were first dating, he came over unexpectedly and my mother whipped up her famous and delicious brisket. He talked about it for days (still does). It is one of our favorite meals although I can’t quite seem to duplicate it. It is missing her special touch.
I miss her burnt and overcooked rolls.
She loved to cook family and holiday meals, and it wouldn’t be a meal at our house without her exclamation after grace, “ The ROLLS, I forgot the rolls!” I smile and think of her every time I forget the rolls or eat a burnt one.
I miss her wise and funny ways.
Setting the table was my chore after mom had spent hours ironing the tablecloth for Sunday dinner or a holiday meal. I was also tasked with setting out the mandarin orange salad. It was a favorite because we all loved the sweet sections of orange goodness sprinkled throughout it. My mother, however, was adamant that we could not sneak any extra because they were so expensive. We had no idea what that actually meant in terms of dollars, we just knew not to eat them or the wrath of Mom would come down on us.
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As we all grew older and left the house, we would often remind Mom of her genius ploy to keep us out of those delicious tidbits—as it turned out, they really weren’t all that pricey. Well played, Mom, well played.
I miss how excited she got over a recipe she was dying to make.
I miss her and my dad dancing in the living room after dinner and how she always said, “I’ve danced with your dad for so long, I can’t dance with anyone else.”
I miss her calling me and being able to call her.
She often called about a really delicious meal she ate at a new restaurant and how she just knew it had a tad of raspberry in it.
I miss all the cards she used to send that were always on time or even early. Each one of us got a call on our birthdays with a rather slow and off-tune rendition of Happy Birthday. It was the best!
She was also clever. One year she had me try on a sweater to see if it would fit my sister. Imagine my surprise when it was one of my Christmas gifts. Turns out she had each of us girls try on our own sweaters, and we didn’t figure it out.
I miss calling her and asking for recipe recommendations.
I opened a cookbook recently looking for a macaroni salad recipe. An index card fell out with Mom’s familiar and beautiful script on it. She wrote “the pasta salad recipes on page 106 are especially good, enjoy! Love, Mom.” I looked at the inside cover and realized this cookbook had been a Christmas gift during our first year of marriage. I made the pasta salad, and it was a big hit. Once again, Mom came through for her non-cooking daughter.
There is so much more I miss about my mom even though she is not gone physically.
Sadly, dementia has robbed her of most of her memories.
I sit beside her and hold her hand—while she is there physically, she is not there. Our conversations revolve around the little she does remember and jumbled conversations about the past.
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When my children were little, I worried I wasn’t creating special memories for them. Most of which involved money we did not have. I now know the memories we create have nothing to do with money and everything to do with ordinary moments and time spent together.
Cherish those moments (even the hard ones). The bits and pieces of everyday moments are what you will long for. Don’t miss them, they are treasures.