Right now I’m watching Mom , sleeping in her chair. I honestly wonder more about her life now than I ever have. Her life before me I mean. The parts she never filled me in on. I look at the pictures and I want to know the story behind them.
Was that your own chicken you are holding?
Is that your cat?
That baby picture obviously you are at your farm and is that your baby buggy in the background?
You look so happy riding your bike mom, where is that?
I wish I knew more and had asked more questions over the years, about the pictures and the stories behind them. She always had such funny and interesting stories to tell about her growing up years, but now watching her sleep I wonder about so many different parts of her life.
Did I hear enough?
Did I ask enough questions?
Will I be able to share some of her stories?
Is anyone going to be interested in her stories?
It would be so nice to hear some of those stories again.
I am thinking about all of the relationships she has had in her 90 years. I want to recall for her sake.
Now that she is unable to recall very accurately to tell me more, is when I feel the need to want to know more. I often times will still ask about a picture or an old relative and she will respond with confidence and sadly I question if that is accurate recall. But then
….does that matter?
Our “first relationships” to develop are with our parents and siblings. What were those relationships like for mom, I know the basic answers but not the details. I do look at old photos and try to piece together the things she has told me.
Mom always spoke lovingly about her own dad with the utmost respect and admiration. He was a “kind and gentle giant” . But, when he spoke, you listened. Even when he didn’t speak you listened!
“He had a way of looking at you that you knew not to say another word.”
“All he had to say when we were sitting at the table is one word… “Bud”,
or whomever, in his stern voice. Bud would stop what he was doing right away, and there was no discussion of what he wanted Bud to stop doing.
Moms Mom, was very sweet, to everyone, always. Welcoming to all (parents in a future post)
Mom adored her siblings. (siblings in a future post)
“They always made me feel special”
referring to her parents and siblings. She knew she was loved. Mom was the “surprise”, and ten years younger than Uncle Bud.
“There was always family around, I was never lonely”
The firsts of any kind of relationship come with intense excitement.
HER FIRST (AND LAST) LOVE
“we could look across the table from each other and not say a word and know what the other was thinking”
When mom tells stories or talks about the special relationship that her and dad had, I think that what they shared was rare. I think that now, but growing up, I thought that all husbands and wives had what my parents had.
I have never gotten tired of hearing stories about when my parents were young. They had great friends and so much fun with their friends. (friends in future post)
First love in future post, too , but all of this leads to , drum roll please…..
HER FIRST BORN……
AGAIN…The firsts of any kind of relationship come with intense excitement.
HER FIRST BORN
Our “first relationships” to develop are with our parents and siblings.
There is not much more special than your first born child,
that is, of course, until your second born child comes along.
What happens through these years – just look at the way she is looking at him (above) and how happy she looks with him (below). That love, that connection, so evident through her eyes then … and now…
Does geography play a part in a relationship?
Not in this case… not in the least. Mom has certain expectations of Bruce. She would usually visit him pretty much wherever he has lived.
“I always liked to know where my kids are.”
The frequent phone calls, the flowers he sent/still sends for every occasion. Always on mothers day regardless of where he has been. She will definitely mention if he hasn’t called or if she didn’t receive her flowers on a particular occasion. Funny though that she acts surprised when she does receive them.
Bruce had the longest time with daddy, that must have made it more difficult for him in some ways.
Was there an expectation to care for mom?
Was there an expectation to care for the rest of us?
But he rarely talked/talks about it; his relationships with mom or dad. Bruce was only 18, almost 19 when we lost daddy.
Did that experience for Bruce, barely a young man, help to mold his relationship with mom?
Bruce is an oxymoron, he is a “sensitive male”, a real one, and I have always wondered if he learned that from mom or dad but most likely it was the combination.
“So mom what are the things you remember about Bruce as a child?”
“oh I don’t know, I guess he was always on the go, always liked a little adventure”
“well that has never changed”
“What else mom? About Bruce?”
“each child has their own special”…….
and she doesn’t finish but retreats back into herself
Please, mom come back….. just for a bit.
“what else mom, about Bruce? What are some special things about your relationship with Bruce?”
“oh I don’t know, I don’t know if I know what you are asking.”
she was quiet for a minute
“Music, I guess, we both grew up enjoying music.”
” oh that’s true, so he must have acquired his love of music, and his musical talent from you then.”
“well I don’t know about that.”
She has talked about each of my siblings at length so often over the years, and now I feel that I need to squeeze out every last memory . Why didn’t I journal more over the years. I want to share with all of my siblings their special place in moms heart.
I try again… please be good timing
“What are some things he did as a kid?”
“He always found good healthy fun, like building the log cabin in Concord. He was older and daddy never had a problem with him using any of the tools”
“Those were such fun years living there, it was good for everybody.”
again she retreats
We all looked up to Bruce, literally and figuratively.
“Did you ever get mad at him, I mean did he misbehave, ever?
“You know I don’t believe so, well not that I know of, he was a pretty good boy”
(Well that’s cute, he was a pretty good boy. )
“were you mad when he cracked up the Rambler?”
“oh no, I was glad he was alright”
“He brought you to your first red sox game with your first great grandchild, didn’t he”
I show her the picture
“oh that’s right, he did , didn’t he?”
Again, her recall is foggy. I wish I had written things down over the years, documented some of the things she has said. Her concerns about her kids. Her memories, both happy and sad. Mom was busy when we were growing up and may not have always had the time with us that she wanted and after we were all settled away from home is when she was able to have a bit of time. I believe she has had some of that time given back to her from each one of us.
We all know that her time is limited and I am sure you must be thinking the same way I’m thinking…..
I wish I had asked more questions.
I wish I had written things down.
I wish we all had had more time.
Will I be able to share my stories?
Will anyone be interested in my stories?
“mom, Bruce is going to come for a visit.”
“what about Karen?”
“she can’t make it this trip”
I am so happy that Bruce is coming back again , even if for a short visit. That connection, that bond between a mother and child can always use a recharge at any age. And I need to hear his stories. Is that selfish of me? I need to hear more about her, I’m hanging on to her as best I can. I want to share her and her memories or what were her memories.
That love, that connection, so evident through her eyes then … and now…
…. through his eyes.
2 thoughts on “First Relationships”
I spent my April vacation poring over old photos with my brothers and Mom. She didn’t say much, but she sat up and stayed awake with us longer than we expected. We discovered new old photos and a treasure trove of my maternal grandmother’s handwritten reminiscences, snippets of her childhood and of my mother’s childhood. Mom sustained attention reading those. Though her body’s failing and her mind drifts, she still lives in the present with us. Like your mother, Mom never complains. Her sweetness of temperament is a blessing.
These times become so much more precious as time passes by, don’t they?