Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Flowers: To Buy or Not To Buy?

What's the mailing address to Heaven? I need to send a card.

It just occurred to me that Sunday is Mother's Day. You know how I know? Just a commercial on Pandora. They wanted to sell some jewelry, and they thought somebody might want to buy it for their mom. I guess they don't know I'm not their audience.

I was thinking back to the last Mother's Day I spent with my mom. It was 2005. As simple as it was, I can't imagine it being any different, fitting, or better. My mom and I went to Captain D's for lunch that day. No dress-up, nothing. Not the typical Mother's Day Sunday lunch, you say? Maybe not for you, but for me and my mother, right then, it was. That May, we were still trying to heal from a quite devastating shake-up in my family. The family structure I had known all of my 19 years was this--Mama, Daddy, boy, girl, dog, house... that kind of thing. Suddenly (at least it felt sudden), it wasn't that. Instead, my family was more like one person, one person, one person, one person, no dog, empty house. So a few months after that, I'd say lunch at Captain D's--just the two of us--was as good as it could be for the time, and in retrospect, even better.

I can't remember much about the lunch, other than the fact that it had to have been some sort of fast food fish and hushpuppies. But I do remember dessert. We both got a piece of pecan pie. We didn't eat the pie there, though. We took the pie with us with a to-go order for my grandmother. At Maw's house, we ate pie. And that was that. It was simple, it was low-key, and it was an overall good enough time.

That day, we probably were thinking that our lunch was part of a new beginning. It was kind of like a start-over, and we both seemed to know that things would be (dare I say could be) different, and it was time. Our dynamic could and would change, and we'd move into the mother/daughter stage of being better friends.

Today, I can see that day as more of a wrap-up. Who knew that'd be the last Mother's Day we'd spend together? I'm glad it was that way, and I'm even more glad that my mom and her mom had time together that day. Lord knows we all have plenty of strains in relationships, but God has a funny way of lining things up for us, you know? He worked that out. He pulled the three of us together for what seemed like a regular day. But he knew that nine years later I'd be listening to the radio and hear a Mother's Day commercial and think back to that day and just how spectacular it really was. Maybe it's His way of countering bitterness with a precious memory. "How they linger, how they ever flood my soul... Precious father, loving mother... fly across the lonely years. And old home scenes of my childhood in fond memory appears."

Mother's Day isn't about buying a gift for my mom anymore. As a child, I drew homemade cards for her on construction paper. Later, I used my allowance or chore money to buy something that I just knew she'd love, and she always did, even though it was usually tacky or useless. Then, one time, I went to lunch with her at Captain D's. Now, it's all about remembering her. We've tried the flower thing, but I remember my mom saying when I was younger, "If you don't buy me flowers when I'm living, don't buy them for me when I'm dead." I've learned now that putting flowers on her grave isn't so much about sitting a plant or pot of flowers on her grave, because I truly will forget to water them often enough, and they'll die too. It's about the time. It's about time that I can spend feeling connected to her. It's about time that I can look back on how things were, how things have changed, and all that she should be here for. I don't go to the cemetery other than to put flowers there. Number one, there have been some shady characters on the outside of that fence, and number two, she's not there. That wooden box, as pretty as it was, is not where my mama is. She's in Heaven, where peace and serenity abound for her, where she sings made-up, forced-rhyme, absolutely ridiculous songs with who-knows-who, and where she has the perfect view of all that I wish she could be a part of still.

Sissy's Song by Alan Jackson
Why did she have to go
So young I just don't know why
Things happen half the time
Without reason without rhyme
Lovely, sweet young woman
Daughter, wife and mother
Makes no sense to me
I just have to believe

She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me

Loved ones she left behind
Just trying to survive
And understand the why
Feeling so lost inside
Anger shot straight at God
Then asking for His love
Empty with disbelief
Just hoping that maybe

She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me

It's hard to say goodbye
Her picture in my mind
They'll always be of times I'll cherish
And I won't cry 'cause

She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me
Don't worry 'bout me

I wish I had more pictures of us. Our world is full of pictures now... of everything. I always like to think that I'm glad I didn't have to grow up in the Facebook and Instagram era, but I can say it'd be pretty cool to have more pictures of my mom, and my mom and me. But like the song says, her picture is in my mind, and it's not a still photograph. It's more like video. Living memories with voice, laughter, emotion, memory, and the extra edge that a photograph just doesn't have.

So will we buy flowers? I don't know. We can. It's fine if we do. It'd be a nice gesture to show other folks that we remembered our mom on Mother's Day. But that gesture isn't one she'd care about. Time. That's what would matter most. Time spent remembering, laughing, having fun, and being together.

At this point, Mother's Day for me can either be a day that I dread with bitterness because if you don't have a mama you can't celebrate... or I can just deal with it, and trust that the memories we made for that short time are enough to carry me through the years.

I sure do miss her...


Em said...

Great reminder to enjoy loved ones every chance we get

Meaghan said...

B, you have such a gift. Your friendship is such a gift. Your mother got it right with you. Praying that you have a good weekend, filled with good memories.