My mother was the first great presence in my life. Not just in stature did she overwhelm me, as she towered past my 5′ 3″ frame at nearly 6 feet of height. She was larger than life in her bubbly personality, quick wit, and ready laugh. She exuded capability, leadership, and governance all laced with kindness, temperance, and fierce love for my brother and me.
Mom had a deep interest in all things health related and was fanatical about making sure my brother and I ate clean, nutritious foods from both from our garden and local sources. She was convinced, well before her time, that food additives would be the downfall of modern civilization.
She was equally insistent about the benefits of daily exercise. Back in 70s and 80s, before we owned awesome video games, laptops, and iPhones, exercise wasn’t an issue for my brother or me. We spent the majority of our free time running around like crazed banshees in our safe neighborhood. However, with Mom’s busy work schedule, plus, added homemaking, volunteering, and parenting the two of us, finding the time to exercise wasn’t always easy. In the winter months she’d walk or jog, often after dark, but when summer rolled around, she’d excitedly don her swimsuit and do lap after lap each evening in our neighborhood pool.
I have so many memories of her long arms and legs gliding effortlessly through the water as if it were the only place that she was meant to be graceful. Her strokes were impeccable and I’d attempt to imitate her swift butterfly, or crawl, with the best grandeur my stubby arms and legs could muster. Sometimes we’d tread water in the deep end and chat until dusk greeted us and the fireflies waited to light our path back home. The smell of chlorine and honeysuckle bushes, the shiver of the evening breeze against my damp skin, and the cackling of my mother’s laughter are all so distant now. Some things can never be recreated, but life can still be good, and full, and beautiful.
Today, my daughter and I drove to the pool in the warm daylight. We plunged, without fear of the chill, into the cool, deep end. Our arms and legs cut through the water with the grace of the moment; swiftly, tirelessly, back and forth. Treading water, in the deep end we chatted, we laughed, we celebrated weightlessness, levity and being together.
I felt a quiet familiarity there in the smell of chlorine, in the cool comfort of the lapping water that enveloped us, and the sound of my own ready laughter–so similar to hers. So long ago, I was a daughter swimming and chatting contentedly with my mother. Today, I am the mother honoring the memories I’ve had, and cherishing the ones that I’m making.
What’s your best “Mom” memory? How did you celebrate, or help someone celebrate Mother’s Day today?
Happiest of Mother’s Day to Moms, Stepmoms, and special women everywhere who have positively influenced the children in your lives! ❤