Mother’s Day 2020

This day is hard. He was the first born child, the one who made me a mother, he isn’t here anymore. I have other children to celebrate with but it is so bittersweet. If Zachary had never been, the others would not exist. If he had not been born, my life would have taken an entirely different direction. There would be no Princess Bossy Pants, no Muddy Boot Boy, no beautiful bonus daughters and grandchildren. His birth set in to motion my entire motherhood journey.

This is the 7th Mother’s Day without him and the first without my oldest bonus daughter. The weight of loss makes it hard to celebrate anything.

I love and appreciate the 4 living children, and the grandbabies but it cannot erase the pain. I am fortunate that my mother is still alive to celebrate this day although we live in separate states and a phone call is all we will have. I have accepted that I will never be truly happy again but I have learned to be content and to seek moments of joy in ordinary days; moments of reprieve from the weight of the grief.

Holidays are harder to find reprieve.

When everyone gathers, the losses become visual. It stings like lashes from a whip.

The ones that are here, they become the salve that soothes the sting.

Mother’s Day 2013

Summers’ long gone

I miss you son.

I also miss Kentucky summers.

I miss the fire pit,

the neighborhood kids,
the late nights full of laughter,
the feeling of home,
the safety net of my parents,
the feeling of belonging,
the unconditional love.

Being there, I knew I could go to bed and leave all of you to sit up late with your Mamaw. I didn’t always approve of things she did including taking all of you to shop or eat at 2am but I knew you were safe and having harmless fun. She always made sure the summer was packed full of fun memories for you to bring back to South Carolina.

Speaking of my disapproval, there was that one time I thought her pranking had gone way too far. I returned from an errand to I don’t remember where, only to find all of my offspring and some neighborhood kids sitting at the kitchen table playing poker with real money and drinking near beer.  How could my own mother be contributing to the delinquency of my minors; her own grandchildren plus the neighborhood kids!!

All of you, including my mother, thought it was quite hilarious when my head exploded, and swore it was a total set up just for my predictable reaction. Looking back it doesn’t seem as bad as it did in that moment. I still don’t think it was a very funny prank. But I would give anything to go back in time, to that very moment and hear that laughter again.

Big Red

In the fall of 1993, I moved to South Carolina. This summer I will turn 49. I have lived in South Carolina longer than I lived in my home state of Kentucky. Big Red soda is not a thing here in South Carolina but you can buy it in a glass bottle at the Cracker Barrel. Last night we ate at the Cracker Barrel and my muddy boot boy bought me all 10 bottles of Big Red soda that they had.

Big Red soda is basically my childhood in a bottle. One taste takes me back in time. It tastes like walking around the block in the subdivision I grew up in. It tastes like humid summer Friday nights at Kentucky Kingdom when we could get in for $6 after 6 pm. It tastes like fall Friday nights walking the track at every Valley High School home football game. It tastes like every dance in our high school cafeteria.

It feels like every childhood friend that walked our neighborhood with me. It feels like young love slowing dancing in that cafeteria. It feels like having multiple mothers because your best friends were family.

It feels safe and uncomplicated.

It feels lighter than the heaviness of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

It feels like a reprieve from the grief of losing children for just a brief moment.

Zachary and Mandy ~ Gone, never forgotten