Periodically, this wary traveler finds herself on her mother’s doorstep. Turning the key to unlock the door, I walked in the door and my mother calls to me from her big brown lazy boy that seems to swallow her whole. Taking about 20 seconds to sit up and turn to the door, she looks up and asks if I am hungry and without any response, she turns back to her usual tv watching position. My mother was born in 1930 and is 81 years old now. She’s lived through 11 childbirths, marriage of 60 years, battles, wars, and technology. Nothing surprises her anymore and she sleeps all day and stays up all night. There is nothing we can say or do as her children to get her to do anything. She is her own human being. She dedicated her life to nurturing us into the people we are today. As far as she is concerned, her job is complete.

I am most grateful for my mother’s love. I can happily recall the warm and tangible feelings of being massaged awake by my mother’s strong hands. She would cuddle me and gentle prod and pull me awake. That was pure heaven. Her loving touch, her non verbal communication affected me deeply.  My first teacher, I will never forget being her tail, following her everywhere and mimicking everything she did. There is a famous Vietnamese saying “an apple doesn’t fall far away from the apple tree.” It is true, I have become my mother and in my younger days that thought actually disturbed me. But now looking back with a little more wisdom, kindness, acceptance, and compassion, I am so thrilled to be my Mother’s daughter.
I leaned in to kiss the top of her head. Oh the smell of her hair, the scent of her, I just know her smell. It makes me cry, I am not sure why these tears fall down ceaselessly. I just love her so much and it is irrational to want to have her with me all the time but I do think of her often. It’s the separation that I am sad about. But only for a second, she  knows that my life is outside of the home and she accepts it.
Gently reaching for her hand, I hold my mom close to me as we walk out into the garden. The sun dances on the petals as the garden bursts with life. We use to trim these thorny beauties together. Being with her in her rose garden as she describes each one to me seems timeless. I will cherish these precious few moments. She told me the world would teach me all she couldn’t. It’s so true. My first teacher, and the one I was born from, I thank you for my gift of life and I wish you and all the mothers a Happy Mother’s day.

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