Friday, May 10, 2013 marked one year since my mother lost her battle with cancer. She was 57 years old. I wasn't sure how I wanted to spend the day - at work to stay distracted? Home in bed to have a self pity party? I decided that Mom would be most honored by me and my small family taking a break from the daily grind, and spending some quality time together. The weather was beautiful so we decided to head to the zoo.
My daughter is now old enough (22 months) to be truly excited about things like the zoo. I spent a lot of time just watching her take it all in; pointing up to the monkeys, imitating their sounds and waving to them saying, "Hiiiii!!!". That sparkle of excitement in your child's eye is just priceless. In those moments they are just wholly and genuinely excited - so young and untainted by the pain and worry that often comes with life as we get older. I tried hard to mirror that joy, that excitement, letting it drown out the noise of "real life".
After seeing the monkeys and petting some farm animals, we headed to the carousel. I got in line for tickets and found myself in a small group of children who were there on a field trip. I'd say they were in third grade. What caught my attention was a little girl in line with a chaperone. He made a comment having to do with Mother's Day, to which she replied, "I don't have a mother". The chaperone, clearly stuck in an awkward moment of "totally didn't expect that, what do I do/say now??" started fumbling for his words and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't know". "Please don't talk about it anymore, ok?" she pleaded. Saved by the lady behind the glass calling them as next in line, no further words were spoken on the subject.
As I observed that brief and uncomfortable conversation, my immediate reaction was to hold that little girl in my arms and just comfort and cry with her. Having no idea if her mother had died, abandoned or left her, I sensed such unresolved feelings of sadness and anger I wanted so badly to make her feel better. But because in today's day and age touching a child you do not know can be construed as assault or attempted kidnapping, I instead chose to pray for her, that there would be someone in her life to help her precious little heart towards healing.
It wasn't until later that night, laying in bed thinking about the day that I realized there was something to be acknowledged. God had given me a huge blessing. He gave me 33 years with my mother - 33 years to grow up with her, make mistakes, marry the wrong guy and eventually the right one, all the while experiencing her unconditional love. Most importantly, she got to meet, hold and love her very first granddaughter. I had 33 years of life with her!
I was not looking forward to Mother's Day weekend, but was able to find some comfort in the many memories I have of her, and the knowledge that as my daughter gets older, I will have 33 years worth of "Grammy" stories to share with her. She may not remember meeting her, but she will surely grow up knowing her. Friday was a much-needed reminder to me that blessings truly can be found in any situation. We just need to be willing to look at life from a different perspective.