Tuesday, January 10, 2023

It's the Little Things

 Lately, I’ve been missing my mom. It’s not as though that's unusual. It’s just that recently, I’ve had things I wanted to share with her and questions I wanted to ask.

Some things are rather trivial, the minutiae that made up many of our phone conversations. Like the new backsplash in our kitchen. One out of three Hesses gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up (that would be me), one is underwhelmed and the third is trying not to say anything, which actually says it all. 

I wish my mom could see it. She’d be as excited as I am about all the little details—how shiny it is, how the grout matches the tile, how it makes my little kitchen look a bit more spacious. My mom was all about those kinds of updates, and turning any house she lived in into the home she wanted to inhabit.

And then there’s the parenting of a young adult daughter. I wish I could talk to her about how she felt when my sister and I struck out on our own, how she made the transition from parenting us to guiding us to letting us live our own lives -- all things I thought I was doing pretty well until lately. It’s not as though I'm struggling with enormous, life-changing questions. It’s just that there's no one who understands the process better than another mother, particularly the one who knew me so well. 

My mom didn't handle things perfectly, which is something I need to remind myself when I put my foot in my mouth, struggle to find my footing, or strike an appropriate balance among my head, my heart, and my mouth. As I recall--from my side of relationship, anyway--my mom had those struggles, too and, although we annoyed each other from time to time, neither of us loved the other any less because of it.

Clearly, her lessons live on. It's just that there are things I'd like to ask her now, things I didn't know to ask her when I was in my 30s and 40s. I miss her reassurances (though my daughter's way of saying everything by saying nothing is a bit reminiscent of her grandmother) and the feeling that she always had my back. And while people so often say they'd give everything for just one more conversation with someone, no one conversation could possibly be long enough. 

But I would like to hear her voice again. And I'd really like to show her my backsplash.

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