Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear Mom

     Since you left 19 years ago, you know I haven't talked to you or written to you directly much. It's kind of creepy to me in some ways. I really believe that you're in Heaven with Jesus and my little babies (perhaps my boys!) that never made it into the world. I just feel more comfortable talking to God as opposed to you. I was thinking, though, that the anniversary of your death is in a couple of weeks and I wanted to write you this letter. So much has changed with me since you were last here. I'm sure you know that, though.

  I was 20 when you died, a young woman. I'm now almost 40 - a middle-aged woman with a husband and six daughters. Can you imagine that? I remember you once saying to me, "I hope you have 10 girls just like you!" Well, I got 60% of the way there! But they're not all like me. Elena, my oldest, resembles me in some ways. She's very serious and studious, kind of like I was. She's also very hardworking (when she wants to be) and is generally reliable and helpful. She has a dry and very funny sense of humor, but tends to keep her emotions to herself (definitely NOT like me, but like her Dad). I'm very proud of her and I really like her. She's a great girl and beautiful, too. I'm really going to have to fight the boys off. I'm sure they're already afraid of me! Good!

  Camille is next in line. She has my coloring, but her Dad's features. She's intensely sensitive and artistic. She has a very tender heart towards the outcasts, the hurting, the weirdos, and other alternative types. She is definitely like me in that regard. Remember Arthur in my 6th grade class? The chubby boy from Poland who needed a friend? I reached out to him and helped him get comfortable at school. Camille would be my girl who do that. She gravitates toward the Arthur's of the world. She's also very dramatic and theatrical like I was. Remember when I was the lead in the Christmas play? I was Lady Huntington in The Twelve Days of Christmas play and I was ALL DRAMA. Camille has a very intelligent, keen sense of humor, too. She is so funny. The drama gets a bit old at times with her, but then we just tease it out of her. She's a sweetheart.
  Lulu, Leanne, comes next. She had the softest, sweetest skin when she was a baby. And the cheeks on that kid!  They hung down over her face! She was absolutely adorable. She's my friend magnet.She's got this gushy, easygoing personality and she just melds with other kids and gets along with everybody (although not always her sisters, but that's another story.) She looks and acts just like her Dad. She appears to be very absent-minded and placid. Remember Steve Bruno down the street, who would "wear" his cat, Tippy, while reading a book as his mother hounded  him to get ready for school in the morning? That's kind of like Leanne. She is very smart and loves science and reading. She's a sharp cookie and an earnest learner. That is definitely like me. She's a delightful girl.

And then came Chloe. I chose her name because "Chloe" was one of your favorite perfumes when I was growing up. I still remember seeing it on your gray and white marble vanity in your bathroom. The smell would linger in the air after you sprayed it on before leaving for work at night as a labor and delivery nurse.OK - so, I'll just repeat what Dad smilingly has said for years about Chloe, "Payback is great!" She is me at my most intense, driven, determined, temperamental, hysterical at times and downright difficult. And yet she has this zest for excitement and people and life that is infectious and contagious. She's very clever, charming, and downright naughty at times. She's also busy, industrious, and very task-oriented.Yep - she's very much my daughter. She even has my blues eyes and coloring. I love her dearly.

Daisy is #5 - my Spring flower. I love her name. She was named after your favorite flower. I still remember as a young teenager walking up to Fair Oaks and going to the florist that was there and buying you a bouquet of daisies. You were very touched when I brought them home. So, Daisy is my pixie-faced cutie. She is very articulate and sassy. She's also a real people lover and very friendly once she warms up to people. She loves clothes and has the craziest outfits on at times. She's my girliest girl and very fun. I adore her.

  Julia is my last girl. She's the baby of the family and she's precious. She thinks I'm just the greatest! She's so happy to see me when I've been gone awhile and I can always calm her down like no one else can. That's what a mother does, huh? I remember the morning I was leaving for school as a teenager and I was upset and crying for some reason. You pulled into the driveway because you had finished the night shift in labor and delivery at Huntington. You saw me crying and were so compassionate towards me. I think I came back inside and you made me lunch for the day or fixed my hair or something like that. I know you were really tired because you had just worked for about 10 hours, but you still took time to care for me. Thank you.
     Right before each of my babies was born, I always missed you the most. Those few weeks before my due dates were the most painful reminders of your absence in my life. I knew how much you loved helping women have babies (even the screamers and the druggies) and you took great pride in caring for them and reassuring them. I know you were a popular nurse at work, not only with the patients, but with your co-workers as well.  Oddly enough, I didn't miss you so much right before Julia was born. I was so happy to be pregnant with her, my last one I knew. I so enjoyed those last few weeks. But of all my deliveries, I most needed you with her. After she was born I grieved terribly the lost moments that I so desired with you while laboring and delivering my babies. I imagined you lifting my back and helping me get up to walk, giving me guidance on different labor positions, having you check the FHR and reassuring me, and just loving every minute of helping me. I remember you sitting down with my friend Dawn who was pregnant with her first baby several months before you died. You had a pregnancy book and you showed her pictures, educated her about what she could expect, and addressed her concerns. I know she cherished your care. I was so jealous of her when I thought back to that time. No one did that for me. But, I did have Dr. Aldahl for several of my pregnancies and she looked like you and had your bubbly personality. She was so perfect for me. But she left her practice prematurely. I didn't fare so well with my male OB's. Oh well. I'm all done with that season of my life and I'm relieved. Now I get to help my daughters when their time comes. Hopefully not too soon!

  And then there's Tim. He's an old lady magnet. That is, the old ladies just love him! He's got this sweet smile and boyish charm and they eat him up! He is very handsome and he loves our girls. He's very well-educated, hardworking, and intellectual. I love that about him. He's a bit of a dreamer and lives in his own world at times. I let him. Teaching 200 students a day who aren't that motivated and who come from impoverished backgrounds really takes its toll. I try to make life for him easy, relatively peaceful, and fun. I'm not always successful, but I try. I love him and am devoted to him.
Dad has done well. Karen is so good to him. She has patience, charm, and smarts about how to soothe the savage beast in him. I so admire her. She's had so many trials in her life and yet she's always thinking of others and serving them. She's so devoted to her kids and grandkids. My children adore her. We are so fortunate to have her. She's encouraged me so many times and in so many ways with all my kids and being a mother. I know God especially placed her in my life during this time period. I also love that she knew me from when I was born. She has memories about me and you that Dad doesn't even have. That shared history is unique. It helps to fill in the missing pieces.

   Ann, Sarah, and Michael are all on their own journey. I'm close with Sarah and Ann. Michael, well, I'm sure you know about him. I'm believing that God will find him and help him. Well, anyway, I'm just about done with my letter. I think you'd be proud of me. I've made lots of mistakes and made decisions I wished I hadn't, but, I'm content with my life. God has been so good to me. I can't wait to see you again.  Laura


dietcokegrrl said...

Laura--this is so tender and beautiful and truly touched my heart.

I know she loves to hear from you about what is going on...even if she already knows.

Thank you for writing.

foutfolk said...

OK. You can't write these kinds of posts anymore. Seriously. All I need to do is blubber on a Saturday morning!

Seriously speaking, what a great description of your family, and a portrayal of your appreciation for them. You really do have a wonderful family.

Morgan said...

I can't imagine what it must be like to have lost a parent. Your letter is very touching.