I miss my mom.
She lives far away from me for the first time in my life. After a few years as a world traveler, my mother has officially chosen a permanent residence. It’s close to most of her seven siblings. It’s minutes from the beach. After 25 years of raising her family in the South, she’s back home on the New Jersey shore where she grew up.
She’s right where she should be, and I’m so happy for her. She sends me pictures of all the adventures she is having with her sisters and lifelong friends, and there’s no doubt in my mind that she made the best decision for her life right now. But I miss her so much. No matter how much love and happiness you have in your life, there’s something special about a good mom. Now that she lives far away, I miss her something fierce.
My mom is just a phone call away, and I’m grateful for that. We can text, video chat and stay connected via social media. But it’s not the same as being face-to-face. I miss my mom when I’m just doing regular, everyday stuff. When we lived close to each other, she came over all the time just to sit here with me and the kids while I did whatever I needed to do. She would call and ask what we were doing, and I’d always answer, “Nothing. Come on over.”
As a work-at-home mom of two little boys, one homeschooled and one a toddler with autism, I am never really “doing nothing,” and she knows that. She would come by and help me do whatever brand of “nothing” I was working on that day.
It was mostly just a little game we played, because I am so particular about a lot of things, and she knows it. She might fold an entire load of towels for me just so we can sit and watch something on TV and chat. She might poke through my freezer and cabinets and make a pot of soup. Sometimes, she would just fall asleep on my couch snuggling with my kids.
I think my kids miss her even more than I do. She is the kind of grandmother who will watch the entire kid movie or read 10 books in a row. Last time she stayed here, she got up every morning to make my kids egg sandwiches on English muffins. She loves them, and they love her.
I’ve got tears in my eyes just talking about it.
Still, I understand that I am lucky that my mom is just a plane ride away. She’s alive, young, and in good health. I understand that for people who have lost their moms, being a thousand miles away from her would be enough if they could just pick up the phone and hear her voice one more time. I can’t begin to understand the grief of losing your mother. The idea of never hearing my mom say my name again, or knowing she will never spend another holiday with us is unimaginable. I know living with the understanding that my mother lives only in photographs and memories would be incredibly hard. When I talk to someone who has lost their mom, the one thing they always say to me is, “Don’t take your mom for granted.”
But I’ll admit I probably did take my mom for granted when we lived close to each other. She was just always there. We have always been close, but we have also argued and annoyed one another to no end. Since she moved, I understand why people who have lost their moms issue that warning. It’s hard to be away from your mom even when you’re only separated by distance. I cannot let myself lose sight of the fact that it’s only miles between us, and that’s a very lucky thing.
I am grateful that my mom did her best for me. She’s not perfect. No mother is. But she gave me everything she had to give. Everyone deserves loving, devoted parents who do their best, but I know that’s not everyone’s experience.
Aside from death and distance, there are a lot of complicated and deeply personal circumstances that might make you miss your mom. I know my experience doesn’t ring true for everyone. Maybe your mom tried, but she is not a safe person to have in your life. You can be sure about keeping your distance, but still miss your mom in all her imperfection.
Your mother might have failed you. She hurt you intentionally, left you when you needed her, or failed to protect you. Maybe you don’t miss her, but you miss the idea of what your mom should have been when you needed her.
Maybe you don’t know your mother at all.
You can miss your mom, even if you’re not very close or it wouldn’t be a good idea to see her.
I think being a mother makes me miss my mom even more. My kids are still little, but I am already thinking of the day when I might be on the other end of this distance. When my kids are adults, I want them to travel wherever their passions take them. I never want them to consider my location when planning their next move. But I can’t imagine how much I’ll miss them when they leave home. As much as I miss my mom, I know she misses me even more.
She is planning a visit next month, and I am counting down the minutes. I’ve already cleared my schedule. There is nothing I’d rather do than absolutely nothing, as long as I’m with my mom. I can’t wait.