|Me and Mom on Mother's Day, 2012, her last|
I couldn't write on Mothers Day, the feelings too raw, the wounds still unclosed. Yes, even here, more than a year out and counting. So I gave myself the day to muddle through.
I shined at breakfast - lox and bagels produced by my offspring and husband - but then faded midday. In spite of abundant sunshine beaming in through our windows, the winter's accumulation of grime rendering them near opaque white in the brilliance, I took to my bed in the early afternoon.
"Mom gets to nap on Mothers Day!" I declared, making it sound fun. But really it was a retreat from the empty space my mother should have occupied.
Ethan was mad that I had slept though our potential stroll through the park. Instead we had a rushed half jog along Riverside to Jake's playing field, peeling off as we got there, me to accompany Jake to his weekly baseball game, Dan joining Ethan on the basketball courts nearby.
I love my son dearly, but must admit, watching special needs sports is simultaneously like watching paint dry and having your heart ripped open repeatedly. The pace is glacial, the triumphs beautiful and painful. I sat on my blanket in the sun and baked myself into a semblance of peace.
Afterwards, waiting outside the boat basin cafe for our table to come up and Ethan and Dan to appear (hopefully somewhat concurrently, and in the right order) Jacob befriended a dog named Sophie and talked to me about classical music. He picked up a stick and wanted to conduct violins "like Squidward" so I lazily googled "violin concerto" planning to let YouTube entertain my boy. I had forgotten the landmine there.
My mother loved music. My childhood home had been filled with it, from classical to folk to jazz and then rock as her musical taste evolved through the 60s and 70s.
My mother's amethyst and glass beads moved with a sweet heaviness around my neck as I swayed to the tinny Tchaikovsky pouring out of my iPhone. My mother also loved sunshine and the water, flowering trees and children. I was surrounded by the things she loved, as I often am, she who took such joyous bites of out the scrumptious world.
The rest of my boys arrived with perfect timing and we were seated at an outer table overlooking the sunset river, just as I had desired. Ethan was a bit grumpy surveying the menu, declaring nothing to be quite to his liking and questioning why we had to eat there.
"Because I love it here. It makes me happy to eat outdoors and by the water, and it's Mother's Day so I get to choose." I was trying not to whine. I really didn't want a scene.
For once he took my answer without a fight and resigned himself to a dinner of calamari and fries, supplemented with bites of everyone else's dishes.
I then did something I rarely do, I ordered a "Mommy drink" something silly and frozen and alcoholic, because dammit it was Mother's Day. It came with three maraschino cherries on top which Ethan devoured with abandon, his first time encountering such beasts.
"Is this what they mean when they say 'and a cherry on top?'" he asked. Yup.
We walked back home through the park as the twilight thickened, the air heavy with the promise of a soon-coming summer. Up ahead the the George Washington Bridge's majestic sway cut through the haze, spanned over to the other shore.
"Look, Grandma's favorite bridge" I pointed out. But I didn't have to. They knew.
They all knew.