One of my first memories of my mom was when I was around ten, maybe eleven. It was Christmas time. I heard a knock on the door and I ran to greet our visitors. I opened the door and there were two women standing there with gifts in hand. Lisa and another family friend of ours.
“Merry Christmas!” They sang out.
Lisa handed me a rectangular box wrapped up in shiny paper. I remember wondering why she got me a Christmas present. Who was she? I didn’t get her anything. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her.
A few years later, Lisa became a more active roll in my life. I remember when I was around 12 years old, she took me and her boys to the movies. I can’t remember what we saw or where we went to eat, but I remember feeling special and loved that she would think to invite me to hang out.
A few years after that, I was 14 or 15 and I had a
slight pretty big attitude problem…. that was probably fueled by a little bit of anger. There was a lot going on my household no kid should ever have to face. That’s when Lisa swooped in. I don’t remember where we went, if it was a restaurant, a park, or just sitting in her car. All I remember, is that she gave me a journal. She told me it was called an Angry Journal. She explained that any time I felt angry or upset, write it down. Write what I’m feeling. Use whatever words I need to use to get it out on paper. That was probably the first time anyone had given me permission to write whatever and however I wanted. I remember feeling empowered that day. She gave me the gift of a healthy outlet to express myself.
A few years after that, I moved to Virginia for college. At this point, my parents had divorced and Dad moved to D.C. to be with Happily Ever After person…. which happened to be Lisa. I used to go up and visit them when I lived in Lynchburg. I remember thinking, at first, “This is a little weird, not bad, just weird.” But changes are always weird and uncomfortable.
A few years after that, I was about 20, maybe 21, I went up to visit Dad and Lisa. We went to Baltimore for some reason. There was a restaurant that they wanted to take me to and it was a part of a plaza with a bunch of other stores. Lisa decided we should visit some of those stores while we wait to be seated. By “we” she meant me just her and me. We left dad waiting with the restaurant buzzer. We went from store to store, talking, and laughing. She wound up buying me two sun dresses at a really cute little boutique. I remember thinking, “Is this what it’s like to go shopping with your mom?”
A few years after that, I was 25 years old. I was standing outside of a hospital in D.C., crying uncontrollably and tightly holding on to Lisa. Dad was gone. The cancer had invaded too much of body. I remember hanging onto her and feeling her arms tighten around me. There were too many thoughts rushing though my head to remember any specific one. However, even though I had just lost my dad… I don’t remember feeling alone.
Mom is a special title. It describes a woman who gives unconditional love, has an abundance of understanding, challenges herself and others to push forward despite circumstances, provides a safe space to come home to, and it describes a woman who lends a listening ear and a compassionate heart.
That’s my mom, Lisa.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.