Mom Kisses

I had this terrific idea for a Mother’s Day blog post.  In it, I was going to tell you a story about my Mom and how I followed her around everywhere she went.  You see, I started stalking her as soon as I could walk and didn’t stop until she passed away in 2006.  At times it would drive her a tad insane and she’d get these crazy ideas that maybe doors would stop me.  “Do you have to follow me?” “I’m glad you asked.  Yes, I do. This is what happens when you decide to only have one kid.” While those doors may have prevented me from going into the actual room, I knew she’d eventually have to come out and I was patient.  Plus, I knew that those doors that kept me from her weren’t sound proof; where my legs couldn’t take me, my voice could.  When the doors were open, I would listen to Mom and watch her closely as she fixed her hair or applied her make-up and then I’d try to copy her whenever she wasn’t around.  Anyone who has met me knows I wasn’t quite so successful with imitating her in those departments, and that I had to come to terms with the more “wash and go” approach I’ve mastered now.  “Eh, things are brushed, I’m ready to greet the world.”  I have to be threatened with an event before I’ll even take a stab at styling my hair and trying to find the foundation.

One of Mom’s daily make-up rituals was blotting her lipstick.  She would make these perfect little squares of tissue with a single lip imprint.  You’d find them sitting neatly on the counter before they were discarded into the trash.  I came to think of them as Mom kisses.  A perfect set of red lips in the dead center of tissue.

When My Blog Idea Tanked

When Mom passed away I inherited her purse.  To this day I’ve been hesitant about digging through it.  I limited myself to the information I needed to pull out related to her death.  As a kid, I quickly learned that the purse was off limits. I was never allowed to go through her purse without her permission, and even with permission I had to limit my rummaging to what I needed – Kleenex, gum or keys.  On my first pass through her purse, I guiltily retrieved her driver’s license and insurance information, but I did notice a single square of tissue; a perfect little Mom kiss.  I remember I held my breath and my eyelids fluttered to hold back  tears.  There it was, the last Mom kiss probably on the way to the hospital; she wouldn’t leave the house without getting “fixed-up” – even if it was the emergency room.

As I thought about her this week, I thought “I will brave her purse, remove her kiss, take a photo and then write the story on this blog as a tribute.”  In my mind, it was a very touching tribute.  This morning rolled around and I fought down the feelings of guilt as I opened her purse.  I’m really not supposed to be doing this. I looked in and didn’t see the kiss. It must have made it to the bottom of the purse some how.  I cautiously removed each item, pulling out her brush, her wallet and her address book.  That’s when I saw the hints of tissue.  The Mom kiss.  I was the Indiana Jones of purse excavation. I tried to quickly decide whether to use an actual camera or one of the apps on my iPhone to take the photo.  I kicked myself a bit, because I really have been thinking of ways to create intense bright light by using things available in the house.  I worried about how it would photograph and then decided it would all turn out fine; the story would be about sentimentality and picture wasn’t the important piece.  I pulled out the tissue.  It was wadded up with lipstick smears.  There was another – also, a big wad with lipstick smears and then there was yet one more.  Gross.  No need to discuss that one. I marched everything over to the trash.  It turns out my perfect preserved Mom kiss was only a trick of my imagination – an oasis in the sadness surrounding her unexpected death.  Or, more likely, a  way for Mom to say from beyond, “now will you stop digging around in my purse?”  I think I’ll go put that back in the closet now.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I deeply miss your real Mom kisses.  I miss following you around.  And I promise, I’ll stay out of your purse.

4 thoughts on “Mom Kisses

  1. This is a lovely post. I have my grandmother’s purse and I’ve never gone through it. Here’s to the kisses they leave us, in whatever form. Just lovely. Thank you for sharing this Beth.

  2. Beth says:

    Thank you, Jacqueline! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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