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.