Mother’s Day is approaching which fills my head with memories of my mother. When I was five years old, my mom became sick with tuberculosis. As a result she had to go into the hospital for almost a year. Back in the 60’s providers did not have any alternative but to place people with TB away into mental institutions until their TB was cured. It took 9 months for her to get better. During this time my maternal grandparents who lived 1,300 miles away cared for us.
I remember the day we left like it was yesterday. All four of us girls and Mom got on a plane and travelled to Maryland. Our mother was in a wheelchair with a mask covering her nose and mouth. It was my very first time on a plane. Once we arrived, my grandparents picked us up and the ambulance transported Mom to the hospital.
For the next nine months our only communication with our mother was an occasional telephone call and speaking with her through the window because we were not old enough to go inside the hospital. I think you had to be at least thirteen to go into the hospital as a visitor.
Since we were school age, we were registered to go to school right down the street from our grandparent’s home. We arrived after the Easter break and my teacher announced to my class that the Easter bunny had brought me all the way from Oklahoma. She even showed the students where Oklahoma was on the map. Even though we tried to act like life was normal being away from both of our parents and living across the country with our grandparents, the truth for me more than anything else was..
I wanted my Mommy!
When I went off to college 1300 miles away, my parents loaded my belongings in our brown Chrysler New Yorker along with my younger sister and drove me to college. One reason we chose the school was because it was where my parents met when they attended college. The other reason was because it was close to my grandparents and my parents knew the president of the college.
Being a college student was a great adventure and I loved being away from home, meeting people and learning the east coast way of life. The college president and his wife made it their mission to make sure I was well taken care of. I was blessed to have them there and I often went to visit them and had dinner at their home.
Since cell phones had not been invented, my only line of communication with my parents was the pay phone in the lobby of our dormitory. When I wanted to talk to Mom I had to call collect. If she tried to reach me she would have to call the pay phone and hope someone answered it and came to my room to get me. Usually I would make a collect call and then my mom would refuse it, then she would call me back immediately on the pay phone.
Because long distance was so expensive our calls were short and to the point. No time or money for long conversations. Parent’s day and family weekends came around, but because I was so far away from home, my parents could not attend. During those times all I could think was…
I want my Mommy!
Once I married and became pregnant with my first child I was excited about becoming a mother myself. I was blessed to have a good pregnancy but delivered about two and a half weeks before my due date. I delivered my first born in the middle of the night and there wasn’t enough time to call my mother to drive an hour and a half to the hospital.
Once we got home from the hospital and I assumed my duties as a new mother, much of it was overwhelming. Mom promised to come down after I got settled at home. I had help from my husband, church members and friends and family if I needed it, but all I could think about was…
I want my Mommy!
Even in my 40’s I was scheduled for surgery. My husband was there to take care of me and church members sent food to the house and helped with my children. However, I decided nobody could take care of me better than my own mother. In other words…
I want my Mommy!
Mom is gone now and I miss her tremendously. Mom lived long enough to read my first book and she told me how proud she was of me. I dedicated my second book to her after she passed away. When she was alive we spoke at least once a week usually on Sunday afternoons. To keep me posted on what was going on back at home, Mom used to mail articles from the newspaper or church newsletters to me. Whenever I was homesick and wanted to cook one of Mom’s specialty dishes, I would call Mom and have her stay on the phone while she gave me her recipe. When I would go visit Mom, I enjoyed taking her shopping for a new church outfit or a new pair of shoes. I always received a birthday card in the mail before my birthday.
Now that Mom is gone, there are no more phone calls, no more recipes, no more cards, no more shopping, no more advice and no visits. There are times during the year that I miss her more than others. Holidays, my birthday, and Mom’s birthday are especially tough. One of the most difficult times is Mother’s Day when everyone is celebrating mothers. Of course my kids celebrate me as their mother and the church always goes above and beyond to do acts of kindness, I still miss Mom. Even though I know she is now pain free and living in a mansion in heaven, at the end of the day when all the festivities have ended, all I can think about is…
I want my Mommy!
Happy Mother’s Day & Blessings,
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach