Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Love from Your Mom...

Yesterday I went to see a mammogram specialist about a lump in my breast.

It was enormous and I was convinced I was dying. Turns out it was an ab'sies', which is rather gross but the upside is I live another day.

It's at times like this that I realize my mortality. I'm not going to be around forever. I am of a dieable age and anything can happen, natural or 'un'. I might not be around to celebrate Emma's milestone birthdays or her graduation. I might not be there to comfort her when her heart is broken for the first time or when she meets the love of her life.

There's a chance I won't get to see her walk down the aisle or elope into the sunset. Of course the pro is I'll never be THAT MIL. But not being there to lend a shoulder to cry on through the lows of life is a possibility. Telling her how I proud I am of the woman she has become might be words she never hears from me.

I'm aware I might never see my grandchildren. As morbid as it all sounds there's a chance I might just not be there.

Just the other day I read this article on Cafe Moms about writing letters to your children and it got me thinking whether it's something Emma (and Ben) would appreciate one day. After a little thought I decided bugger it, I'm doing it anyway. Along with my car, my clothes and my debt Emma and Ben will get a shitload of letters from me, their dead mom.

Of course I don't want to come across as preachy - the last thing I need is for them to be giving me the eye roll as they read the DO's and DONT's of life according to Mom. I also don't want them to be depressed by MY memories, so the key to the letters being cherished the way I hope they will, is to find a balance between special moments, proud moments and funny moments. Tina Fey in her book Bossypants has written a letter to her daughter and it's too funny not to share:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered,

May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half

And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.

Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,

For Childhood is short — a Tiger Flower blooming

Magenta for one day –

And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever,

That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers

And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,

Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,

For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,

That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.

“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.

But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.



  1. So glad your lump was nothing as serious as your post! Definitely a more morbid reading than I anticipated. I think we all go through those thoughts and then we cry our eyes out because of it.
    The idea of letters is a good one. I doubt you'll ever go wrong in writing them.

  2. Good news about the lump, Mel - pleased for you. Do the letter thing - my mom died in October and every day I wish I could listen to her telling me things - so many things still to talk about, unanswered questions etc - just do it xx

  3. I love that letter! Glad your lump isn't a serious one.

  4. Facing your mortality every now and again can be quite an eye opener for me. At the time it’s no fun but once you realize you might live a bit longer it can definitely give you a fresh perspective on life. Love the letter to Emma!