When I was a little girl, I wrote a book all about how much my mommy and I loved each other. Even as a young child, I knew we had a special relationship. We’d watch soap operas together while I ate my “rolly sandwiches” of ham and cheese. We’d play all kinds of imaginary games that I made up while we stood together at my bus stop. She’d draw my face, slowly tracing each feature, ‘til I was almost asleep and I’d do her make-up in return, complete with three shades of shimmery eye shadow. My mom was the mom everyone wished for. She volunteered in my kindergarten classroom, chaperoned field trips and was a leader of my Girl Scout troop. I always had the coolest notebooks and folders and my lunches were anything but ordinary. Even the tomatoes for my sandwich were sprinkled with pepper and wrapped separately in foil so my bread wouldn’t get soggy.
She pushed me to try new things like joining the pom squad and the teen board at Leggett and always attended every event, even though she admitted she could never actually watch me perform. She was a worrier by trade and always went above and beyond to keep me and my sister safe, from everything from a skinned knee to a broken heart.
As I got older, our adventures got bigger, going on trips together to Asheville, Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, Surf City, Charleston and Savannah. We visited museums, beaches and attractions, but our favorite things to do were shop and eat. No restaurant or store was safe from us. One year, while in Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving, we even went back to our hotel to take a “pre-shopping” nap so we could head back out to the outlets at midnight for the Black Friday sales. Nothing was more exciting for us than finding a good bargain.
We’ve watched a meteor shower together in the front yard in the middle of the night, tried way too many wines at Biltmore (causing us to again, need a nap) and stayed on the phone for 8 hours straight. Yes, the same length of time that the average person is at work. Because we never ran out of things to talk about. We could talk about everything and nothing, from the most serious relationship questions to confirming whether or not the ground beef I thawed out was still good.
Because we weren’t just mother and daughter. We were best friends. She was the person I’d call first with my good news and my bad news. The person I’d call when I was bored or lonely and the person I’d have the most fun with out of anyone. It’s funny because I guess I never thought about it too much, I just assumed everyone was like that with their mother. But I know now just how lucky my sister and I were.
Our mother literally loved us more than anything else in the world, even herself. We didn’t label her a “liver giver” for nothing. Although she didn’t ever actually give us a bodily organ, she would’ve if she needed to. You could bet if you mentioned in conversation that you needed a bundt pan, a shiny new bundt pan would magically arrive on your doorstep a few days later.
But she wasn’t just like that with us. She gave to everyone around her and that’s why everyone fell in love with her. She had surrogate “children” all over the country. Her co-workers, my friends, my sister’s friends, even people she encountered in her everyday life. They’d meet her, she’d capture her heart and they’d be endeared to her forever. And who could blame them? She was an easy person to fall in love with. As I’m sure my dad and the other two men that proposed to her would agree.
She was truly one of a kind. The best mother in the world. And now the best guardian angel I could ever ask for.