It was a crisp, "blue-sky and
sunshine" day. Warm for the month of
hinting strongly of summer’s promise. It
flowed gently, like the breeze
that ruffled your hair. You meander,
enjoying the brightness and the warmth
of the sun; and as you walk along the
old, worn path to Mama’s, you reflect on
things past. You’re grown now and
can look back.
"She was always fussing at
me...sit up straight...
make sure your face is
clean and don’t forget to wash
behind your ears....sit still and don’t
don’t be going outside and
disappearing, supper’s almost ready..."
The words echo in your mind and
in your heart. Mama always fussed, but
then, Mama always cared because
she always loved.
She always tried to show you. She
always baked the best cookies and cakes
and after school there was
always a large slice of something and a
to tide you over until we eat," she’d
say, glad that you were home
and that the house wasn’t so
And how she always hated the rips
and tears and half-hanging buttons that
had to be mended. "Come here,"
she’d say, playfully grabbing your arm
tried to fly by her without her seeing,
and already reaching for the needle and
She had the eye of an eagle.
Nothing escaped her vision. Not a smile,
not a tear.
Like the time you broke her favorite
vase and were so afraid that you
hid under your bed and she’d come
looking for you. You were certain that
it was the end
of your short little life and had sobbed
out what you’d done, and
she’d just held you close in her arms
and whispered in your hair, "just as
long as it’s not you that’s
She was always there. For the
good times and the bad, the heartaches
and joys, for
the excellent and ordinary days of your
life. Always. Helping,
holding, laughing with you, crying with
you, tucking you in and kissing you
goodnight until you thought you’d
gotten too big. Always making sure that
you knew that she cared, that you knew
that she loved you.
You’d asked her that once. "I
loved you from the moment I first saw
said, a twinkle in her bright and
beautiful eyes. "You were the
ugliest little child..." and
she’d laughed, knowing that you knew she
didn’t mean it, least not the ugly part.
You always knew that she loved you.
Like when you went away for the
first time and had called home because
you were so
homesick. She’d said, "It’ll be all
right. You’ll be fine. You only
have to call. We’ll be right here for
you." And they always were. And you’d
said, "I’ll work hard and make
you proud of me." And she’d said, "I
am." And she was. Always. She believed
in you even when you didn’t.
You can picture her now, standing
on the porch step, hands caught up in
her apron to hide the flour from
the fresh biscuits, yelling for your Dad
you to "come inside before everything’s
cold." Her voice trying to sound so
harsh, while her heart was happy
and glad for the moment in time when she
stood and watched you silently before
she called out.
All through the years you’d
always meant to
somehow find a way to tell
her, to show her, how very much
she meant to you. Now as you walk
reflecting on the years gone by, you
finger the pink roses in your arms,
will be her very first.
Stopping, you place them on the
ground before the cold granite stone and
whisper, "Hi, Mama. Happy
Mother’s Day. I’m late, as usual."
And you can almost hear her say,
"I love you anyways."
This article originally appeared
in the Olean Times Herald, May 12, 1991,
Olean, NY and was entitled "The
Mother's Day Visit".