When I was informed that I was supposed to do something for my mom within ten seconds I’d experienced two conflicting emotions. For the first five I was super excited but by the time the sixth second rolled in I was panicking. It took me two seconds after that ten to actually pull myself together and figure out exactly what I wanted to do – and I found it.
I was going to sing – but then it dawned on me that this would be difficult not because I couldn’t find the perfect song to fit the occasion but because I can’t sing. No seriously I can’t.
A couple years ago I was sitting in church minding my own business when the song leader approached me. “Nicki” he said. “I want you to sing tonight” I was shocked although he said my name I looked around me to see if there was another person named nicki behind me – they wasn’t. I looked at him – no really looked at him and laughed –I mean this dude can’t be serious but he was. “I can’t sing” I said. “Oh stop it” he said and walked out. The service proceeded and I knew he wasn’t going to call me – I was wrong because he did. I went up adjusted the mic because I was a bit short and started singing. There were ten words on the first line of the song but by the time I sang the fifth word I had already hit fifteen different notes – I guess he didn’t need to be reminded of my un-singing ability because he never called me again and neither did anyone else.
So on a night like this – mother daughter banquet I cannot subject my mother to such horror now can I?
My second choice was much better than the first I was going to play a musical instrument only I wasn’t good at that either – In fact I possessed no musical qualities whatsoever so who was I kidding.
Eventually after thinking not so hard I had my eureka moment – I was going to write. I’m not that of a fantastic writer but what choice do I have I’m all out of options – I can’t sing – I can’t dance – I can’t play a musical instrument.
Anyhow Neil Gaiman made a speech in 2012 – he said- If you cannot do something pretend that you’re someone that can do it and go do that thing and that’s what I did I pretended to be someone that can write and I wrote a few words for you mom – in fact I wrote that piece about you on the 29th of October 2014… yes I remembered the date because I watched you as I wrote it. I was thinking about you then as I have every day of my life. I’ve never shared these words with you before but I guess it’s appropriate for the hour – don’t you think? You don’t have to like it but I hope you do.
Now that I’m about to read I’ll apply Neil’s words again and pretend to be someone of courage so that I can read what I wrote.
I look at my mother as she lay sleeping on the couch,
Too tired to move the seven feet difference from there to her room,
The steady rise and fall of her chest the only indication that she was still in the land of the living,
Something stirred within me,
A crushing blow of reality?
I need to focus,
It demands attention, that feeling.
The room is quiet as I turn off the television,
I ran my eyes over her delicate frame,
And found myself assessing the woman that lay before me,
Her once slender body was now rounded in places that would
Make a model frown,
But she didn’t care,
And neither did I,
For that body was what carried me for nine months,
Her hair was matted against her cheek,
Loose tendril covering her pretty face,
And I wondered for a moment if she ever pulled my hair back the way I just pulled hers,
Of course she did,
I stared at her closed eyes and silently wept,
Inside I dread the day when those eyes would never see again,
When no speech can be uttered,
When that nostril wouldn’t be enough to help her breathe,
When she wouldn’t remember her name,
When she wouldn’t remember me,
I wiped that lone tear on my cheek,
And touched hers,
Willing my mind to engrave her face on my heart,
I wanted my fingers to remember the feel of her skin,
For each second that passed was a second shorter from her life and mine,
How much time do we have left?
I took her hands in mine as she slept,
What once was soft was now rough,
I traced the patterns with my fingers,
Touched every scar, Kissed every bruise,
I squeezed the hands that once comforted me,
And pressed it against my lips,
And at twenty two I desired to curl into her lap
And wrap my arms around her,
To rest my head on her chest,
And listen to her words of wisdom,
To press quick short kisses on her cheeks,
And remind her how much I love her,
Despite our ups and downs,
That wonderful lady will always be my mother,
And I don’t ever want to lose her,
But one day one of us will go,
And I accept that,
But I refuse to leave without letting her know,
That she’s beautiful,
And that I’m so proud of her,
And I Love her,
With tears rolling down my cheeks,
I wake her,
And as I wrap my arms around her she smiles,
I listen to the steady beating of her heart and whisper,
I love you Mom, Always have and Always will,
I’m sorry for hurting you but know that I love you.
With tears rolling down the cheeks of the both of us I sighed,
Thinking once again.
I love you mom if you don’t remember anything else,
Remember that I love you.