Auguri, mamma

Whenever I’m with my mother,
I feel as though I have to spend
the whole time avoiding landmines.
~Amy Tan

My sister-in-law’s mother passed away last weekend, so she is spending her first Mothers’ Day without her. When talking to her about it earlier this week, I realized that this is the 18th without my mother, “It doesn’t seem like that long ago,” Karen exclaimed to me. Since I was thinking it was just 15 years ago that she passed, I was as surprised as Karen. “Holy crap,” I said. “I can’t believe it.”

As we continued to talk, Karen mentioned that she still could not believe her mother was gone. “I’m not sure that ever goes away,” I replied. “There are still times I think, ‘I need to tell Mom that!’ Then I remember I can’t call her.” I’m not sure that feeling or desire to call our moms leaves us,

As many of you know, I am in Italy to work on a book. I worked a lot this week on Grammy, my maternal grandmother, and a bit on my paternal grandmother. As of this afternoon, I’ll be concentrating a lot on my mother’s role. I didn’t plan for it to be Mothers’ Day when I started that section, but sometimes the stars just align.

I don’t want to get into much here, but let me say that Amy Tan’s quote (above) is the absolute best way to describe my relationship with my mother. I always said that if you complimented my mother on one thing, she’d take it to mean something was wrong with another. “Your hair looks nice today,” I could say. “Augh,” she’d reply. “You think this dress (or shirt or slacks or whatever) looks awful?” At some point in my life, I realized that there was very little I could do or say to please her.

Moi, my mom, my brother

I think about that as I sit in Italy, the land that holds the history of her blood. If she were alive, would she be happy that I am writing this book? Would she be thrilled Italy has become such a part of my life?

The answer is complicated, and I’ll answer it in the book.

Until then, I love you, Mom. Happy Mothers’ Day up there. And, Happy Mothers’ Day to every mother wherever you may be.

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