Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Tale of Two Moms

In the Bible Paul talks about Rufus, and his mother, who was a mother to him, (Paul), too. I completely understand this statement since M. is like that to me. I received a letter from her yesterday. Starting with "Marsh, Darling" and ending with "I love you tons and tons", the letter is filled with affirmation. It's no wonder M. and I became friends. Growing up, I craved the praise M. gave so liberally. I wish my real mom could have articulated her love for me more. She was clear that I should spend more time in the garden, get the piano tuned, and hire the windows cleaned. As soon as I graduated from college (with high honors), she wanted me to get my master’s degree. When I did, twenty years later, she wanted me to be a principal. (“I really WANT to be “just” a teacher, Mom”.) I never really knew the extent of her love for me until she died. In a drawer I found every card I’d ever sent her, lovingly saved and cherished. The biggest surprise was the poetry she wrote about me. On paper she expressed the feelings she couldn’t say out loud. Her mother was in a mental hospital from the time my mom was five, so Mom never got the mothering she merited. I know this is why she was stingy with her praise to me. It would have been wonderful to hear the words growing up, but I’m thankful I have them now. I love my Mom, and I miss her. I wish I knew before she died what I know now about how much she loved me.

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