It's a strange Mother's Day weekend this year. Typically, my mother-in-law Joan would be arriving from Spain for her annual 2 month visit. She's not coming this year, or ever again. She passed away in February after somewhat brief and completely horrible battle with lymphoma.
I'm home alone for the weekend - the husband and kids are off to Lake Placid for a basketball tournament. I'm usually with them, because Joan would be here, to hold the fort and insist I go. I'm here with the dog, and surprisingly, I don't mind being left behind this year.
Thunderstorms rolled in, and the phones are out. My mind wanders and I think about things she said to me last year. "Don't you EVER give up what makes you happy for anyone...EVER!" and then she grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said "I want you to know, that I know, that it's you that keeps the kids and this family together.... and I love you for it."
Two to three months a year for the last 11 years - roughly 990 days. We spent a lot of time together - more than I've spent with almost anyone else. We talked about everything, over coffee in the morning, riding in the car, sitting outside watching the kids play. I always felt like she understood me in a way not many people do.
The sun has come out. The house is quiet. I can hear Joanie's voice in my head, almost like she's in the next room. I take my bari sax out of the case, open the door to the balcony..... I stand outside and play "Moonlight in Vermont" and some Dizzy Gillespie licks. One of the benefits of rural Vermont, no neighbors, but I am scaring the squirrels away from the birdfeeder. I play until the sun starts to go down. She would have loved that. The sky looks like a heavenly painting - blues and warm reds. The birds are singing. I know she heard me.
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers wherever you are.