One of my earliest memories is of my first dance recital. I was a bumble bee, one of a handful of them, adorable and ready to steal the show in my yellow and black bumble bee costume with wings. I had to wait for my debut with the rest of my colony in the high school band room. I can remember it so vividly like it was yesterday, and this is why. Back then there were no parent chaperone ‘dance moms’. We were watched by the older girls. It was a different time. And that would have been just fine if these girls hadn’t decided to have a little fun with us. They told me and my bee colony that we were trapped in the room forever and would never see our parents and families again. We would never go home. Nice, huh?
I remember the feeling of sheer terror because when you tell a five year old she is trapped and will never go home again, she believes you. I sat there paralyzed for what seemed like forever. I had that ever so painful lump in my throat and tried my hardest to hold back my tears only to fail.
My next memory is me running toward the door and escaping. Once outside of my prison room I remember turning up the endlessly long hallway leading to the stage. I would run faster than I had ever run before. As I turned, to my relief I saw my mother walking toward me. I can only imagine that she was checking up on me as mothers do. She had her handbag over her shoulder and tightly tucked under her arm. She was thin and tall with pressed pants, frosted hair and glasses. She was my beautiful mommy. I ran and ran and ran and ran projecting my body into her legs and wrapping my arms around her thighs like a vice.
She saved me. Here she was at the exact time that I needed her. Talk about a mother’s instinct. I remember the relief washing over me like a warm shower. Ahhhhhh mommy.
I don’t remember what happened next, because I was with my mom and nothing else mattered. I’m sure she went back and kicked some teenage ass. You didn’t mess with my mom or her kids….ever.
Since I have lost her, I have thought of this moment often. There have been too many times when I am wanting to run down that long hallway wrapping my arms tightly around her legs knowing that she would make everything better. But now the hallway is empty. She isn’t there to run to.
After my second son Alex was born and my second cesarean, I had the most difficult recovery…newborn, toddler, surgical pain, exhaustion…..One evening I lost it and remember curling up in my moms lap crying like a baby. 40 years old and I still just wanted my mommy.
They say that when your mother dies, it is the first time you cry alone. My mom always cried with me. She felt my pain better than anyone.
I miss my mom for selfish reasons. Sometimes I just want that lap to curl up into. I want someone to take care of me and make it all better. I don’t want to be the strong one, the mom, someone else’s relief.
But, she isn’t here so I cry and I breath. I breath in and I breath out. Then I do it again. Tomorrow I will do the shopping and the cooking and be a mom again to my own children, but today all I can do is breath.