Inevitably, the days dwindled down to what I knew today was coming, your 65th birthday that we are unable to celebrate with you. I woke up today feeling blank, sad but blank. I cried some at the thought of how much I miss you and didn’t want to get out of bed. I decided to make my homemade pancakes that you loved and I sprinkled a dash of salt into my coffee because you always said it cut out the bitterness. I can’t say that I could really tell the difference but I believe you anyway. You would’ve been 65 today, too young for me to be saying, “would’ve been”. I remember thinking last Christmas, how I didn’t know how much longer I’d have you and I can’t even believe a year has passed since that thought.
I had a vision of you the other day in your better health. I imagined you walking through the front door of our house bundled up in your scarf and winter jacket talking about how cold it was outside as you shook off the snow. You walked throughout the house with me and said you loved what we had done with the place, all the work we put in to renovating and decorating. You loved that it was a ranch and that the washer and dryer was on the first floor and that it had no stairs except for the set that lead to the basement because you always hated stairs. The only gripe you had was the detached garage, which I knew you’d say but that’s okay.
Your absence was felt through the holidays, we made it through but you were always the glue, the centripetal force that kept us together. Turns out, I am not a very good host – I am not social like you were in the sense that you could easily have a conversation with anybody about anything, my meals don’t turn out as delicious as yours were and dinner is never ready on time, though I try. But you know me, I misread and don’t follow directions very well in turn creating more work for myself. While it’s on my mind, I wish I made you more chocolate chip cookies by the way and I am very sorry for that.
I am struggling to plan my wedding, I’ve barely started really. You said that you would be there and that I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. But you’re not here anymore and you won’t be there, not the way I want you to be. I remember you were so stressed out about what you were going to wear. I told you that it didn’t matter, and you would look great in whatever you decided. I am saddened at the thought of possibly becoming a mother one day and not having you there to coach me. I still remember how you cried when you told me that more than anything, you’ve always wanted to be there for me when that day comes. How after the baby, you wanted to come stay with me so that you could get up with them throughout the night so I could heal and rest. You cried because you felt yourself getting weaker, you said you didn’t think you could even hold a baby at that point then. I fought back my tears and hugged you, I told you that wasn’t true. I didn’t want to believe it. I never cried in front of you because I never wanted to appear weak, I knew I had to be strong for you and keep high hopes, not just for you but for all of us. I never gave up hope on you, not even on your last day. I hope that when or if that time comes, that I have a little girl someday like you had me and she and I are as close as we were. But regardless of what I have, I will tell them all about you, they will know you and how incredible of a mother you were. You loved your kids and wished so badly that you had the opportunity to stay home with us when we were young, you loved being a mother and I loved that about you. You have made me so compassionate and strong that I can only hope that I measure up to half of your being someday. On my toughest days, I miss you something fierce but I think about how strong you always were. Life could be so unkind and unfair and you were living proof of that. But you went through the motions each day and kept putting one foot forward. I hope to continue to be as strong as you were and that you are proud of me because I still live my life to not disappoint you.
While 2017 had a couple shining highlights, it was an extremely life changing and difficult year, it took you. I’ve stumbled across a quote a few times that read, “My mother worked too hard for me not to be great,” so Momma, I’m going to use this quote as my motivation for 2018. To figure my shit out, become more organized and finish this f*cking book, maybe if I’m lucky it’ll be two books… but I don’t want to aim too high because you know how much of a procrastinator I am.
I have a million more things that I could add to this and I’ll probably drive myself nuts later with things I should’ve said on here but this is what I came up with today.
Happy birthday to my wonderful mother, you are incredibly loved and missed each and every passing day.
Julie Ann Lipson-Peters (12/30/52 – 4/6/17)