Cathaleen Curtiss – » As I see it...

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Take the time to say I Love You!

Six years… or 2192 days. That is how long it has been since I spoke to my Mom. Well, that is how long since I spoke to her and she responded.

That night was March 10, 2008, I was exhausted I had worked all day drove three hours home and then met with the realtors to list my dream house. She was excited to tell me about picking out a pattern for Zach’s quilt. The last quilt she needed to finish… for 8 grand children. She didn’t make her quilts in birth order. Mom made quilts for the grandchildren when the right mood and the right material inspired her. This time it was finally Zach’s turn.

Mom hadn’t been well since Thanksgiving, but she was on the mend. We instant messaged daily (I can only imagine my mom on Facebook; more on that later). We talked at least twice a week, but this night I was emotionally spent and said “Mom, let me call you tomorrow. I feel really grumpy tonight.” Her reply “Okay Sweetie, good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” With that simple expression, one that she had said to me a million times, we said good-bye.

Tomorrow’s phone call never came. Instead I awoke to the call no one ever wants to get. My message to everyone tonight, is always say I love you. Even if you have had a really bad day or you are angry at the world or even angry with the one you are talking with, take the time to say, I LOVE YOU.

I loved my Mom, but I have always been Daddy’s girl. With that also came some friction. My mom and I often did not agree on things. Our political leanings were not the same. However, she always supported and encouraged my opinions even when she did not agree. My mom was also brutally honest. She didn’t mind telling me not to wear shorts, because I had fat knees (even though I was a size 0). She didn’t think twice of telling me I worked to many hours or that my hair was too dark or too long. All that said, if I needed to travel, my Mom would get in the car with my Dad and drive the 14 hours to my house to care for her granddaughters.

At her funeral an old family friend pulled me aside to tell me. “Your mom was always so proud of you.” I wish I had time back to tell her, how very proud I am of her.

Lately, I have been feeling less than. “Less than what?” you might ask? Just, less than… I wonder sometimes, if all I did made a difference? Was it worth it? If the choices I made, helped? If what I am doing now, matters?

Then today, I started to think about my mom. I am sure if she were here today listening to what I do, she would be bursting with pride. She would adore Mickey and not just because they have the same name but also because he is a good person and we are happy. She would gleefully repeat the stories of the students I work with. She would have a million ideas to help me grow my volunteer projects. G—knows she was always volunteering.

Marian(Mickey) never did anything half-way. She could make a ball gown from scratch in less than an hour. She made wedding cakes and orchestrated church dinners with the same tenacity and can-do smile. She also knew what every family member (immediate or extended) young or old was up too and considered sharing that knowledge her duty. She loved unconditionally and that meant that the ones she loved needed to be ready for her version of the brutal truth. I am convinced if she were still here, she would be at coffee hour at Judges Bench this morning, showing off photos of Hannah and Ella and ALL her beautiful grown grandchildren. She would be going on and on about her 8 grandchildren and great grand-babies, touching on all that they do. Mom never had favorites. They were all favorites, her favorite cross country star, wrestler, homecoming court member, field hockey, hunter, fisher, dancer, swimmer, pie baker, softball player and on and on and on. She would be so happy and likely relieved to know that I have a peaceful and happy life now.

Thinking about my mom today, I realized it is not that my life is “less than” I just miss my mom, my biggest critic and my biggest fan to remind me that life is good. I miss you Mom. I love you! Sorry, I am six years late.