I'm visiting my Mom for a few days and I've got to say it just slays me. She has declined so precipitously over the last few years that I still can't quite believe she isn't coming back.
I look at her and I see the memory of my Mom, but not the real her. It's all moving so fast and I process a little more each time I see her. Tonight what's making me sad is thinking about how I always knew Mom adored me. That shouldn't make me teary, I know, but now as a mother myself, I can see how much she loved her only daughter and took joy in me.
And I wish I had done more to acknowledge and love her back, in ways that would have really meant something to her.
I could have written her a birthday card with a list of my favorite moments with her.
I could have surprised her with a mother-daughter trip to (anywhere), just the two of us.
I could have told her she was beautiful (and, really, she didn't need to take her glasses off for photos).
I could have given her a thank you note, a real one, thanking her for the traits, interests and qualities in her that I loved and that she encouraged in me.
I could have talked to her more when I was going through infertility and she was so worried about me.
I could have flown to California with her as we talked about years ago to track down and visit the houses my great-grandmother (her grandmother) designed and built.
I could have helped her organize and write a cookbook with her best recipes from around the world instead of just begging her to do it.
I could have held her hand and told her often I really loved having her as my Mom.
I could have done so many small, easy, loving things when she would have appreciated them. When she would told every single one of her friends.
And why didn't I do more? Because I knew that she knew I loved her. Because she wasn't perfect in every way (who is?). Because I was too busy with whatever. Because I believed I had all the time in the world, even when the signs were there years ago that I didn't. Because, because, because.
I don't think this is about regrets - Mom and I had so many fantastic times together and a great relationship. I just really wish I had more time with her.
Because then I'd use it to be outrageously loving in whole new ways. And I'd get to see how happy it made her.