Its almost surreal to accept that our individual lives have progressed as they have in her absence.
Yet there's no doubt our collective interactions would have been different in many ways, simply because she has not been here as the heart of our family.
I had originally thought to write about the 5 things I miss most about her on this fifth anniversary, but that seems morose - and mom would prefer something more cheerful.
So instead, I'm sharing 5 of my favorite memories. And as long as I'm still around and able to remember, I hope to add another each year in the future.
- Riding in the wagon to the grocery store - many of my memories start about the time my two older sisters were off to school and I spent lots of quality 1:1 time with my mom as she tended to our home. Riding two blocks to the grocery store in the wagon was great fun, and I could tell she enjoyed our excursions on those warm, breezy summer days.
- Ice skating and "cracking the whip" - when I was old enough to ice skate we went to the local park and its frozen pond. I remember our family holding hands and me being the last in the line, holding fiercely to my mom's gloved hand as we all turned in a large circle, with my dad at the center as we "cracked the whip." It was a sharply cold, moonless dark night and it seemed extra special because my mom was so enthused with the adventure.
- Saturday night movies and popcorn - My mom had a gift for making world class popcorn. She had a certain way of tossing the popped corn in a bowl to get just the right amount of salt distributed. Any extra went into special metal tins that the family could enjoy for and extra day or two. Part of the fun was knowing just how much mom enjoyed eating the popcorn herself!
- The Summer 10:30 PM Chats - I was a serious distance runner and I liked to take a nightly run during the summers when it was cooler. There was always a 10:30 pm TV rerun that mom like to watch after the news - Alfred Hitchcock, The Untouchables, PerryMason or the like. By those high school years I wasn't around the house quite as much, but we had an unspoken appointment to chat over the day either before or after I went for my run. Many was the night I dragged my feet until after the 10:30 show, just to see if we'd correctly figured out 'who dunnit.' And she never failed to ask, 'do you really have to run every day?"
- Seeing her play dress-up with my daughter - From the moment she held my daughter in the hospital, there was always a special bond between the two. You couldn't help but laugh to hear them play dress-up and make elaborate pretend stories as they cooked and cleaned with all the toy utensils. My daughter still speaks of those fabulous trips of imagination and its a joy to know that she will have some of these memories to hold on to long after I'm gone.
I'll share more next year.
What do you believe?