I Remember Mama . . .

Mother’s Day again.  I woke up this morning to be honored by my cats, Copperfield and Emma, who apparently snuck out to go shopping – and even decorated a gift bag with “purr’s” and “meow’s” – within which they tucked the honeybee teapot I once remarked that I’d like to own. 
Or, so my husband told me.
And, then my daughter blessed me with a Willow Tree figure to add to my mantle collection and a pedicure appointment in the very near future.   Date day with my girl – hooray!
My son and daughter-in-law surprised me with a fabulous edible arrangement of gourmet fruit – which I’ve been nibbling on throughout the day – plus a phone call from my boy, who lives out of state. 
Precious tokens of love shared between children and mother.  I am so blessed. 
If only I could do the same for my own mom, Connie Vicari Jordan.  But, that’s just not to be for these seven years past.  Mom’s enjoying her Mother’s Day in the presence of the Lord where her day is even brighter on that side of Heaven than the beautiful day I’m enjoying here on this.



So, I remember mama.  And, miss her muchly.  I am remembering her brilliant blue eyes that gazed forth from her very favorite school photo – she was in second grade.  Everyone thought she looked like the little girl in Disney’s “Song of the South” movie that was popular at that time.  “Zippity do-dah!  Zippity-ay!  My, oh, my!  What a wonderful day!”  I loved hearing her tell me stories of her childhood, growing up on a chicken farm, and all the outdoor antics of country life with big brother, Paul, and her best friend, her older sister, Anne.  My thoughts swirled with wonder as I looked into the eyes of a grown woman and imagined her a child laughing, playing, learning, like I was at the time.  But, I didn’t have to wonder too hard.  My mother loved to play.  She was the only mom in the neighborhood that allowed kids to play in the house – so our house was the hang-out more times than not.  She was an avid reader and read to me from the earliest years.  She especially liked reading poems, and I still hear her vocal variety in my mind when I perform some of her favorite classic pieces such as Mary Howitt’s “The Spider and the Fly” or Eugene Field’s “The Duel”.  She played games with us – Parchessi was a favorite pick – and cards, too.  She taught me how to sew and introduced me to the world of arts and crafts – a particular passion of hers.  So much that I use in my daily life and career today, I learned the foundations for in my early childhood from the instruction of my mother. 

She never lost the innocence and the “child” – which is a priceless gift she passed onto me for which I am so grateful. 
Wish I could tell her that on this Mother’s Day.
She enjoyed simple things.  Grew into an attractive young woman who was courted by my father and married at age 21.  I love to see the photos of her young adulthood from the 1950’s in her stylish clothes and hairdos.   My dad taught her how to shoot a bow and arrow and catch a fish – enjoying active fun when she was young.
Then, came motherhood.
I was born four months before Christmas in 1959.  Twenty-five years later, I would think back to how mom must have  felt that first Christmas, when I celebrated the same thing with my first child – my son, Andrew.  As I look at the photo here, I see a couple souveniers I own from my mother’s first years with me.  That little moss rose lamp in the background is in my possession.  And, that bookcase in the background now houses my Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, George MacDonald, and Conan Doyle collections today.  Reading – another love I credit mom with in my life.   
First a mom . . . and a quarter century later – a grandmom – rocking my little one in the same rocking chair in which she used to rock me.
But, I had married and moved away – spending 22 years traveling about the nation as a military wife.  My son and daughter only saw her once or twice a year.  How I regret that.  Visiting was difficult – especially when we lived at opposite ends of the country. 
But, she always rejoiced to know where we would be shipped off to next, as the destination would become her vacation plan that year.  I loved acting as tour guide to show her and dad all over the new places we’d move to.  She got to see a good part of the nation visiting us every year.  Places she’d dream of visiting – like Yellowstone National Park, where I would take great joy in watching her drink in the landscape – and take plenty of photos to remember it by, too!
 Mom was a great lover of beauty.  She imbued me with a sense of appropriateness in dress and carriage.  Her taste in all things feminine and Victorian colored my taste choices.  Funny, how it is later in life that you realize that in so very many ways – you become your mother!
She gave of herself in everything she did – the years of childrearing.  Her middle years of volunteer work and care-taking of her own parents.  She had many friends and enjoyed an active social life of caring conversation, entertaining, and trip taking.  Fully embracing joy in God’s blessings.
And, I couldn’t have been happier for her when she realized a life-long dream to take a trip to England and Scotland.  How I wanted to go with her!  Her love of the British Isles and all things English had been absorbed by me, too.  I was thrilled she could realize this dream of a trip.  It gave me hope that I might someday get to take my dream vacation in the English countryside and Highland tour.
Perhaps, one of my most precious memories of mom was the joy I had in setting up a hot air balloon ride for her when we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the annual Balloon Fiesta in October, 1987.  I have an aversion to heights, but mom was a latent dare-devil.  She couldn’t wait to leave the ground and float among the clouds peering down.  She shared the moment with the love of her life, my dad, Michael Jordan.  My eyes well up as I remember the emotional moment of lift-off and the elation on her face.  
But, had I really been a font of blessing in my mom’s life?  
Don’t we all want to be so, even through the strained days and episodes of regret that plague our relationships – this side of Heaven.  
I do know, that the Lord allowed me to have the final 40 minutes of coherent conversation with her before she was overtaken by the sharp pain that moved the doctors to sedate her with a level of morphine that rendered her unable to enjoy rational conversation ever again.  In those final moments, we sat in the hospital room – me, my husband, my pastor – and listened to her animatedly share the love she had for Jesus, knowing Him as her Savior, and the joy she had in reading his word and singing out her favorite old hymns back home in her living room, to the astonished expression on the cat’s face.  She laughed.  For the moment, she didn’t seem sick at all.  Why were we there in the hospital anyway?
But, she was laughing because she was there – and ever so ready to sing to Jesus face to face.  So, we prayed.  And, as the Pastor spoke the final “Amen” – mom winced.  Her expression was pained.  The nurses came.  I told her I loved her – she said she loved me, too.  We had to leave.  Seven days later – she left.
So, I remember Mama.  Many memories.  Good and bad – as everything in life is.  But, for some reason, I don’t know that I could recount any of the bad to you today.  Erased away.  And, that’s okay.
Take joy – mothers all – as we all remember mama today.  The mama who made us – the mama we may have become – the the mama we’re passing onto our daughters.    
See you Mom – in God’s good time – when we get to the other side of Heaven!   Love you, ma!
Constance Vicari Jordan – February 25, 1934 – July 22, 2004
 

Comments

  1. What a wonderful writer you are! First I read your post to your Dad and then I came down to read about your Mama. She is beautiful, like you, and sounds like an extraordinary lady! How blessed you both were!
    I loved that she played with you, I think that is so important and tried to do the same with mine!
    Jil
    xo

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