Sunday, May 10, 2015

a bittersweet mother's day

Today is Mother's Day. It's a bittersweet one for me this year, as it's the first year without my mom. May is bookended by memories of her. Mother's Day is at the beginning of the month, and her birthday was May 30th (or as she would say, "the real Memorial Day"*). My mom's name was Shirlee.***

Shirlee was a book lover, Jane Austen fan**, and children's librarian. She also had a large collection of book t-shirts, and t-shirts with my art on them (many of those were book related and she loved telling people that her daughter made the art on her shirt). Here she is with three of those t-shirts:

1. (top left) says: "So Many BOOKS ... So Little TIME."
2. (top right): This is my art. It's a picture of a superhero cow jumping over the moon.
3. (bottom): Me not wearing a book shirt, and my mom's shirt says: " A Book Is A Present You Open Again And Again. Read Books.

Shirlee loved travel and adventure. She got to go on many adventures, and was always up for another one. She even got to go ziplining in her 70s! Here she is in Alaska (top left), in a pool (top right) ... not sure where, but I think it was Mexico or on a cruise, and with me on the Staten Island Ferry (bottom):

She didn't get to go all the places she wanted to, but she traveled to many more places through books (sometimes traveling in real life and through a book at the same time):

I miss my mom, and wish that she'd been able to stick around longer, so she could do all the things she wanted to do. I also wish I'd been able to spend more time with her. I'm grateful that I got to spend the last six weeks with her, and that I got her this dog after one of her surgeries (my mom loved dogs, cats, ducks, many other animals ... this dog was an impulse purchase and one of the best gifts I ever bought her, because it was big enough to hug for comfort, or put over her like a blanket for warmth):

If I could talk to my mom or send her a card today, I'd say: Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thanks for being a wonderful mom and for passing on your love of reading. I love you and I miss you. xoxo

* Memorial Day used to be on May 30th, every year. Now it's celebrated on the last Monday of the month.

** My mom did her dissertation on Jane Austen, and the last book she finished was Longbourn, by Jo Baker.

*** My mom was named after Shirley Temple, as many girls her age were. She did not go on to have a career in the movies, but she did end up changing the spelling of her name, to Shirlee, to stand out from all the other Shirleys, and possibly to annoy her parents.