Dolores, Babe, Liz, Mom, Aunt Dolores, Grandma, Dolo, D-lo, The Great Defender, and of course The Crazy Lady. All of these are nicknames for my mom. She has inherited many names over the years and we still laugh about “The Crazy Lady”. Was she crazy? Perhaps she was, a little. Crazy for having 5 kids, many dogs, birds, hamsters, bunnies, and lots of nieces nephews and friends all running through her house. Who wouldn't be a little crazy? But she was mostly crazy about her 5 kids. And she dedicated her life to our care and well being and happiness. And because of it, we are filled with so many wonderful and funny and sad and heartfelt moments that, to say things were a little crazy is probably an understatement.
Growing up I was a mamas girl. Anyone who knew me can attest to that. I can still remember feeling a love so strong for her that it would actually scare me. I can remember thinking how lost I would be without her and how I never wanted to let go of her warm embrace. I would often check on her to make sure she was still there because ... Well... She was my whole world. Not only did I know at a very early age that no one could ever take her place, there was also no one who would ever love me like she did. She was so beautiful. Her loving smiles, her butter soft skin, her scent, and the way she took on the world for us yet was still so gentle and kind. And when anyone was ever mean to her, it would literally hurt me. I could not imagine anyone ever wanting to hurt my mom because I knew her and I knew her heart, she would do anything for anyone.
And this feeling lasted for me over the years. Even though I did reach that point every kid reaches where I realized that she was not a superhero, but simply a person. Someone who made mistakes and was just trying to make her way in the world, the best she knew how. However, even with that, there was never a time in my life that I didn't admire something about her.
I loved spending time with her and still do.
Some of our best memories are simple times. Barbecues in the back yard, vacations at the shore, Sunday dinners with our grandparents, holidays with our cousins, sledding and coming home to tomato soup and grilled cheese, so many wonderful home cooked meals, baking cookies, cutting coupons, reading Sunday comics....and on and on. But it wasn't always easy. Money was tight, my dad wasn't the husband/father he should've been, she wasn't fulfilled....things I learned over time. And these things only made me want more for her. I wanted her to rise up and to overcome. I wanted her to live the life which it seemed had slipped thru her fingers over the years. And when the unthinkable happened and my sister died, I wanted to find some way to really fix her. To mend her forever aching heart. To let her know that it wasn't her fault; that some people cannot be saved from themselves. I wanted her to see me and I wanted to be enough to make her proud and happy again. I wanted to scream - “be proud enough of me and love me enough for both of us”. .... But I knew that was impossible. The hole in her heart was deeper than any ocean and nothing I, or anyone, could ever say or do would heal that eternal void. Time has filled it some but only to the naked eye. Yet, she goes on. It was torture to watch her struggle for years and years. She struggled with her own life, which gave her a fare share of pain and hurt. She struggled with my sisters loss of life. And she literally just struggled some days to get out of bed. But she did. She dealt with it and all the while the lurking pain remained, like a lead weight she carried with her constantly. For years she was more of a shell, going through the motions. Yet the one thing that continued to keep her going, it seemed, was how much we all really needed her. Our lives, our joys, our struggles. She was there for all of it. Weddings, babies, the deaths of our grandparents and our father, miscarriages, job losses, promotions, new homes, illnesses and all of our journeys have been made with her always there to lean on. We call her for recipes, ideas, advice, home made remedies, and often just to talk.
She is the matriarch. She is the one person we have all depended on and loved and missed and enjoyed for all of our lives.
I hope she has realized that although her life may not have gone the way she surely fantasized it could over the years, and how many can say theirs has?, I hope she knows hat her life was important. And that she is infinitely special to so many of us. She has managed to touch more lives than she even knows. I have friends who continue to remember her kindness, her inner and outer beauty, her humor, and her big heart. I've had so many tell me what I have always known: How lucky I am to have such a great mom.
So as you can see, I am still a mamas girl. I still fear her leaving me. I still know that no one can ever love me like she has. And the intensity of my love for her is still just as strong as it was on those nights when i was a little girl and would wake in the middle of the night paralyzed with fear that she wouldn't be there in the morning. And I still remember my utter relief and the sense of calm I would eventually feel as she came and held me tight and assured me that she always would be.