My mother has instilled in every one of her children a love of going to the movies. There is something magical about the entire experience that seems to draw one back there. The large billboards, twinkling lights, glittering colored cement, and the smell of freshly popped corn and heated pretzels wafting into your nostrils as you pull the doors open and rush in leaving the world behind. Large posters of up and coming adventures promise good times for all movie goers for months to come. I recently went to see the new movie “Frozen” at the Majestic theater here in Meridian. As I stepped through the double doors into the foyer to get out of the cold, I was struck with the many memories I have of my mom in that very theater. I was used to seeing my mom looking for us because she had arrived 30 minutes earlier than we had. She would be waiting in the foyer in her green coat, with a beaming smile and tickets already purchased for us in her hand. She'd wave and say, “Hi Fred, I thought you'd never get here!”
Then we'd go sit down in the seats she had saved that were usually as close to smack dab in the center of the theater as possible, waiting excitedly for the lights to dim. After the movie was over, we'd discuss our opinions on directing, acting, storyline etc and almost always deciding we could have done it better.
As I was sitting in the theater, aching for my absent mother, I began reminiscing over my life and my interactions with her, playing them in my head much like a movie. I remembered in second grade getting sent into the hallway after hitting a girl who told me I had an ugly smile (in my defense, I believe she was bigger than me). I was really upset when the teacher didn't listen to my side of the story, and I was glad that I held my tears until I was alone in the hallway. As fate would have it, my mom had volunteered to help in my twin brother's class that day, and his room was just across the hall from mine. She came in just after I had wet my face with tears. I can remember the terror I felt when I saw her and knew that she would know I had been bad. I ran into the corner where all the other children's coats were hanging on hooks, trying to shrink in size and hoping my mom wouldn't notice me there. She did however and quickly came over to me and got down on her knees, asking me what was the matter. I whispered, “I’m in trouble”, tears flowing freely down my face. Without restraint or any questions, she grabbed me in a big hug and said , “I love you”. After comforting me for awhile, she stood back up and went into my brother's classroom.
I also remembered when I had come down with a cold or flu and had to miss going skiing with my older siblings. I was really upset because I had never been skiing before and really wanted to experience it, but Mom insisted I stay home. I remember sitting in one of the reclining chairs off the kitchen feeling pretty bad for myself. Mom was busy doing something in the kitchen, probably making dinner or some other culinary craft she was famous for, but I was too self absorbed to remember anything but my own pain. My mom left the kitchen for a little while and when she had come back, she had a small little plastic clown in her hand that she gave me. I cant remember the exact words she said, but I remember the meaning of what she told me. She told me that clowns weren't always happy either, but they were lucky because they could paint a smile on their face. She also told me that sometimes if we “paint” a smile on our faces, we would soon start believing we are happy, and then the smile would be real. To this day I still have that tiny plastic clown, now sitting by my computer monitor, reminding me to put a smile on my face. Im looking forward to the day when my smile will be real again.
A few years ago, I made the decision to move away from home. It was tougher on me than I thought it would be and I experienced lots of heartache because of it. One day I had come home from work and found a care package with a long letter from Mom. It contained great advice and words of encouragement for me at that time, but even more so now. Mom writes, “Please take the best care of yourself as you can, look for the good in everyone, search out those who need you and most of all – be happy! The days are gone when I could just hold you close and hug you and tell you that everything would be alright. But there is a spiritual hug heading to you each and every day and a whole lot of love coming with it. To say I love you, seems so inadequate because of the enormous feelings I have in my heart, but suffice it to say, you are cherished and held close in my heart and mind, dear son, and my prayers are that our Heavenly Father will keep you in the hollow of his hand always!”
There are so many other memories of my Mother that made a profound impact on my life and my character. Words are inadequate and I can't list them all here. It is amazing how much I miss the little things she did and it seems that almost everything in the world has a memory attached to her. Her passing has made me realize my own mortality, the importance of cherishing the life we have now, and the necessity of sharing love with no restraint. The thought of being together again is what brings me comfort in this awful time. I like to imagine that when I pass from this life it'll be much like going to the movies with her. She will be there waiting for me, beaming smile, arms outstretched saying, “Hi Fred, I thought you'd never get here!”
I love you Mom! Fred OXOX