Flowers for Gloria

Today would have been my mom’s 82nd birthday. Gloria loved flowers, roses, in particular. My, how she loved roses! It would have been such a treat for her to visit the New York Botanical Gardens today. But since she can’t, I’m sending these flowers to her.

Mama and I were alike and yet so different. She told me once that she wished she’d had my courage. I told her I wished I had her brains. I know for sure that if she had had half the educational opportunities I’ve had, she would have reached the moon. I’m glad I was able to tell her that.

For a long time, I measured myself against her. Probably still do.

Mama, the last time she visited

She sewed, without a pattern. She’d take the measurements, cut the material and sew a dress, skirt, shirt or whatever. She crocheted and embroidered, baked and cooked, and did each equally well. Everyone loved her rum cakes.

Played the flute and taught me how. The difference is, at the end of the summer, I’d forget. She never did.

Did the payroll for my grandfather and my uncle every Friday afternoon. She never used a calculator and it was never wrong. She kept meticulous notes and filed the receipts neatly every week. And if there was ever a question from an employee, she could remember exactly how many hours they worked and what their payroll amount was and back up her memory with her records. She was never wrong.

In my first or second year of high school, my English teacher asked us to write a poem. We had read poems in class but she hadn’t taught us how to write one. I didn’t know how and worse, I didn’t think I could. I was almost in tears when I got home from school that day.

I wish I had kept the poem Mama dictated as she sat marking papers at the table. After I finished writing it, she started to hum a melody, one she had created for the poem. She grew even taller in my eyes that day.

Mama always said she could ‘read’ me like a book. She wasn’t bluffing – she could sniff out a lie every time. I learned early not even to try to fool her.  Her dreams were prophetic, I never understood it until some of mine started to have the same quality.

She was a stickler for what was right and proper, and set the bar so high, I never thought I’d ever measure up. So I was shocked the first time Gloria’s words came out of my mouth!

For the last ten years, I’ve been negotiating life without her often sage advice and insight. I miss her everyday but I know the love we have for each other keeps me strong.

Happy Birthday, Mom!



15 comments on “Flowers for Gloria

  1. What a sweet tribute, Marcia. Happy Birthday to your Mom, from me, too. You inherited her smile.

  2. Marcia,
    Nice journey. I was some where recently and a couple of her past students were talking about her impact on their lives. Don’t know them but I recognize that it was your Mom from Cokes View. We give thanks for parents who have left indelible memories in our lives.

  3. Thanks, Virginia. And thanks for letting me know that!
    I am so grateful to have had her in my life.
    Asked Carol about you yesterday and told her I hadn’t talked to you in a while. Hope to see you Sept/Oct.
    Talk soon,

  4. Thanks Ozias.
    We had our difficulties, especially when I got older and thought I knew everything.
    But now that she’s not around, I miss her everyday. I’d give anything to put my head in her lap and have her stroke my shoulders, my hair (and ask me why I cut it!) hahahaha.
    You’re at that point when you do want to get away — she’s done her part in nurturing you but now it’s time for you to take all she’s given you and be the person you’re meant to be. Good luck! It’s a very exciting time. Probably won’t feel like it now but when you look back, you’ll see.

  5. It’s nice to travel to those times and places that no longer remain. They’re places that can’t be reached physically, only in your mind. This was was very beautiful, Marcia, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading it. Even though all I want to do is get away from my mom, I couldn’t imagine what’d be like the day she died. It’s good to see that you’re so strong.

  6. Marcia, it’s amazing the impact one person can make on our lives, isn’t it? I often wonder what my children will remember about me. You’re thoughts and memories are so succinct and clear it’s as if your mom is still present.

  7. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I’m quite sure you’ve inherited a great deal of her savvy ways in navigating your way through life. Quite fortunate you are to have had the kind of relationship with her as you did. Not everyone is able to look at their parents with such admiration. I’m pretty sure Ms. Gloria’s right proud of you 🙂

  8. It would be lovely to hear what they tell their spouses, children and friends, wouldn’t it?
    I appreciated my mom more after we had established that beyond mother and daughter, we were individuals. It was good to hear what she admired about me because it validated me as a woman. Since I lived far away, any time we spent time together was special. I pampered her – I used to do reflexology so the first thing I did after I got home was give her a treatment. I guess, she’ll always be present because I have such lovely memories of her.

  9. Thanks, Totsy.
    You’re so right. I didn’t think my relationship with my mom was anything special until I met a co-worker who had to leave home in her teens because her mom had become so jealous of her relationship with her father. I couldn’t imagine that a mom could be jealous of her only child.
    I hope she is, Totsy. I hope so.

  10. Beautiful… Completely shows how much you love her! And what a remarkable women she was! I can imagine how she was like, a true hero! The perfect inspiration for every women!

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