The Woman I’ve Watched. {Poem}

I don’t take a moment with my mother for granted. I have in the past, and for that I’ve asked for her forgiveness. She says she understands, that it’s part of growing up. Well, I wish I’d grown much sooner.

The other day, I sat across from her and read her this poem. To pause mid-sentence, and catch my reflection in her loving eyes is something I will not forget. It brought the poem to life in a way I can’t articulate. A mother’s love is G-d’s love, and to be seen by our mothers is a sacred gift, one to be cherished.

My mother is alive and as long as she is, I will covet every opportunity to tell her that I love her and I will thank her for her unwavering presence in my life.

My mother was recently honored as the Woman of the Year by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. She has served her community for decades. She is a pioneer and advocate for special needs children, adults and their families; paving a secure path for those living with disabilities and the loved ones who support them. To say I’m proud of her is an understatement.

Here’s to the woman I’ve watched, my mother.
I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day.

 

The Woman I’ve Watched.

Mama, Mommy, Mom,
A brief phase of calling you by your first name,
Then back to Mom.
Sometimes, I still call you Mama.
You’re my longest relationship.
The world without you in it,
Is an unwelcome stranger I don’t want to know.
You’re my harbor, my friend, my mirror, my teacher, my hero.
Even during the days and months when I loved you, but didn’t like you very much,
I knew your advice was always honest,
Wrapped in a message I was too immature to hear.
And, I’d shut you out.
But, you never shut me out.
You never left.
You stayed.

You’ve always stayed put for all of us.
Although, I watched you say goodbye to many.
I watched you grieve your friends taken too soon.
I watched you touch his face one last time.
He was cold, you said.
He was the warmest man you’d ever know.
You were lucky to have a father like him.
And, years later, I watched as you caressed her hand,
The same hand that held onto yours as you crossed the street as a child; 
She’d make sure you were safe and didn’t get lost.
Now, she was lost, in a world she no longer remembered.
Day in and day out, you’d remind her.
I watched you lead her to the end.

I watched you raise a family and let it go.
I watched you pack three decades of matrimony into boxes. 
You left the shelves empty, to match your heart.
I watched you mourn.
I food shopped for you when the only sustenance you received was the salt from your tears.
I watched out for you then.
Selfishly, I felt it an opportunity to repay you for taking care of me.
And months later, I walked the aisles with you, when you were finally hungry for life again.
I watched you smile for the first time in a long time
That night you met him.

I watched you fall in love
And I watched as you blended the new family with the old, fractured one.
I watched you blossom with the bouquets and the gardens you grew.
I watched you lay a fresh foundation.
I stood next to you as you chose the colors of your walls that would protect you in this next chapter.
And, I watched you walk the concrete until you found the perfect spot for the window you’d peer out of each morning as you drank your coffee.
I watched you stand in the fitting room admiring your wedding dress.
I held your flowers as you held his hands,
And made a promise to never let go, unless G-d decided so.

I’ve watched as you embrace the struggles of parenting a child terminally dependent on you.
And, you stay and you stay,
And you love with ferocity only a mother angered by the unfairness of her child’s life can love.
And, you soothe the suffering of other mothers:
You teach them how to cope and how to find gratitude in the chaos.
And, you don’t complain, ever.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard you complain, Mom.
Because that’s what mothers like you do:
They stay put and they love through the anguish.
And, they keep rebuilding and growing
Even when there’s no foundation in sight,
They become the site.
The site where love lives
In every moment, of every day.

For 38 years, I’ve watched you love.
I’ve watched you.
I’ve seen you.
I see you.
I see you, Mom.
You are love.
The love of my life.
You gave me life,
A life that blessed me with the other loves of my life, the girls.
And I owe it all to you,
The woman I’ve watched.

With endless appreciation and love
Your daughter,

Rebecca

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