She crawled into bed on my side at one this morning. “Mama, I don’t feel good.” I turned onto my side and pulled her in close to me, sharing my pillow with her.
A few hours later, “Mama, my throat really hurts.” She sat up in bed and I crawled out of the warm covers. “I’ll get you something. Mama will be right back.” Speaking in the third person since she was a baby, so she would know my name. Now it is a habit that is hard to break.
It was dark. I didn’t turn on any lights. Where are the throat suckies? My head bent close to the junk drawer so I could focus. I forgot to put on my glasses. Yanking open doors and drawers. Dear God, please help me find her medicine. Please help her sleep.
Are there some in my desk? No. In the purse? No. In the pantry? No.
And the last place I looked?
I pulled out everything from underneath the bathroom sink. Toilet paper, sunscreen, band aids. I have to clean this out tomorrow. Oh, there is my hair brush.
Yes, there was a bag of throat suckies under the bathroom cabinet.
I walked up the dark staircase and into my bedroom. I felt my way around the edge of my bed, and gently touched her warm forehead.
She was asleep.
I put the honey-lemon, triple soothing action Halls Menthol, cough suppressant/oral anesthetic on the bedside table and crawled back into bed between my daughter and my husband.
(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
Mom on the job. Night duty and day-time duty. Ready to wake up at any minute and love her children.
And I remember a gentle hand on my forehead. I am six and in my parents double bed. The headboard under the window facing the street, Avenue K North. The closed curtains just above my head. When I lay on my back and look up I can see little curves and tunnels where the fabric is pleated. The curtains are closed and the room is dark in the middle of the day. German measles.
Across the park at the elementary school I am missing the rummage sale in the school auditorium. A brief moment, a small memory slice of my mom taking care of me, and being devastated I couldn’t shop for treasures.
I miss my mom. I want to crawl in bed beside her and say, “Mommy, I don’t feel good.” I want to lay beside her and hold her and have her hold me. A brief moment of someone loving me unconditionally. I miss my mother’s touch on my forehead. I miss her laughter. I miss her home-made bread.
My mother has touched me with love and a gentle hand. It has been three years since I saw her. She lives in Canada.
As I touch my child’s forehead I think of the gentle hands of my mother healing me with medicine and love. And I think back to my mother’s mother. And how much she loved my mom. I have some of her letters.
There’s a story behind everything..but behind all your stories is always your mother’s story..because hers is where yours begins.
―Mitch Albom, For One More Day
And one day someone will remember my touch on their forehead. May my touch always be gentle and full of love.
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