I have mentioned my mother here before; she is one of my best friends in all the world, and I simply adore her. She is smart, witty, and beautiful; even having passed the 70-year mark, men still find her bewitching. She and The Wrench have a marvelous relationship - they bonded instantly when I brought him home for the first time 19 years ago, and they have been nearly inseparable since. She and Twinks have been welded together at the soul since the day Twinks was born: when they are together, they somehow complete each other in a way that I still don't fully understand nearly 12 years later.
Although I am (allegedly) grown up and an independent woman now, my mother has continued to teach me - to impart the information that is not written in any book, or offered in any lecture hall.
When The Wrench proposed, my mom told me to remember that I was not just going to marry this wonderful man, but his entire family, and his friends too.
When we lost our first two babies, she told me that it was OK to celebrate who they would have been, and to love them, and never forget them.
When my dad passed away, four years before The Twinkie was born, my mom taught me how to handle the overwhelming grief of losing your soulmate, your partner, your lover. She taught me how to plan a funeral; how to gracefully receive the mourners, how to continue living when the pain is almost more than you can bear.
Three years after daddy died, she met a man who promised to love her, and take care of her, and she married him... and then she taught me that life goes on. Not always as we thought it would be, hoped it would be, wanted it to be - but it goes on. And that it is never to late to find love. And that you should never forget where you have been - for that is what makes you who you are today.
When Twinkle was born, and the doctors told us that she would never be able to walk, my mom told us that everything would be fine, as long as The Wrench and I remembered that we were a team - Twinks team - and that only by playing together could we "win". She told me that I would now have to learn to pick my battles - that I can't slay every dragon, but if I choose carefully, and slay the *right* dragon, the others will become unimportant.
When she and her husband moved to the east coast, she taught me that love and friendship are not weakened by time or distance. That no matter how far away we are from one another, that our bond remains as strong as ever.
And during these last six months, when we have so often not known what was going to happen next, or how we were going to survive emotionally, spiritually, or financially, she told us that if we can just keep going forward - the three of us together - that we will make it to the other side. That as long as we have each other to cling to, it doesn't matter how hard the storms of fate rage against us.
As I write this tonight, my mom has moved further away from me than ever before. She is living in south Florida now - in a place that I have never been. I have seen pictures, she has described it for me, but I find myself in the odd position of not really knowing *where* my mother is living. And yet, I still feel her strength, her power, her love for us. I know that because of what she has taught us, we can face the future together - anything that it holds - as a family, and survive.
Thank you, mom. Your "lessons" have been the greatest gift you could ever have given me.
I promise to remember them.