It happens about once a week, sometimes more often, that I’m struck by a sudden re-occurrence of Mom. It happened earlier today as I was walking down the street in a residential area of some nicely built, cottage-like homes. I was forced to stop and say to myself, “Mom would really like these homes and this neighborhood. She’d think it was cute”. She would probably want to stop to take a picture and I’d groan and say, “C’mon Mom, let’s go.” And she’d say, “Well just a minute, I want to get a picture”, and then five minutes and fourteen photographs later we’d be back on our way. That’s the way it worked with Mom. She’d love to stop and admire those things that she thought were pretty and walk away only after having the best and most rewarding experience possible.
I’d often wonder if Mom ever wished that she had a daughter, someone else that she could share the same joy for mundane things. I think I asked her about it once, but I don’t remember what she said. She probably said, “Having boys is just fine. Besides, I’ve got nieces”. I remember when I was younger we used to take road trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house near San Luis Obispo and we would make special stops at some of our favorite stores. Of course, poor Mom always had to shop alone because none of us ever wanted to go into the stores that she would shop at. I remember that my father, brothers, and I would sit in the van, reading magazines and listening to mix tapes while waiting for Mom. Finally, after a couple hours she’d return with her hands full and we’d be on our way. Now, I wish I had gone in with her to those stores and spent time with her looking at all those little crafty things that she liked to peruse for hours at a time.
When I see those stores, restaurants, or cottage-like homes I make an effort to stop and admire them and look for Mom. Sometimes I even feel a sensation, like an electrical pulse, and I look over my shoulder or into the next aisle or at the table next to me and say, “Hello Mom, how’re you doing?” And she would smile that warm smile and wave back at me and say, “Hi honey, thanks for thinking of me, but I gotta go.” And I’d smile and understand and say, “Alright Mom, see you around”. And then she would leave and I’d go on with the rest of my day, knowing that she’s doing just fine.
Mom, Kathy Calzia, passed away July 1, 2009. Two years ago. I miss her.