Written on May 9, 2021
As I opened my eyes this morning, the first image that came to mind was of my mother, sitting in the back of a van.
My parents had travelled to Oakville to visit my sister and her family for Easter. My niece had an exam on Tuesday so it made sense that she would drive back with them as far as Kingston.
To this day I find it curious that it was my niece who was driving and not my father, who loved to drive and to be in control at all times. But so it was ….my niece at the wheel, my Dad co-piloting in the front and my Mom quietly sitting in the back seat.
After making it through Toronto, my niece decided it was time for a hot chocolate so they stopped at a Tim Horton’s just off the highway .
My niece got out of the van. A few minutes go by and my Dad hears my Mom say “it’s warm in here”. My Dad claims to have heard the van door slide open, feeling a waft of fresh air on the back of his neck. The door closes. A few minutes pass and my niece climbs back into the van and they drive off . After taking a short walk to get some fresh air, my Mom comes back. Lo and behold, no van. Hmmmmm … what to do ? She walks towards the on ramp for Kingston. A man driving by stops to ask her if everything is ok ? Keep in mind my Mom was 84 years old and may have looked a wee bit distressed. My Mom explains the situation and the fellow reassures her that they will notice that she isn’t there and should be back any minute . He gives her a toonie so she can have a cup of coffee at Tim’s while she waits.
Two hours later (!), my niece and co-pilot pulled up to the apartment. My niece climbs out of the van, takes her bag from the back of the vehicle and opens the sliding door to say goodbye to grandma.
My niece contacts my sister who calls Tim Horton’s to explain the situation. I do wonder what they must have thought ! Maybe my sister left out the details of the story ?
They hightail it back to Timmy’s where my Mom patiently awaits their arrival .
My Mom graciously welcomed them with open arms and they all had a good laugh. Needless to say, my mother sat in the front seat all the way home .
The Reverend, a close family friend, included this story in her eulogy and referred to my Mom as a petunia – in his words – a beautiful background flower. The petunia symbolizes motherly love, gentleness, compassion, and the desire to spend time with another person. It’s a flower that represents grace and eloquence.
My Mom was a quiet being who never asked for much. Everyone who met her, loved her.
People gravitated towards her and she always gave you her undivided attention. I can still picture her at my brother-in-law’s Reveillon. The room was crowded with people chattering in French, including the fellow seated beside her. My Mom never let on that she didn’t understand a word he was saying and he never caught on !
Travelling didn’t appeal to her because she said she had everything she needed right at home: her chair; her knitting; her birds; her books; her word jumble; daily phone calls from family and friends and visits from her grandchildren whom she absolutely adored.
This isn’t to say that she didn’t enjoy travelling once she got going . One of my favorite trips was taken with her ….just the two of us . We went to London, England for a week and had an absolute blast. She did not believe in jetlag and we hit the ground running. I could hardly keep up to her! Theatre; shopping at Laura Ashley and Crabtree and Evelyn; fish and chips in newspaper. We did it all and loved every moment we spent together.
Looking back there is so much to be grateful for .
My Mom introduced me to cross country skiing, a totally uncool thing to do back then .
Always my biggest cheerleader, she was the one waiting for me at the finish line of the 1981
National Capital Marathon.
You always knew when she was upset. She rarely raised her voice. Without a word, she would step away from the table in silence to do the dishes, giving you time to ponder about what you’d done wrong.
My Mom was not only the centre of my world, she was also that for my girlies and her presence has influenced who they are today.
When I think back to my Mom on this special day of celebration I am filled with love and fond memories. I could go on and on.
My Mom was my best friend and my inspiration.
I often wonder what she would say to me today.
I can hear her voice as clear as a bell:
“Oh Dear … try not to worry so much”.
Happy Mother’s Day !