When I was a girl, I went to church with my mother every Mother's Day. Before we left the house, she would pin a white rose on her heart-side lapel in remembrance of her mother who died tragically more than a decade before I was born, and a red one on my dress where the left lapel would be. A symbol that my mother was very much alive. I miss my mother, though she is still very much alive at 84. I miss the woman I thought she would be. Vibrant. Busy. In the street. I thought I'd be calling my sister who lives just a few miles away from Shady Grove Road asking where is Mama to hear her to say Girl, she is off in the street somewhere gallivantin' with Ms. Torrey or the church choir, or some such, did you try her on her cell.
Instead I'm left with the old lady who cried I don't remember.
Two summers ago when I last visited Spring Lake, North Carolina, my mother and I climbed into my rental car. I was taking her to JC Penney to return a dress she changed her mind about and help her find a new one.
"I may need you to help me with getting there," I said. The Mall was a half-hour away and it had been years since I had driven there. And I'm one who damn near needs GPS to get to work.
"Oh, I don't remember," she said.
"You don't remember?" I looked at her incredulously, knowing that she drove herself to this Mall at least every other week.
"No," she stared ahead.
"OK, we'll use the GPS."
Ten minutes into the drive, the GPS took me a direction that didn't seem familiar to me. But then again, streets and landmarks often look unfamiliar to me though I've driven by them several times before. My mother sat quietly, looking through the windshield.
"I don't remember coming this way before," I said.
"I usually take a left back there on McArthur."
I looked at her incredulously again, then back to the road, looking for the next legal U-turn.
Perhaps I will wear a pink rose this Mother's Day.