Life Between the Tenses

June 2nd is my mother's birthday.

Or... wait.

June 2nd was my mother's birthday.

No, that doesn't feel right.

Tomorrow, June 2, is the day my mother was born. Tomorrow will mark 61 years since she entered this world.

I guess that's the best way to put it, but I still don't like it.

I'm an English teacher. I should know which one works best.

It's hard to believe that there have been twelve birthdays without her here. It's also hard to believe she would be 61.  In my mind, she is eternally young, forever frozen in that perfect smile with just enough age to have wisdom, but still enough youth to make her laugh echo with whimsy.

My mom at my wedding in 2004, just 3 months before her passing. 

There isn't a day which goes by that I don't say "I miss my mom." This isn't hyperbole. I literally wrestle with this every single day. Sometimes, it's just a fleeting thought in my mind, somewhere in the background when I make one of her favorite recipes or hear a story I would love to share with her. Often, it's when I am singing for Evan as I put him down to sleep at night.

Other times, it manifests as actual words spilled from my lips, sometimes when I am rocking my son, or listening to him laugh, or sometimes when I am buying cleaning supplies at Target. Admittedly, the latter makes strangers around me far more uncomfortable than the former.

Still, some other times, it's an all-consuming response which comes straight from my soul. Some days, it comes with giggles. More days than I care to admit, it comes with tears shed into my pillow or drops which silently fall as I drive to my destination.

I once believed there would be a magical someday when the hurt of losing my mom would cease. But, that just isn't the way it works when someone is part of who you are. At some essential level, I will always miss my mother. Yes, time makes the wounds a little less raw, but the scars are still there and every once in a while, one of those sore spots just becomes a little more touchy.

She never got the chance to be a grandma to the amazing grandchildren she has.  I hate that Evan will never know her, will never hear her laugh and will never understand the way her hugs could soothe whatever ache life threw your way. She never had the chance to have a ridiculous birthday party with obnoxious balloons and party hats, thrown by tiny hosts who knew just what grandma would like.

I don't usually dwell on what I am missing in my life as there is little I can do to remedy the situation. But, tomorrow, the absence of my mother will be pronounced and profound, as it is on all these "special" days.
My mom with me on my birthday in 1980.

But, instead of being sad tomorrow, I'm going to have a birthday party with my son. We're going to eat cupcakes and sing the birthday song. We're going to wish Grandma the happiest of birthdays.

Even though she's gone, her legacy still lives on. So, on June 2nd, we will celebrate the life of the woman who taught me what it is to be a mom.

You see, tomorrow, June 2nd, is my mother's birthday.  Present tense.

Yes. That definitely feels right.


  1. I love that you are going to have a birthday party for your mom with your son. Happy birthday to your mom!


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