If you're a follower of my blog, you know that I've written about my mother in the past, and almost a year ago I wrote that she is in failing health. I am dedicating this year's A to Z Challenge to her since it's her birthday month, and I will be writing about her during the challenge... I hope you'll follow along as I tell her story...
Until about the time I went to high school, there was never "Mom" or "Mommy" or "Momma" only "Annie." It's hard being a single mom, and she worked all the time which meant I was taken care of by aunts, cousins, and other family members. They called her "Annie," so that is the name that I knew her by.
Growing up, I honestly can't remember hugs or snuggles or kisses. I don't remember ever running to her arms or calling out to her. You see, our family wasn't very demonstrative. Even if I had an injury, it was more of telling her "oh, by the way" instead of running to her crying; that might result in a "go get the mercurochrome" or equally a few smacks on the bottom for getting into something I shouldn't have.
This changed when I went away to college. I really wasn't comfortable with all the hugging going on. It took me several months to get used to being hugged by casual friends. I also never expressed much in the way of emotions. Relationships just kind of happened, and usually they entailed an attitude of "what can I get out of this?" But I learned.
Just like I studied ancient Greek literature or calculus, I studied others and learned to relax around people. I learned to hug. I learned to love on an emotional level. My relationship with my mother improved, and I started to call her "Mom." I liked to say we did better with some distance between us. And then I graduated from college and went to live in Mexico City for a year.
I'll just say I had several experiences that made me, at times, concerned for my safety. My mother became my lifeline. She sent me letters of encouragement. She managed my accounts stateside. After one particularly hair-raising event and the sudden death of an uncle, I think I had an epiphany... we're all going to die one day and life is short.
Some time after that I told her "I love you" for the first time at the end of a phone conversation. I waited, but she didn't say it back. From that time onward, I would say it at the end of our weekly phone conversations. It took about three or four weeks, but one day she said it back. And, she's been "Momma" ever since.