My mother died 16 years ago today.
I can’t say I miss her, though I wish I could recount happy memories of my mother the way just about everybody I know can about theirs. I don’t remember ever being close, and we were so different that we hardly tried to understand each other, to our mutual loss. Our interests never intersected. Looking back, I now realize that I probably rejected the things she liked to stake my ground, and had she not liked them, perhaps I would have.
I do mention her with affection from time to time (“as my mother used to say,” or “my mother would have enjoyed this”). Just tonight I was making guacamole, and felt a little guilty that I wasn’t using a silver knife as she had taught me to keep the avocado from turning black. I didn’t keep the pit in the guacamole either, though she assured me that also the pit would preserve the beautiful green color. Experience has taught me otherwise.
There were other things, like “a lady always wears gloves,” that even she stopped believing. Knowing the “proper” way to set a table for a formal dinner still comes in handy on occasion, though our lifestyle has rendered most of those rules practically obsolete.
I’m glad my children remember her with affection. She and her granddaughter shared a love for fashion, and shoes in particular. My mother’s idea of a fun outing was to dress the children in their finest and take them to the city to have tea at the Plaza. (Before Trump remade the hotel in his gaudy image, it had the reputation as the sine qua non in New York.) My mother took Eloise seriously.
After so many years, nostalgia has somewhat smoothed the rough edges of my relationship with my mother. Now I miss what could have been.