Cynthia and Alma Jo Thomas

Cynthia with her mother

Mom, I’ve been thinking of you. Today as I cleaned up your house, I picked up a bag of things to go through, and I found a graying box with a rubber band around it. When I opened it, there sat a little green book, “The Story of Our Baby.”  It made me smile.

Tears began to flow as I flipped through and let myself remember. You kept cards from my first birthday, the tag I wore in the hospital, and a cutting of my hair. You carefully listed my height and weight each time I went to the doctor.

The first tooth I lost was carefully taped on one page, and you recounted the story. I recall that day. I’d been running too fast at a friend’s house, and I slammed into my playmate. My mouth hit her forehead. Blood went everywhere. I didn’t know teeth fell out, so I was terrified. That was one occasion when a kiss didn’t make it stop hurting. But you stayed with me, and kept cold rags on my mouth until it felt better.

On a page labeled “Mother’s Notes” you wrote, “A mother has really missed something in life if she doesn’t have a little girl.  She is as stubborn as an ox, but as sweet as a little lamb.  Feb. 1958.”

Yes, that sounds like you. I know it’s true. There was a tug-of-war between us sometimes.  How many times I heard you say, “If I ever get you kids grown, I won’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain.” I never understood what that meant, but then I had my own kids.  Parenting is hard. Now I wish I hadn’t been quite so stubborn, Mom.

You listed my fancy outfits for special occasions, my first Christmas, my first birthday. How many hours did you labor over my pretty dresses? I can still see you with a thimble on your middle finger, and a needle in the other hand stitching lace around hemlines, collars, or sleeves. You tried to see how much lace you could get on one dress, and I loved it. It must have been tedious work, but you never seemed to mind.

My brother and I visited your grave this week after taking care of Dad’s business. I expected to see a nice carpet of grass, but it hasn’t been long enough for grass to grow. The bare dirt felt like a scab on a fresh injury. Yes, we buried you and Dad together, just as you wanted. And one day you and dad are going to pop out of that grave with smiles on your faces.

Until then, Mom, you’ll be gazing at the glory of Jesus. It’s Mother’s Day, and I want you to know I didn’t forget. I love you.

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