My Mother’s 60th Birthday

Today my mother would have turned 60. Even though she’s been gone for 8 years, I still feel like our relationship is complicated, as most Mother-Daughter dynamics are. All her motherly wisdom is in me but she’s gone – so it’s hard to figure out how/when/what to think about her.

A lot has happened in her absence. I graduated college. I had my first big heartbreak. I was sidetracked in my career for a while but now I’m a full-time writer. I fell in love.

My brother became a chef. Then he started a family and met his soul mate, Lindsay, who has become like a sister, I think. I’ve never had a sister so I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I’m happily still learning the ropes.

Our family expanded, and still has this great loss to deal with.

Eight years have gone by and what does that mean? What I’ve discovered is that it means you’re left with a ton of choices. The really annoying kind of choices where you have to consciously decide to either rise above or sink below.

One decision is: how will I remember her? Will I push her out of my mind so it’s ALMOST like it didn’t happen? Will I try my hardest not to think about “it” so that if ever I do think about it I immediately change the channel?

Or…

Will I listen and try to find meaning in the universe around me? Will I make time to be filled with wonder and marvel at how spectacular life can be? Even though existence is rather peculiar.

It’s drudgery. It’s ecstasy. It’s exhausting. It’s magnificent. It’s cruel… it’s kind. And you don’t have control over what happens. You only really decide your outlook — how hard you’ll fight, how brave you’ll be, how generous, how empathetic, how honest, how happy…

I go back and forth — dance a little on each side because the challenges teach me and remind me to be grateful for all of the good.

Last night was one of the moments where I got to experience some of the wonder. I was handed a little inspiration to say all that I want to say today.

Last night, for a reason I cannot explain, I decided to re-watch Spanglish (Thank you, Netflix). I had forgotten how much of that movie is about mothers and daughters. At the end, the mother asks her daughter, “Is what you want in life to be very different from me?” Isn’t that the question we daughters all ask about our mothers? The difference being that if my mother said THAT to me, I’d realize how foolish a question it is, because I’d be honored to be like her.

Side note: Every year I donate blood on my mom’s birthday. If you are thinking that I am telling you that to say, “Hey I’m better than you” then you’re correct. I’m hoping that guilt turns into action. Donate blood today. There are a lot of stats about why it’s good but my favorite is that most premature babies need transfusions. That could be you saving a little baby’s life… today!

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5 Comments

Filed under Be Grateful, gratitude, grief, Lauren Muscarella, loss, mother, parent, Volunteer

5 responses to “My Mother’s 60th Birthday

  1. Ariel Boxman

    You are amazing. So lucky to call you a friend. Thinking of you and your family. xoxo

  2. Renita

    How lovely! I adore and love you sweet Lauren. I have duly been guilted into giving blood. My very best to you & the growing Muscarella family.

  3. Lauren, you’re so open about your feelings – I’m grateful for that wonderful trait in you because it makes me realize some things about myself, too. Which, I guess, is the point. xoxo

  4. Auntie Jan

    Well it is nice to see you writing on Mama’s Quest again. My journey started when you started this blog. I was missing my Mom and very depressed. Unlike you losing your mother at a young age, I was blessed with my mom for 57 years. But regardless losing a mother is never easy. I miss her every day as she missed her mother every day for 44 years, I found my nana’s Social Security Card and the prayer card from her funeral. They we in her wallet, behind her SS card. I knew then how significant a loss her passing would be.

    Your Mom would be so proud of you. I remember the last time I was blessed with her presence. Your Dad and brother Mike were coming to your homecoming at least I think it was that, but they were visiting you never the less..

    We had a long visit and she talked and talked about her family. I remember she had a headache and Sandy and I layed hands on her. She immediately knew we were using Reiki. This gave us a great connect and what was a visit that gave us peace. Your mother had a very strong spirit and it was an honor to have known her.

    My dear niece Lauren you are a product of your mom. She gave you the opportunity to explore your life and did not want you to give up one minute of the college experience. Her wisdom and guidance have been with you every minute.

    Thank you for your post as it gave me an opportunity to remember Alice. As long as the departed are in our thoughts and hearts they are with us.

    Happy Birthday Alice!

  5. bll

    Laur- I loved this.

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