July 22nd. Sucks.


I think most people probably have a date or two on the calendar that looms in the distance, making its unwelcome stop for 24 hours each and every year before fading away for another 364.

9 years ago today my mom died.

And ever since then, 7/22/03 has continued to suck a small bit of joy out of those monumental days in my family’s life that should be nothing but utterly joyous.  You know the ones – my wedding day, the day Lily Bean was born, my brother and sister’s graduations (high school for my brother , college for both)…

But there are also all the little dumb things that I wish she could have been here for…  Lily’s first riding lesson, strawberry picking, Starbucks runs, watching a good snowstorm out the window…

9 years is a long time.  I have now spent almost one third of my life without my mom.  How is that even possible?  How is that even fair?  Well, it’s not fair of course, but sometimes life isn’t.

So I’m sitting here, thinking not just about my mom, but also about everything that has happened in my life and in the world in the past 9 years.  Some good, some bad.  I wonder what she would say about various events that have transpired.

Here’s what I came up with…

My mom would have been so pleased to see Starbucks and Cheesecake Factory restaurants all over the Northeastern United States.  My mom was a west coaster at heart.  Yes, she grew up and lived her whole life in Pennsylvania.  But she was obsessed with Southern Cali and all that it entailed – and she visited every chance she got.  Some of her favorite places on earth were Malibu at sunset, a stroll down the Santa Monica pier or promenade, movie star watching in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, a drive up the PCH or perhaps taking in a filming of Perfect Strangers.  Starbucks and Cheesecake Factory (especially the one in Marina del Rey) are staples in the LA area and have been for decades – WAY longer than out here on the East Coast.  She would be so pleased to stop for a Sbux latte after enjoying a Cheesecake Factory dinner of Shrimp Scampi, while jamming to California Dreamin’ by The Mamas and the Papas – all within 30 minutes of her home.

She would be so disappointed in the psychotic scallywag that is Mel Gibson.  So the whole Southern Cali obsession I described above?  I should also point out that she had some VERY favorite movie stars who topped her list of things to babble about.  Mel was one of them.  She revered him.  What a family man, father, husband, talented actor, funny guy, easy on the eyes, total package.  NOT!  I’m not sure which would have sent her reeling more – his drunken tirades and anti-Semitic remarks or the unsavory baby mama voicemails that leaked to the tabloids.  Either way, she would be PISSED (and I’d imagine she’d also be unloading much of her Lethal Weapon memorabilia on Craigslist.)

She would love that I ended up with a handy fixer man.  No matter how much she dreamed of living in a Hollywood Hills Bungalow, Bucks County, PA has always been her home – her happy place.  It would make her happy to see how good the homestead is looking these days – how much TLC we have poured into it – and how Bob is giving the house a Renaissance of sorts.

She would be horrified at some of the bogus song parodies featured in commercials these days.  Sometimes as I sit here working and the television drones on in the background, I’ll hear a song that my mom really liked, only to realize it’s the TUNE of that song but the words are different – twisted into some yappy commercial jingle.  Case and point – Xfinity’s High Speed Internet commericial with the song “Stream, Stream, Stream” which parodies the original song from 1958 “All I Have to Do is Dream” by The Everly Brothers. *shudder*

She would be thrilled that my siblings and I have all followed her footsteps.  Two of my mom’s biggest talents were photography and writing.  She was amazing at both.  My brother is a full-time blogger and photographer/videographer.  My sister runs her own photography business.  I, well, you know what I do.  Definitely some writing involved there.

I think she would hate that the world is still so full of social injustices, racial tension and ignorance towards anyone deemed to be “different.”  She’d hate that our well still sucks the big one and we run out of water every week or so.  She’d be disappointed that I threw away her Starsky and Hutch travel mug.

I think she would love Salted Caramel Mochas from Starbucks, that Bronson Pinchot found some work, Facebook, Trader Joe’s, and iPhones (especially Face Time).  She could not stand any kind of character-infused clothing on kids – but I’m willing to bet she would have melted at the sight of Lily twirling around in her Snow White dress.  She would have found so much joy helping me pack the horseshow bag and would always be up for a stop at Tabora.

She would have cherished and adored her two precious granddaughters.  I have made it through this entire post, but this is where I tear up, because this is the part that SUCKS THE MOST.  These two silly, giggly, bubbly little girls would have been her world.  She would have lit up at the thought of them – and I’m sure would have done more than her fair share of bragging about them.  She would have sat on the sidelines of my niece Ava’s soccer games, snapping pictures and enjoying a sip of Coke.  She would have met us early in the morning on Sundays to watch Lily ride in each and every horse show.

She would be proud, fulfilled and happy.

And on shitty days like July 22nd, these are the thoughts that get me through.

Love you, Mom.