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If only Mom could say something again

by | May 13, 2013 | Comment, Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

She said, “Come, here, baby.”

And I reached for her.

She said, “Open wide!”

And I ate.

She sang, “Rock a bye …”

And I slept for her.

She said, “See? All better.”

And my crying stopped.

* * *

She said, “Finish eating.”

And I scowled at her.

She said, “Clean your room.”

And I fumed.

She said, “Put it back.”

And I whined at her.

She said, “You’re going!”

I screamed, “No, I’m not!”

* * *

She said, “I’ll be waiting.”

So I entered the grade school.

She said, “I’ll be here.”

So I got on the bus.

She said, “I’ll be right outside.”

So I sat for the dentist.

She said, “I’ll have ice cream.”

So I let my tonsils go.

* * *

She said, “Be back before supper.”

I ignored her.

She said, “Don’t play with that boy.”

I ignored her again.

She said, “Turn out the lights.”

I snuck them back on.

She said, “Don’t use that language.”

But I still do.

* * *

She said, “Kiss your grandma.”

I replied, “Do I have to?”

She said, “Stand up straight.”

I replied, “Why?”

She said, “Show respect.”

I replied, “I am!”

She said, “You can do better.”

So I tried.

* * *

She said, “Why the long hair?”

I said, “You don’t get me.”

She said, “Why those old sneakers?”

I said, “Leave me alone.”

She said, “Aren’t you coming with us?”

I said, “I have my friends.”

She said, “Who’s on the phone?”

I said, “God, Mom, get off!”

* * *

She said, “You have to study.”

So I studied in high school.

She said, “You’ll go to college.”

Naturally, I went.

She said, “My cup runneth over.”

When she stood at my wedding.

She said, “I believe in you.”

No matter what came next.

* * *

She said all these expressions,

“Love your family … be kind …”

“Make your spouse your best friend.”

And “creative minds are rarely tidy.”

She advised me to “be ready.”

I was ready until this day.

She said, “I’ll always love you …”

Then her voice went away.

* * *

She stares at me now

When I say, “Hiya, Mommy!”

She’s a curious child

When I say, “It’s your son.”

There’s a wheelchair beneath her

So I can’t say, “Let’s go.”

The strokes left her fragile

Hidden inside.

* * *

So I say, “Come here, Mother.”

And she reaches for me.

I say, “Open wide.”

And she eats.

I say, “I’ll always love you.”

Like she always told me.

And I hide my greatest Mother’s Day wish.

To hear her say something — anything — again.

Contact Mitch Albom: 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com. Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760). Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom. To read his recent columns, go to freep.com/mitch.

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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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