My Mother Ate Lemons
I was cooking eggplant a few days ago and after cutting it into cubes, I soaked the pieces in cold water with the juice from two lemons. Then I ate one of the lemons, something I’ve never done.
I wasn’t sure why I ate the lemon; but then, in the mystifying way that a song or an aroma or food seems to open the portals of time and transport us back to the past, I was sitting at the kitchen table of my youth and watching my mother eat a lemon. She loved to eat lemons.
It’s Mother’s Day, and once your mother is gone, Mother’s Day goes with her. For the first Mother’s day after my mother died fifteen years ago, I wanted to bypass Mother’s Day by jumping from Saturday, over Sunday, to Monday.
The passage of time doesn’t mean that you forget her…or that you don’t miss her terribly…or that on certain days – holidays, her birthday, Mother’s Day – the pain of her loss won’t engulf you again. But it eventually subsides and you move on with your life.
And so when I think of my mother now, I no longer focus on the awful stretch of days when she was dying and I played Frank Sinatra songs for her because there was nothing else I could do.
I think instead of her beautiful smile, the things that made her happy…the way she cared about the welfare of everyone she knew…and the selfless way she took care of my father, my brother and me…and how she loved to eat lemons.
But more than anything, I am grateful that she was my mother.