Monday, November 06, 2006

Momentum

My Mom was an amazing woman. Most moms are, I guess, from the perspective of their family and friends. But my Mom was the exception to most rules. She lived her life on her terms and taught her daughters and husband about bravery and integrity and compassion.

Mom used to run. I don’t remember how or why the activity started, but I remember Sunday afternoons not being able to locate her in the studio or the kitchen and realizing that she was watching a football game in the basement while jogging on her treadmill. And, if you knew my mother, a classical pianist with grace and poise to spare, you would see the humor in this scene.

She would run on the treadmill on bad days and outside on good days. She taught me to count telephone poles to measure miles. She never would claim to go far or fast – she was just pleased to be able to go. To move forward and do something for herself to help bolster her health. She was never a coordinated person, or even notably physically graceful. But she was tenacious in her core, quietly relentless in her commitment to all things – her career, her family, her friends. She taught my sister and me – and I would imagine, to some extent, my father – that you keep pushing and plodding, even when the effort appears to far overshadow the results.

You just keep doing.

Keep doing, because at some point you determined that the activity was valuable. So, even though right now it’s painful or inconvenient, you just keep doing. Trust yourself. Trust the effort. Trust the process.

Momentum was a tool that my mother used well.

She weathered a difficult childhood with her head bent and her eyes firmly fixed on her goals. She raised a family on the pendulous swing of momentum. She trained legions of talented pianists through the perpetual roll of lessons after lessons, year after year. She fought cancer with momentum. From surgery through recovery through remission through surgery through recovery – for 10 long years.

I guess at one point she learned that you just keep going. No matter what life throws at you.

You just keep going.

_________

I spend a lot more time nowadays relating to that momentum. Mom passed away in 1997, at the young age of 51, with her oldest making a go at life in the big city and her little baby giving her best shot at her first semester of college. There is much that cancer stole from her and me – from us. So many discussions, so many moments of learning. She never saw the adult that I am now, yet she also was spared all the pain it took to get here.

And I am often reminded of this when I run. When I jog around the neighborhood, plodding forward in my own form of momentum. In some sense, I feel connected with her. Not her as a mother or a teacher, or even a patient or someone requiring care or compassion.

But her as a woman. A young woman with hopes and dreams. A young woman who still goes out for a jog, no matter how awkward she feels in the running clothes or how ungainly her gait is in the long shadow she casts down the sidewalk. She saw her imperfect figure in the store window reflection and I’m sure she was conscious of her slower pace. But it was her time, the moments when she owned the momentum, the roll, the perceivable push from behind. Those, I’m sure, were some of the rare moments she had left over after my sister and me, my father, her students, her charities, and her friends were done taking what we needed.

I bet they were magical.

And I find similar things in those moments, where work cannot reach and all of those other obligations are obliged to wait. I feel the hand on my back, gently pushing forward – not for speed, but rather for momentum. Urging. Follow the roll. Trust the motion. Enjoy the ride.

You only get one chance.

It is in those moments, I feel connected to my mother in a way we were never allowed in life. We were never granted those glances of knowing understanding. We were never allowed to find common ground as peers, as women, as mothers, or as wives.

But occasionally, I feel as if we do connect. And I know that the hand on the small of my back, urging me forward, is hers and she is right there beside me, jogging to our slow and steady pace.

18 comments:

Spokane Al said...

Wow, that was a moving story. You are so very blessed to have had such a mother that left the imprint that she did on you. And I trust that you are paying that forward now, through your blog and your life.

Peace be with you.

Flatman said...

Great. Post.

Jeremy said...

Such a heart felt post.

"Enjoy the ride. You only get one chance".

jessie_tri_mn said...

Very touchgin. Thanks for writing this post. I'm glad your mother is such a positive inspiration in your life. Life is indeed far too short.

LoneStarCrank said...

Great, great post!!!! You are honoring your mother by remembering her in the little things you do every day and relishing in her memory.

It's great to have that extra 'push' when we need it!

ClareUK said...

Beautiful post. You would make her proud.

LBTEPA said...

dammit I can't be crying at work!!
Thanks fro the last tow posts - they are very moving, thought-provoking and inspiring.

Cash Loans said...
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Anonymous said...

Could not have said it better myself...
~Lil' Sis

Anonymous said...

I have always known my cousin(s) were amazing but this touched me in a way I can't begin to explain, I know your Mom is so very proud of you as we all are. I love You!! Kimmie

IM Able said...

Thanks to everyone who took a second to send a comment or note. I didn't realize that such a post would remind so many of their moms, but I'm grateful that it did. I have found that it's so important to, in the corners of our days, remember all those small ways that we are connected to each other. Mom taught me that and I know I would be adrift without that lesson.

You all are great!!

Anonymous said...

I've sat here for many minutes after reading your post seaching for the right words of reply. I'm moved to silence.

21st Century Mom said...

That was such a beautiful post. I'm so sorry you lost your Mom as such an early age.

I am an intrepid plodder and a mother to one daughter who is trying to make her way in the big city and one who is in her first semester of college so this post spoke to me in a very direct way. I hope my daughters get as much from watching me 'just keep going' as you got from your Mom.

TriSaraTops said...

A beautiful post. Thank you!

ironjenny said...

I echo boomer (whom I met in FL - an amazing person himself!). you are a reflection on what a great person your mom was. I would have hung out with her!

Hey, thanks for your comment on my blog - Trimama is coming over Tuesday (hopefully!) -- I am going to make her show me how to do this blog thing...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing..
Great Post.

stronger said...

Beautiful

B Bop said...

Wow. Words cannot do justice to my thoughts on this post. Thank you for sharing.