Not Guilty!

I’m at the grocery store, navigating through the chaos of an afternoon before Mother’s Day: more floral arrangements than a funeral home, enough pink balloons to supply a dozen nine-year-olds’ birthday parties, greeting card racks laden with glittery sentiment, chocolate-covered strawberry display that engulfs half the produce aisle. Men and women surround me, their shopping carts loaded with sacrificial offerings to place upon the altars of the women who brought them into this world.

My own offering is modest. A small yellow orchid, beribboned in pink, to pin to her blouse. Two cookies, pink and blue icing stating “I Love you, Mom” and “Happy Mother’s Day.” A card for her collection, one of the few things she’s managed not to lose or throw out.

I will not feel guilty that I did not get her more. Last year, the rose bouquet was overturned not long after I presented it, glass shards to clean up, flowers forgotten moments later.

I will not feel guilty that I choose to take her to the special brunch in the dining room of her memory care community. Last year, the silverware at her favorite restaurant became frightening, napkins mistaken for toast.

I will not feel guilty that she lives in a memory care community. I took care of her with love and compassion for the three years I was her sole caregiver.

I will not feel guilty because I do not visit her every day. Every time I visit, our time together is special.

And I will not feel guilty because she’s already forgotten the memories from moments ago, last week, my childhood.

I am a mother to my mother and I love her unconditionally. For us, every day is Mother’s Day. 

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