Tripping Over Mockingbirds and Grace

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I firmly believe that my mom puts things right where I will trip over them. I think she does this because she knows that if she places them in the artful cubbyholes of life, I will miss them entirely. After all, I spent my entire childhood yelling, “Mo-o-m, I can’t find it! It’s not here!” only to have her reach around me and pull out the missing object, right in front of my face all along.

So, of course, even though she’s been dead for eight years, Mom still knows I don’t do subtle.

When my mom died, I knew she loved me – her only child – enough to still watch over me, maybe even to visit during dreams. But, as much as I wished it, my dreams remained barren, with the exception of the regular tornadoes or plane crashes that any psychologist would tell you were my fears made manifest. But no mom. No wise counsel, or even gentle chiding.

I had been abandoned.

But then things got less subtle.

My mother wasn’t alive anymore, but suddenly a plethora of mother figures entered my life. The neighbor who still reminds me my gate is open, and checks to make sure things are okay during thunderstorms. The older woman in my professional association who always grabs me by the hand to introduce me to people and who isn’t afraid to say she loves me. An aunt who suddenly started calling on my birthday after Mom died.

And the mockingbirds were everywhere.

My mom and I shared a love for this plucky little bird and, after her death, mockingbirds were everywhere. They flew just ahead of me on walks, pausing to wait for me from a perch. They accompanied me even in other countries where mockingbirds had a different look, but the same saucy up-tipped tail. I had become a Mockingbird Magnet.

Even today, every time I see one, I silently greet my Mama. It’s not that she’s turned into a bird or even sent the bird, but just that there are reminders everywhere of what we shared and how much she loved me. Maybe still loves me.

I am choosing to ignore that one mockingbird that attacked me and swooped aggressively at my dogs. I mean, even my sainted mom and I had our moments.

Mockingbirds are supposed to symbolize faith, integrity without fear, grace and universal love. Sounds about like my mom. On this Mothers’ Day…I’m going with it. I’m choosing to believe that, in some way, Mama is still with me.

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