Interlude: My Mom

I find that most of my childhood memories revolve around not only my toys, which I spent a great deal of time with, but they revolve around my mom... Which oddly enough, I also spent a great deal of time with.

My mom always had time for me growing up. If I needed help on my multiplication tables, or in the dreaded cursive and penmanship assignments, she was there to help. And when I say she was there to help, I mean she would drop what she was doing to help me, no matter how long it took.

She would bring me with her on errands, and it really wasn't that hard to behave in public for her. She always asked me nicely before leaving the house. I was not threatened, so I never truly feared her. I knew she could get angry, but why risk it when it was so easy to just be quiet and be good? I guess, I saw it as my responsibility, even as a young child, to not embarrass my mom in public. I didn't want to disappoint her. I feared that more than any anger driven punishment.

Since my mother did the shopping for the household with me in tow, my mom was also the one that would buy me my toys. She had a great memory for what she bought me too. I could forget about trading toys with other kids, my mom was a hawk!

As the years went on, and I got older, I started collecting toys. I don't think my mom understood it, but she would defend my collection to any nosey adult that dared stick their head in my room.

Then one day, my mom was cleaning a closet and found my Smurfs. We started talking about my first Smurf, the baker, and it ended in her confession... She always meant to buy me a Smurf house, but it was very costly, so she saved up, but by the time she had enough and went to buy it, the store had sold the only one they had.

I went straight to my computer, jumped online and found one. I bought it without telling her. When the box arrived, I handed to her and told her it was a surprise. She started to cry when she saw it. We opened it up and put a couple of Smurfs in and had a good chuckle.

That Smurf house led to a full village that we put together, the both of us. It was our thing.

When my mom passed away, I could barely look at Smurf, much less bring myself to buy one. I couldn't do it. My heart was completely broken, and the passion was gone. It wasn't fun. It was painful. To whom would I show the latest addition to the village? Who would help me decide where he went?

It took going to a toy show, and walking by a dealer who sold nothing BUT Smurfs to get me to even look at another little blue heartbreaker. I looked. Then I walked away.

As I walked up and down each aisle, looking from booth to booth, and all I could do was think about how my mom would have reacted to seeing so many Smurfs in one place, and instead of fighting back the tears I found myself smiling a little.

Before leaving the show I went back to that dealer and bought a Smurf in a cage. It was one we talked about getting, however we ran out of time. When I got home I dusted off the village and found his place.

February 8th 2011 marks ten years since my mom passed. (That's the hardest sentence I've ever had to write down...)

She taught me everything I know about love, kindness, understanding, speaking up for yourself, cursing, flipping off bad drivers that tailgate you, family, and of course, taking care of your toys.

I love you, mommy. Thank you.