A Tale of Four Junes....
I was fresh out of college, engaged, and getting ready for my wedding. I was living with Mom and Dad. Mom and I picked out flowers together at Garden Gate florist. Mom assured me that 'they'd know how to help us.' She was right.
The night before the wedding we had a everyone over to their house for pizza. Mom was in high-gear worrying about entertaining everyone. We stayed up late--Mom, Dad, my brother-in-law, Brad, and his wife, Stacey--and played Trivial pursuit. Mom and Dad got all the sex questions right. Mom got all the sports one... Also most of the rest. Situation normal.
The day of the wedding her best friend came over and did our hair for the ceremony. It might not have been out of a fashion magazine, but it looked nice and got the job done. Mom looked amazing in her beautiful pink, dress. I don't think I ever saw her look more beautiful.
And then the next morning, I went to her house, and hugged her. She loaned us her truck for the honeymoon (it was more dependable than my S-10), and we headed off to start our life together as a married couple.
June of 2004--
Andy had finished Basic Training and A School. We'd lived in Pensacola for only three short months, but something stirred me to go home before moving to Washington. I needed my Mom and Dad. I needed the familiarity of their home. I didn't know why, but I needed to be there.
Father's Day, Andy and I woke up. He was leaving for Washington that day and I was staying behind because I needed to. I indelicately peed on a stick, and found out that I was going to have a baby. I kept it to myself until I could go to the doctor to pee on a more official stick...
Except that there was Mom... and she kept asking when I Was going to make her a Grandma... And I just HAD to at least hint.
She caught on quick and was elated--but cautious--taking cues from me.... I chided myself for giving in so easily, but it was wonderful to share the secret with my Mom.
I went to the doctor and tested really, truly pregnant, ran to the mall, and picked up the "Grandmother" figurine made by Willow Tree. Then I rushed home and gave it to her. She exploded with joy. She ran around for days smiling, bouncing, giggling. She was giddy in a way I'd never seen her before.
She also yelled at me for having taken on some Republican leanings--JUST SOME! (Don't worry, I've come to my senses a bit!).
June of 2005
Again, I needed to be home. My Mom needed me. These were the last days of her life. She sat in her chair, and I sat in mine, and she just revelled in being awake--in smelling the air. She watched Carolyn, and cried because she didn't have the strength to hold her. She ooed and ahhed over all of her outfits.
She told me stories about when she was young--she knew it was time to pass on the history.
Some of her last really Mom-like days were in June of last year.
June of 2006
My Mom is gone. My daughter is turning quickly into a little girl. And I... I barely resemble the Val of four years ago. This Val is sadder, more compassionate, more serious, more adult, more somber.... But I like her better. (She still has plenty of childlikeness--Mom wouldn't have had it any other way).
Four Junes... Three years...
So very much happened.