I’m Almost 50 and I Still Need My Mom

My mother once solved a crime. It was a late August morning, a gentle warm rain had left the air thick and humid. My mother, still in her gauzy nightgown, was baking her famous blueberry cupcakes, the ones that were sweet, but never cloying, and would stain your fingertips inky purple when you ate them.

There was a noise on the front porch, where my mom kept a huge turquoise ceramic pot teeming with roses and crape myrtle. Alarmed, but not afraid, she threw on her robe, raced to the door and found a shirtless young man staring at her through the locked storm door.

I still need my mom at 50 (Photo credit: Claudia Caramiello)

My mother once caught a thief

“What do you want?” my mother asked. Immediately suspicious. “I’m here selling mulch. Do you want to buy some?” My mother declined, shut the door, double locked it, then went to get my father. “Carlo,” she said, her voice still tinged with a Bronx accent. “This is the south. It’s Sunday. People are in church, nobody sells mulch on a Sunday.”

My mother sprang into action. First she contacted a neighbor who was a police officer, then she logged on to the neighborhood Facebook page, warning the small North Carolina community of the thin shirtless man with stringy hair. It turned out the man was wanted for several garage and shed robberies-he was caught within an hour. Because of my mother.

My teens were impressed by my mom’s behavior

My teens were impressed by their grandmother’s moxie and bravery. It’s not an easy feat to impress a teenager. Although my kids were older, they remained very close to my mom. With her stylish blonde bob, youthful face, and signature mauve lips, my mom is the cool grandma.

Two years ago my mother had major back surgery. My sisters and I were a wreck, worried about everything that could go wrong. The night before the surgery, my mother called me into her kitchen, wanting to talk. Thinking it was going to be an emotional conversation regarding possible complications, I braced myself.

“I need you to do something for me,” my mother said very seriously. Of course! “Promise me,” she said, “That you will take care of my stove.” What?

She went on to explain in detail how her glass top stove required special care. Emphatically, she explained I was to only use Weiman’s glass cooktop polish and a buffing pad.

“Don’t let your father touch the stove, he’ll muck it up.”

I stared at this 76 year old woman who still got her hair and nails done every few weeks in awe. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or hug her. How was she not afraid?

“There are other things to worry about,” I said.

“Please,” my mother waved her manicured hand impatiently. “The stove, make sure it’s clean when I get home.”

I was so afraid of losing my mom

The day of my mom’s surgery I made myself eggs, and of course the stove got dirty. I remembered to use the special polish, but forgot about the buffing pad and used paper towels instead. It was a mess. Dried egg, mixed with paper towel stuck to the stove and I panicked. Tears welled in my eyes and my heart sank. It had absolutely nothing to do with the stove. Unlike my mother, being brave wasn’t my strong suit.

As I stood in my mom’s perfectly organized kitchen, the knot of worry in my stomach unraveling, I realized how much I needed my mother. Thinking about losing her brought me to my knees. Who could possibly take her place in my life and my children’s life? Nobody.

Who will be the one to make rainbow cookies at Christmas time? Who will sew my kid’s favorite graphic tees when they get a hole? Who will show up with unwavering strength when I’m not able to be brave?

No one can ever take my mother’s place

The truth is, no one will ever love you like your mother does. I understood this on that day as I stood at my mom’s stove, desperately trying to get it clean, but more importantly, trying to live up to a woman who is a gift. A woman who is brave, intelligent, caring and funny. A woman who loves me like no other person can.

When my mother came home from the hospital, I told her about the stove. “I even posted on Facebook asking how to fix it,” I relayed to my mom.

She laughed breezily and told me I did a great job. We sat together, drinking coffee, and I felt as if I was spun in a cocoon of warmth and love.

And of course I was, because I was with my mother.

More Great Reading:

Piecing Myself Back Together After the Loss of My Mom

About Claudia Caramiello

Hailing from New Jersey, Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, and mother of teen boys both day and night. She survives single motherhood on coconut Redbull, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Her View From Home, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. Find her on Facebook at Espresso and Adderall or on Instagram.

Read more posts by Claudia

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