“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”
― Kent Nerburn, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living in the Spirit of the Prayer of St. Francis
This is one of my favorite pictures of my sisters and me. It was a tiny, tiny moment in a family Christmas celebration. I was pregnant with GE, not quite ready to pop but GE decided otherwise. She was born 2 days later. Great moments followed: labor, the birth of my 1st child. I look at this picture and see all the silliness of the three of us. Nearly 40 years later, I still smile when I think of that small moment when an ex-husband snapped the picture.
I’m thinking of those small moments because it’s our mom’s birthday today. I don’t have a feeling of intense sadness; Mother’s been gone since 1993. Our Aunt Louise said that she had never stopped looking for her mother on the porch of the old Montell house when she drove up there. And her mother had died more than 40 years before. Small moments. Looking at the porch to see a mother waiting. Picking up the phone at 11 p.m. to call her.
My birthday after Mother died was odd. Like I’d misplaced something. I had. I’d misplaced my mother’s death. She always called at 6:30 in the morning to retell the story of my birth. She did that for each of us. After I moved away from home, I was determined to be the very first person to wish her “Happy Birthday” on her birthday. I was. I called her a day early, sang the birthday song, and got her belly laugh in response. I miss that laugh. And her scent: a mixture of Blue Grass cologne and cigarette smoke.
How many moments become great when viewed in retrospect, their importance uncovered like treasure? There are times when I gasp with the intensity of a small moment remembered. Remembered and missed.