Today would have been my mum's 72nd birthday. Her name was Mabel Eliza Anthony.
She was awesome, beautiful and funny and we lost her to stomach cancer in June 1995. Words cannot express how much I miss her and I wish more than anything that she could have met my children. I know she would have gotten such joy from them.
I don't want to be sad about her passing. I like to think of the fun times we had. Like the time I took her to my favourite Irish pub. It was St. Patty's day the day before her birthday and my friends and I decided to bring all our mothers with us on one of our good old fashioned piss-ups. This was during my college drinking days and it really did seem like a good idea at the time. I mean what could go wrong? Partying at my favourite pub, getting drunk with my drinking buddies and their mothers? Stellar plan.
We arrived at the Old Dublin Pub and all seemed well. I ordered my usual Guinness and she ordered an Irish Coffee. By the time the singer came on, my mum was on her 5th and I was in babysitter mode. How humiliating. She was standing on her chair dancing the actions to "The Unicorn Song" with Patrick's mum. Why when you want the ground to swallow you up it never does? She was the stumbling drunk teenager and I was the one taking care of her.
When the time finally came to go home, I couldn't wait to get away. How could I ever show my face in there again? Then I realized she'd drank all the reserved taxi money. Great. Now what? She suggested we call my dad to come pick us up. Against my better judgement, I dialed the number and put her on the phone. Keep in mind this is about 3:30am and we were about a 25 minute drive from my house.
Watching my mum drunk off her ass is one thing. Seeing her dancing on a chair in a bar is another. Watching her explain to my dad how we spent our taxi fare and that he had to roust himself out of his nice warm bed, in March, and pick up his drunken wife and highly peeved daughter is something else again. Hoo boy.
When he arrived he was wearing his pyjama bottoms, a winter coat and a monstrous, dark scowl. We silently got in the car and my mum promptly fell asleep on my dad's shoulder. I'm sure I saw him try to shrug her off. When we got home he got out and left us in the car. The guy went straight back to bed and left me there with his half conscious wife. Thank goodness I didn't have much to drink. I struggled her into the house and into the kitchen. As we sat together at the kitchen table, we looked at each other. Was this the same woman who yelled when I came in past my curfew? The same one who lost it when I borrowed her favourite scarf? I thought she nodded but she was actually falling forward onto the kitchen table. Snoring.
When I think back on that night I remember how humilitated and embarrassed I felt. But I also remember it dawning on me that she was a human being just like anyone else. That was the first time I ever realized that about her.
I love that memory. We all miss you, mum. Rest in peace.