Since my mother died from breast cancer in 2010, one day after I got married, I've, needless to say, missed her. But I've found that it isn't the big moments -- holidays, birthdays, even the birth of my daughter -- when I miss her the most. It's the small ones. The ones that I, probably like you, never gave a thought about when she was alive and not spending 20+ hours a day on her bed or the couch. And even more so, I miss the moments we never had.
If and when you lose your mother, these are the things you'll miss about her most.
1. You'll miss the delight your mother would have derived from Pinterest. Did Pinterest even exist in 2010? She never understood Facebook, but Pinterest? Pinterest she'd love.
2. You'll miss telling your mother about the Aebleskivers recipe you found on Pinterest. You're not sure if she ever heard of Aebleskivers, but they sound like something she'd like. There's no one else in your family who would care about the recipe. They'd eat them but wouldn't wonder what's in them. The two of you could spend a lazy afternoon making Aebleskivers at your house (bought a house, Mom!) while your daughter (had a baby, Mom!) plays in the background.
3. You'll miss buying your mom a really nice present after going to Paris. If anyone would appreciate an Hermes scarf, it would be her. And if anyone deserved an Hermes scarf, it was her. And you'll miss seeing how cool and chic she'd feel wearing it in front of her friends, saying, "My daughter bought this for me in Paris."
4. You'll miss going out to lunch with your mother, and then maybe browsing around Anthropologie or Williams-Sonoma, like you see so many women and their mothers doing. And you'd never look at an older daughter rolling her eyes at her mother and want to smack her, because you just might do that, too.
5. You'll miss asking your mother questions about your childhood after you've had a baby of your own. Did I do that when I was little? Because, while your father has always been hands-on, he doesn't remember shit.
6. You'll miss hearing your mother tell you, in her own way, that you're a good mom. Because no matter how much you doubt yourself, you know that you are. And it's a shame that your mom can't see that after how impatient you'd always been.
7. You'll miss getting to look at your mother differently after you've had a child of your own. So, that's how much you loved me! Why didn't you just say so!
8. You'll miss getting to enjoy the really good mother-daughter relationship. The post-high school-fighting; post-college-it's-pronounced-Antverp, Mom relationship. The relationship where you're just two adults, and it's not weird if you're more friends than mother/daughter.
9. You'll miss hearing her tell you that, even though it's 14 degrees out, she likes leaving the windows of her car open. How dare you assume she was smoking?!
10. You'll miss having your mother dealing with your sister's shit instead of you, because, although you love her, you've got enough responsibilities.
11. You'll miss having someone, the only person, clean up completely after a meal -- and do it right. When was the last time you didn't have 56 pots, pans, and dishes to do after eating at your house, your father's, or sister's?
12. You'll miss telling her that she can shave her face. Yes, shave her face. When she told you she was embarrassed about the light fuzz that was appearing on her face due to the medicine, all you could say was, "I didn't even notice." (You did.) You've since learned that you can shave the hair on your face, and it's fine. It doesn't grow back stubbly, because that's not the kind of hair it is. That would have come in handy.
13. You'll miss having someone you trust (really trust) watch your child for no cost whatsoever. And when you came home from work, your house would be cleaner than when you left.
14. You'll miss buying her Aesop hand soaps and lotions for Christmas. That's what you would have gotten her this year. Anyone else would wonder why on earth you're buying that for them, but not your mom. She'd get it. She was the only person in your family who shared an interest in stupid fine goods like that.
15. You'll miss her sarcastic humor, especially hearing her say things like, "I've got a lot of problems and that ain't one of them" when she found out your sister's friend was locked out of her apartment after a night of drinking.
16. You'll miss her emails. All those annoying forwards.
17. You'll miss seeing her handwriting in cards, notes, and lists. It was the most perfect, neat handwriting anyone had ever seen. Your father's, though endearing, is illegible and too masculine for Easter.
18. You'll miss hearing her call you "Nic," "Nikki," or "Baby Girl" as if those were the names written on your birth certificate.
19. You'll miss her freakishly strong, long nails that, no matter how sick she got, no matter how much everything else on her body deteriorated, stayed weirdly in tact.
20. You'll miss seeing the bravery she pulled from god knows where when told, in so many words, "It's bad. It's really bad." And you'll miss her trying to make the conversation all about the banal things going on in your life while walking through the waiting room, in hopes that you didn't notice.
21. You'll miss her picking out a wedding venue that she'll only see once. And not when you got married.
22. You'll miss her criticizing you to your face, but bragging about you behind your back.
23. You'll miss hearing her describe an actor, like Hugh Jackman, as "handsome."
24. You'll miss her squinting her eyes and shaking her head back forth, trying to follow your and your sister's conversation when the two of you were talking really fast.
25. You'll miss getting to appreciate her a little more when something bad happens to someone else, not you.
26. You'll miss the insanely detailed pre-GPS driving directions she wrote out for you, explaining how to get to and from your college.
27. You'll miss her telling you that she's excited your hair won't be frizzy after you move to California, even though she's heartbroken over it.
28. You'll miss the little back and forths you'd have about parenting, because you know she'd do things differently than you.
29. You'll miss seeing her ever use an iPhone. The last thing she had was a flip-phone, which, for some reason, makes her passing seem even longer ago.
30. You'll miss being able to write the very last text message you ever wrote to her -- which was written exactly like this: (I love you.) -- to a number that's still in service.
Image via Stephen Matera/Aurora Open/Corbis