Sunday is Mother’s Day.
As a Mother Lover I reprise versions of this same column yearly.
My fuzzy head makes it seem like the only way I can bring her back to me.
I was nothing.
I reached age 2 when Mom divorced my dentist father.
She disliked everything about him including his teeth.
And we came from no money.
Grandparents emigrated from Russia.
Here on the Lower East Side, Grandma cleaned stoops and took in boarders.
Grandpa, a bad tailor, never made a cent.
En route to the New World my mother was born in England.
Each generation improved.
She became an executive secretary.
She later remarried.
An insurance man.
He became my real father and we all loved one another.
I was 14 — bad hair, bad skin, chubby, anemic — when she organized the only time ever to meet my real father.
Never contributing $5 to my upkeep, he had zero interest in me.
If possible, even that shrunk when he saw me.
Everything I had, all I had, was my mother.
I needed doctors, medication, nursing, absence from school — my mother was there.
Career, no career, work, no work — Jessica, my mother, was always there for me.
Now, a lifetime later, the name of each of my pets always begins with J.
Mama bear’d it all for me
Mom began improving me.
I was 15.
Fixed my nose.
Put me on a diet.
Improved my skin.
Redid my hairline.
Fed my anemia Feosol tablets, which, now, I still take.
Bought my first party dress.
The hem a fake fur shred.
Grandma, who didn’t know from fancy, washed it.
I cried for a month.
Mom sent me to speech and acting school.
I learned to walk, talk, speak.
That was then.
This is now.
For years she lay unspeaking, unfocused in a hospital bed inside the country home I provided for her.
She didn’t know who I was.
But I knew who she was.
I knew somewhere inside that shell was the stunning, bright, sassy, verbal, vibrant, witty, dynamic, fun-loving killer lady who’d been my all — the core of my being.
I wanted to — but couldn’t — crawl into that bed with her.
That bed with the iron prison bars.
I could only stroke that small head.
I put a little stuffed teddy bear in her curled hand so she’d touch something soft.
X’s and O’s
I remember that gorgeous head when it was full of information.
When it was big and strong and knowledgeable.
When it featured that powerful mane of thick red hair.
It seemed tiny now.
The hair white.
Inside was lost the ability to know my name.
Even to know who I was.
I’d give up everything now to give her a gentle, easy, slow-moving hug.
One that wouldn’t frighten her.
Or be returned.
Or even understood.
I’ve said before.
I say again each Mother’s Day.
For whatever or however, there sometimes exist wide gaps between many a mother and child.
Who knows the reasons.
Not for me to sit in judgment.
As I write this my words are flooded with tears.
It’s just that — if it’s within your soul — call.
Tell your mother you love her.
I wish I could.
I can’t anymore.
While I usually end columns with “Only in New York, kids, only in New York” — this one is for everyone everywhere.
Thanks for reading it.
This story originally appeared on NYPost