My Mother, My Rock

Beautiful mature woman in casual clothes is sitting sadly on the floor while packing her stuff into the boxes moving to the new apartment

It’s one of the paramount fears of childhood that we will lose our parents one day.

If you don’t believe me, just watch Bambi again. Heck, watch any of the Disney movies. It’s not just wide-eyed forest creatures wandering aimlessly about the meadow motherless… all of those Disney Princesses’ mothers are conspicuously absent.

Thanks Walt. It’s small wonder children are petrified that their mothers will pass away, leaving them to face the world alone.

But it wasn’t limited to The Wonderful World of Disney. What about all those Shirley Temple movies we were weaned on? Or Little Orphan Annie? Or Oliver? They made it perfectly clear that the world is a harsh place for the motherless. It’s actually a wonder that “orphans” get out of bed in the morning.

But we do. Mostly because we have kids of our own. Some of us even have grandkids. Besides, we knew all of our lives that our parents would more than likely pre-decease us. So we were prepared for this eventuality and all that it entailed, right?


Yesterday was the day my siblings and I converged upon our mother’s empty home to perform the final clean-out, as we close with the new buyers in a week or so.

I was extremely worried over how my sister would handle this entire undertaking. I didn’t think she would deal with the process very well. After all, she was the “in town” kid that practically lived with Mom – caring for her these last few years.

Here are a few supplies we found essential:

U-haul trailer
Hefty bags
Boxes, tape, styrofoam  packing peanuts
Big Girl Panties

We pulled into town a few hours before the moving company. We’d done some preliminary work a few weeks earlier, but I knew we still had a very long day ahead. My sister was waiting out in the front yard for us when we pulled into town. As I unbuckled my seatbelt, I sternly admonished my husband,

“Remember, SENSITIVITY IS THE KEY TODAY! This is going to be extremely hard for her. No matter how frustrated you get, I want you to be sweet!”

“When am I ever not sensitive and sweet?” he queried in utter sincerity.  I didn’t have time for this conversation, besides I needed his epic strength for the mission at hand (in more ways than one.)

We got straight to work. All business. Brisk and efficient. We emptied cupboards and packed boxes.

Meanwhile, the moving men were hard at work moving the big stuff. As the house emptied out, the walls started to produce an echo.  I thought I could hear the long-ago sounds of my children and my nieces and nephews chasing one another down the hallways when they were toddlers.

Eventually the men started making progress toward my mother’s bedroom. I blocked their way. They seemed like lovely gentlemen, but I didn’t want them in my mother’s closet. Mom was a fashion icon who adored her clothes. My sister and I needed to go through her closet ourselves.

Before I knew it, I had dissolved into a puddle on the closet floor. My sister cradled me for awhile. Then she slid Mom’s jade ring on my finger. She pinned a silk rose on her own shirt. She gave me some gloves and took a leopard hat. We each helped ourselves to a shiny sequined evening bag and then buried our faces in our mom’s monogrammed robe.

We boxed up the rest and beckoned the movers in.

A few hours later, I opened a kitchen drawer my mom called her “miscellaneous drawer.” Inside I found a pair of sunglasses, some paper clips, a picture of Mother Theresa, a refrigerator magnet that warned people not to “Mess With Texas” and a rock I had painted in the 5th grade.

Anyone could tell what an imaginative and creative spirit I’ve obviously been throughout my entire life- because on it I had simply painted the words, “Leslie’s Rock.” Purely Inspired. Artistic Genius. Still…I couldn’t believe my mom saved a rock for over 40 years. Had it been in this drawer all this time I wondered.

A friend recently told me to look for the signs that my mom is all around us. So was this my mom telling me to “Be a Rock” or to “Rock On?” Or, knowing my sassy mom, she was saying… “Can you believe how much I loved you that I kept this hideous rock all these years?”

Or… maybe in the words of singer-songwriter and 20th century philosopher, Paul Simon, she just loved me like a rock and that’s good enough for me.


Bio:  It all started one Christmas when they bought her an iPad… Everyone from Leslie’s husband of 33 years, to her 5 children squirm in discomfort as she taps away with her middle finger, using everyday family experiences as fodder for her blog, “A Ginger Snapped.”  They can routinely be heard complaining as she prattles and tattles on what they now commonly refer to as, “Pandora’s tablet!” 
 She has been featured in Your Teen Magazine, and on websites such as Blunt Moms, Scary Mommy, BonBon Break, Today’s Parent, BlogHer, and Faithit.   She has been interviewed on NPR and is also proud to be liberally splashed about The Huffington Post in the United States, France, Spain, Japan, Quebec and Germany, as she comes to realize this may be the only way she ever travels abroad.    More from Leslie at: Facebook:  Twitter: