I uploaded a photo of Mom with Dad, young newlyweds, pre- kids. In it, they look as if they do not have a care in the world. Then I recalled the message a dear friend emailed me just yesterday. Tagged flowers , the text read: Had a flashback to your mom today. On our way to Auburn, we saw a lawn with almost no green – it was all those “pretty yellow flowers.”
My friend and his wife live hundreds of miles away from me now. But they had read my memoir last fall and just yesterday they found themselves remembering a story about my mother. I’m sure they were grinning ear-to-ear too.
The story recalls when I was eleven years old and my family uprooted from Brooklyn, NY to northern Connecticut. Mom, experiencing her first burst of spring in New England, went to the local nursery seeking seeds for “those pretty yellow flowers on everybody’s lawn.” Dandelions.
You’re grinning now. Right?
That's just the tip of Mom’s deep-rooted dandelion tale in the memoir, a tale that digs through generations of her Italian background. Writing the memoir led me to discover the layers of that story. My friend’s email reminded me of the power of memoir, writing immersed in memory. “Full of Grace,” the piece about Mom in Staying Alive: A Love Story had not only made Mom present in my life again, it was making her present in others’ lives too, as spontaneously as on a ride through a suburban neighborhood. This unplanned series of events then made me more glad than sad– for the first time in three years – on Mother’s Day. Ready to celebrate it with my own children.