When I was a teenager, the month of May came with ripe red strawberries. By the time school got out, the crop was thin, and many shriveled. But those who remained burst with sugary juice that had been long-fermented by the sun. My mom, sisters, and whatever tag-along friends were available would pile into the car and head to the patch where we’d collect buckets and buckets of fruit to herald summertime.
After we arrived home I stood as a bystander as my sister and mom crafted a luscious strawberry lemonade cake. I was ready for any spoons, bowls, or mixers that needed licking, and berry after berry kept my mouth occupied in the meantime. The hot Georgia sunshine permeated through the windowpane and I basked in the bliss.
So many cherished moments would not have been possible without my mom. She turns 50 this month, and with each passing day, I crave more time with her. Like 58 percent of people living in Colorado, I was not born in the state. Like 58 percent of people in Colorado, I’ve left loved ones scattered across state lines. Due to distance or loss, many daughters aren’t with their moms (and vice versa) during this month devoted to motherhood. My mom recognized something that I, full of naivety and excitement, didn’t when I came to Colorado fresh out of college: when you move, you put down roots. It’s how humans are wired. We find a living situation, make friends, get jobs, and discover new loves in a new place (and let’s be honest… there’s so much to love about Parker.) As our roots dig deeper into the soil, our branches do the opposite. They extend outward, feeling for the ones we love in the same way a tree grows toward water.
For mothers and daughters, the umbilical cord never really goes away. I’m still nourished by my mom’s love as if an invisible string ties us to one another, strengthening with time. As we get older, we recognize all of the similarities we share with our parents—for better and for worse. It makes the relationships feel more connected. More sacred.
For everyone missing your mother figures this month, you’re not alone. Their memories live brightly and, like strawberries in late May, grow sweeter—even if it means the moments are more sparse—with time.