(Mother’s Day, 2021)
Ever since Mom’s passing, whenever I find myself missing her, I walk my memory back to being nine years old and standing in our kitchen.
I was sad as hell.
The way you get when you’re nine and you have no one to play with on a school’s out, full summer sun, Mullen Street morning. The kind that, when you’re a kid, is just too good to let go to waste.
No Danny. No Jeff. No Jerry. No Amy. No Billy.
Not a single soul to pass ball with.
If you were nine in our neighborhood, this was a crime against humanity.
Standing in the kitchen, I made no secret of my discontent, moping around in all my misery.
Mom finally asked what was wrong, and I told her. She ran down the full roster of my friends. I shot down each one with a “Not home … not answering the phone … car’s not there ….”
Moved by equal parts not wanting to see me sad and finding me annoying AF, she disappeared into the dining room, opened the closet, and reappeared wearing a ball cap and holding Dad’s baseball glove.
“I’ll pass with you.”
This was not a solution to my problem.
For starters, she looked absurd.
This is the lamest idea ever, I remember thinking. I’d never seen Mom throw anything other than fits at my Dad.
That’s all right, I said.
“Come on, let’s go,” she persisted, popping the ball from her right hand into her gloved left.
No, really, I deflected.
This went on for a good couple minutes.
In recorded history, though, no one ever won a test of will against Maggie Riddell.
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