The Comfort of Her Arms

Don’t you think American Impressionist Mary Cassatt captured the trusting tenderness between mother and daughter?

My mother’s robe hangs in the back of my cedar closet, where it’s been since she died 10 years ago.  Tonight I choose to wear it.

First I light all the candles in the bathroom.  Fill the tub with hot water and fragrant bubbling foam.  Then I lie in the steam and the warmth, gazing at that perfect robe hanging on the closed door.

This silken wonder was a gift from my father, and showed a rare flash of gift-giving insight.

 

Her first comment after opening the package was, “I can’t wear this.  It’s too expensive.  This is too extravagant.”

It was.  That was the point.  She deserved a bit of indulgence, but never
would have done it for herself.

The creamy fabric is quilted with delicate silk roses.  Its two layers  provided warmth for her aging body.  Satiny ruffles cascade from the neck all the way down the front on both sides, down to the floor.  They framed her face so beautifully.

As much as she protested, my mother loved that robe.  Petite, graceful woman that she was, the robe suited her perfectly.

I get out of the tub, dry myself and crush the robe up to my face.  I can still smell her body, the talcum powder with which she always dusted herself.  This scent was part of healing every childhood wound.  Every skinned knee, every young disappointment, even broken bones, were all made better in her arms where I’d be enveloped by the essence of motherly love and this scent.

That’s what I’m seeking tonight; my mother’s warm embrace.  I slip one arm, then the other, into the robe.  Already I feel her closeness.  I knot the internal cord of the robe, then wrap the outer satin tie around my waist and carefully construct a perfect bow.

I glance at myself in the mirror.  I look perfectly ridiculous.

I towered over my mother by five inches.  Where she was a rounded flower, I’m narrow and long.  She was a princess in this robe.  I’m a gawky, angular mess.  The creaminess of the color that lent a glow to her complexion drains mine to a sallow hue.

Never mind.  That’s not why I have it on.  No one’s around to see.

My mother loved my ex-husband.  On her death bed, she told me she could die in comfort, knowing that I was in Alan’s tender care.

Many times I’ve thought how glad I am she was saved from the pain of his betrayal.  Other times, I’ve longed to crawl into her arms and be solaced by her kisses.

Tonight I abandon myself to the comfort of her arms by wearing this robe that is the essence of her.

 

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “The Comfort of Her Arms

  1. Only a brave woman could write so vulnerably. This is touching and empowering, and it’s a side of Georgia I haven’t seen in earlier entries. I hope we’ll see it again.

  2. Georgia, this is the best story you have written. I read it on the anniversary of a good friend’s birthday. She died 12 years ago. I have a piece of her clothing that I wear occasionally. It is too big for me but that is not the point.

    Your longing for your mother’s comfort is universally felt, whether the mother died young or lived well into old age.

  3. We are not a “touchy-feely” culture, we Japanese, and perhaps for that very reason, this story has brought tears to my eyes. A loving embrace can take many different forms, some without any touch at all.

  4. OMG can you reduce a grown man to tears. Such a strong and tender reflection. Thanks a many..
    P.S. I think I have a friend who is going to subscribe. Please look for MR

  5. Georgia,

    I took up your recommendation and went back to read the comments. I just wanted to let you know that I loved this story. You are so lucky to have had a Mother that obviously loved you without limit and gave you memories to last a lifetime. I am looking forward to reading your diary throughout 2012.

    Happy New Year

    Cynthia

  6. Me again. Forgot to ask, if I tick off the “notify me of follow-up comments” do I get alerted to any comment on any story or do I need to tick that box off for each story?

    Tx,

    Cynthia

    • Hi Cynthia: Thank you for visiting and for joining in by leaving a thoughtful comment. You do have to tick the “notify me of follow-up comments” each time you leave a comment. I look forward to hearing more from you.

Leave a Reply to Julie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *