Every time I see a senior woman wrapped up in a coat two times too big with a mismatched scarf tied under her chin I think of my mom. Along with purple polyester pants, SAS shoes and a glue gun.

Memories of mom seem to be everywhere, and although it’s been 17 years since her passing, I still wish for another day to discuss the latest craft project or her soap operas.

I’m thankful she could play an important role in my daughters’ lives as they were growing up – always there to provide as much sugar as a kid could eat and unconditional love. We’d spend every Saturday with her until the kids’ schedule became too busy and eventually, instead of all day, it was reduced to a couple hours. She never complained and would take any amount of time we gave her.

I miss my mom. I miss being irritated when she’d call when I thought I was too busy to talk, just to tell me about something I had no interest in knowing. I miss hearing her complain about dad’s forgetfulness, and I miss knowing even if she didn’t know the answers to my problems, she’d listen. Not so much with words but by always looking forward, leaving the past behind and just giving me her undivided attention anytime I needed it.

The first two weeks of February bring her birthday as well as the day she passed, with just four days in between, and even though it’s been so many years, she’s still heavy on mind during this time. I’ve been looking through mom’s recipe books and remember thinking how goofy I thought it was she’d write on the page of each recipe, whether it was good or bad, needed more salt or less water. But now as I read her notes and try the recipe myself, I think of her. Actually I just like to look at her handwriting.

I’m reminded of her daily, the way she talked, her quirky ways. I’m reminded of her every time I look in the mirror. In her own way she prepared me for this stage of my life by being steady and strong no matter what was happening around her. She didn’t display her affection with hugs and kisses, but there was never any doubt of her love, as she would gladly give her time whenever asked.

I look at my lists plastered all over my desk and computer and think of her and the times I’d make fun of her to-do lists. They say you become your parents. I now know how much that is true, and I’m glad for it.

As I watch my daughters with their children, I realize how I need to slowly pass the torch to them. This year brings my 60th birthday, and I’m working toward letting go of having to always be in charge of family functions – well, except for major holidays and birthdays.

Maybe I’ll just pass on a spark and wait for the passing of the torch when I’m 70. I’m hoping to be able to irritate my sons-in-law for at least another decade or two.

I’m stocking up on sugary snacks for the grandkids’ overnight stay next weekend. Like mother, like daughter.  

Sandy Turner lives in Independence, Missouri. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com