What A Mother Leaves Behind


I used to secretly begrudge going somewhere on Mother’s Day, my day. Now that I have nowhere else to go but the cemetery, I’m jealous of those who do. The further I get away from the day my mom died, the longer it has been since we’ve talked. It makes me lonelier for her.

And it makes me feel every inch an adult. I always talked to my mom about big decisions and shared the little ones. Now that she’s gone, I don’t have my mommy to go to. I am THE mommy. 

I don’t remember much before the age of eight. Sure, I have faded memories of an orange and yellow dresser, of Holly Hobbit wallpaper, of riding my bike around our new subdivision. Glimpses of memories. Whether they come from photographs or stories told to me, I don’t know.

But I do remember the songs of my childhood. They’re imprinted on me.

You are my sunshine. My mom sang this to me. It’s always been our song. I’ve sung it to both my boys since birth. It’s the song that still makes my six-year-old pop his thumb in his mouth, and twirl his hair. It’s a song that hurts my heart just a little.

Every night we sing on my bed. The four of us. Sometimes a song from my childhood will come to me in bits, one that I have to share or lose it again for years.

When I was breastfeeding John, singing the Corner Master Store got me through the lonely middle of the night feeds. Although I’ve recently learned that my mom sang the Quarter Master Store, the premise of the song is the same.

A Mother's Musical Legacy

When I’m feeling sad about all that has been lost since my mom died, I find comfort that there are so many pieces of her deeply ingrained in our routines. Bits of her find their way into my life when I least expect it. I might not remember her singing these songs to me but my soul must. Now my boys are humming her songs, the songs of my childhood, and perhaps one day, their kids will know them too.


  • Fariha says:

    This is so beautifully written and I can fully relate Sara. It has been 11.5 years since I lost my mom and although she never met my kids, bits of her are embedded in everything I do as a mother. Happy Mother’s Day xo

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Fariha. I am so sorry we have this in common. Lots of love to you.