Note to readers: I first posted this on Mother’s Day in 2013. This is now my third Mother’s Day without Mama, and I just wanted to share this post again.
When I was younger and people told me I looked just like my mom, I’d smile and thank them, but often would catch myself cringing. I mean, really, when you’re young, who wants to look like one of their parents?
Now I realize that she could be green with orange polka dots and a hot pink mohawk, and she’d still be beautiful.
It’s in her pale green eyes that look at my brothers and me with love no matter how stupid we may act sometimes (OK, most of the time), and that sometimes fill with tears when she thinks no one’s looking.
It’s in the hair that once upon a time was blond, then darkened to light brown, turning salt-and-pepper like her mom’s hair beginning before her 30s, and finally white once the side effects from the Votrient she takes for renal cancer took hold (though there have been a few threats to dye it purple, her favorite color).
It’s in the goofy grin, sweet smile and deep and/or wheezing laugh she lets run free when one of the storytellers in the family tells an especially good one, or her grandkitty has just made a Galloping Goofball pass and is heading back for another.
It’s in the hands and the arms that hold and comfort me when I’m feeling depressed or otherwise craptastic, while waving me off when I want to take care of her.
It’s in the sense of family everyone feels around her, related or not.
While I could never be the extrovert she is, I still admire the ease she has around people she just met as well as those she’s known all her life.
It’s how she taught me that outside differences don’t matter, that it’s what’s inside that makes a person worth knowing (or not). How she instilled in me a rabid curiosity for everything and a love for books, movies, music and life in general.
How family should always be there for each other, whether physically, spiritually or emotionally, no matter how crazy we drive each other.
It’s in her insistence on letting the inner child run free every once in a while for your mental health, because watching Beauty and the Beast (and singing along) is great therapy.
It’s in knowing that no matter how down on myself I may get, she’s there for me and still thinks I’m delightful (because she is, and I’m just like her, complete with the Arp ass and duck feet, and still completely adorable).
Now when people look at the picture of her in my office and say I look like her, I thank them and feel proud for being even a tiny bit like her.
I love you, Mama.