mom would have been 62 today.
she was 60 when she died. so were her two aunts when they died; her brother was 48. all brain aneurysms. all sudden, no forewarning.
sometimes when i think about it, it’s like she was the hour glass tipped in the top of the witch’s tower. no matter what she did – no matter how hard she worked, how much energy and love she poured into her family, how she gave and gave and never asked for anything in return – the sand still trickled to the bottom half. a steady stream that no one, no ruby slippers, no hot air balloon could stifle.
and when the last grain of sand dropped to the bottom, her time was up. and with that, i lost my mother.
she was damn hard to buy gifts for. always told me to save my money, not get her anything. she was as low-maintenance as a human being could be, preferring to spend her money on me, my father, other family members. she did love to burn scented candles, though, and loved any fragrance you brought around. and she loved the scent of clinique Happy. so it seemed that every birthday, mother’s day, and christmas, i found myself giving her a bottle of clinique Happy and the biggest, most pungent scented candles i could get my hands on.
my mom loved peeps. she liked them a little stale, so she would buy them and leave the package open for a day or two before she ate them. i’ve never been a huge fan of them, personally, but as soon as the valentine’s day candy cleared the shelves and the pastel-toned easter treats started to appear, we would have a steady stash of mildly stale sugar-coated marshmallow chicks and bunnies in the house.
the past two years, when i’ve walked into kroger for the first time after the easter candy display has gone up, i’ve found myself drawn to those little boxes, found myself staring at the rows of puffy purple and pink and yellow confections, all staring back at me with their little brown sugar eyes. last year, i actually burst out crying and had to leave, dropping my bread and cereal and bananas right there between the chocolate rabbits and the reese’s peanut butter eggs and half-running to the solitude of my car.
this year, my breath caught in my throat and my heart skipped a beat or two, but i redirected my eyes and walked past the easter aisle, with its plastic eggs and fake grass and battalion of peeps, without another moment’s pause.
there’s a fine line between feeling and hurting. i teeter on it every day.
but today i didn’t want to be sad. i went to walgreen’s and bought mousse for my hair, now that it’s getting long enough to let it wave naturally again. it’s tresemme, the kind you used to get that i would then use when my hair first got wavy my senior year of high school and i didn’t know what to do with it. i played with the cats and i thought about roxy, how you put her on the phone that time i called from college and you and dad had gotten her without telling me.
the back of your ring is getting scratched from all of the dumbbells and barbells, but the diamond is still breathtaking. i hope you see me wearing it, and i hope you like it.
and i hope you’re having peeps on your birthday up in heaven.