Wednesday, November 9, 2011

With Love From Sarah

It seems the most important things in my entire young life were the little moments with you, Mama, so hard to put into words. Filling in the little numbers in your grade book. Feeling a cool wash cloth on my sick forehead. The afternoons walking to the high school after class, my little heart filling with excitement to see you in your classroom, the teacher to all of these grown-up kids. So smart, so perfect. Sitting in the big book closet, smelling the books and thinking about how much you knew, how much you had to share, all held in the smell of pages and pages of knowledge.
I remember the big things too. How closely you held me as you let me go off into the scary world of the Air Force. How scared I knew you were, but how bravely you took care of me. Eating in that terrible little diner at the hotel. Just being my friend. I always felt your pride in me and your love, even when I was laying on your couch for days on end, no idea what was to come next for me, no idea where to begin. A grown girl with no direction and no clear way out. I felt your pride in me when you told me that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as it didn't involve any further lazing about, as long as it involved forward motion. It was all that I needed, and as always you knew that.

Now my memories of you come in waves every day. In the jokes I tell my own little girls, in the silly games we play, and in the adventure I am continually telling them to find in their own backyard. Ever since Tess was a tiny baby I have sung to her at night. My Old Kentucky Home. I've never made it all the way through without crying, not once in the hundreds of nights singing that song have I kept my voice at the end. It always cracks with the memory of you, the missing of you, and the profound love I now understand- passed down through me to your grandchildren. I miss you every day, and the days that go by without my saying it are only self preservation on my part. Sometimes it's too hard to say. I miss you and I love you, Mama. Always and in every way. On my loneliest days I am always with you in my mind, curled up in that big chair we used to have, right on your lap, all overflowing and grown, but still your baby.

I love you more than every grain of sand on every beach, more than every drop of water in every ocean, and more than every star in the sky. My mama. Happy Birthday.

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