Tuesday, November 8, 2011

With Love From Eleanor

One of my first memories of you, my Mama, is riding on a horse with you. The feel of you so close to me, the nervousness and the hard saddle. When I have ridden with Alli, with Jack, I very nearly cried, thinking of my time in a saddle with you. It's the circle thing that's crazy and lucky about Mamas and their babies, that I have been given these gifts, these memories, to keep in my heart, hiding, until they resurface in interactions with my own kids. I think of you so often, in both the present and past tense. It's because I love you and you are always by my side, no matter the miles.

I think about how grownup I felt, sitting on your bed and grading papers with you. Me! Little me! Grading high school papers. About once a week, when harassing the kids into cleaning with me, I remember the game we used to play where we had to clean well enough to impress the Queen. You would help, falsely frantic, in your best Mammy voice, hair up in a handkerchief. At least once you even had a white glove! A white glove!!!

When tending to a sick kid, I am taken back to being taken care of by you. You would slowly tuck my hair behind my ear, stroking the hair back so slowly, singing My Old Kentucky Home until I fell asleep; head on a towel covered pillow. Do you know? I still cover my pillow with a towel when I am sick. It makes me feel so comforted. Like you are right there by me.

I remember when you guys dropped me off at college. How sad and scared and excited I was. And that you cried when you drove away like I cried, standing there. I think it was the first time that I really realized how much I needed my Mama. Not in a small child's way of needing, but in a friend for life, loving you no matter what. No.Matter.What. Kind of way.

I didn't really understand that kind of love until I had children of my own. And now I see you everyday in the way I love these kids, the way I parent, the things I say and do. Everyday I feel you, hear you, can almost reach out and touch you. But I can't most days so I call. I call because I am fortunate enough to think of you each time anything happens, good or bad. Because you are one of my very best friends. I love you Mama. Always.  

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