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Sunday, May 9, 2010


You can't miss something that you don't remember having. I still refer to my phantom mother as mommy. That's what we called her when she was alive and how we remembered her long after she died.  I was 4 years old. They told me God needed angels.

Mothers are our storytellers.  They're the keepers of the secrets and the memories.  Mothers are the ones who remember how cute we were and the funny things we did.  They reinforce our lives with their memories of us.  Their memories become our memories.  Even if some truths are stretched, tweaked, or embellished, they become real over time.

That's what I miss.  Have missed. Will continue miss. My story. Even all of my surrogate mothers and replacement mommies throughout the years have taken their memories with them.

I've been told that my mother wanted to have a lot of children because she loved babies. Never happened. Until me. They tell me I was her entire world and that she loved me endlessly. I look like her. I can see her in me. I've been told that she fought a brave fight and didn't want to leave. God needed angels. I needed her. God won. I'm thankful that she loved me. I'm thankful for those who knew her.  Their storytelling became her storytelling.  I have memories of memories.

I no longer dream that I'll bump into her at a 7-Eleven or a random grocery store. Those were dreams of childhood desperation.  I know she is buried with my father at Arlington National Cemetery.  When I quietly stand over their combined grave and touch the grass, I feel her.

Occasionally, I'll rifle through her beaten up jewelry box filled with her picked over left-to-me  pretty stuff.  Her rhinestones, faux pearls, bowling pins, broken charm bracelet add-ons, and clip-on earrings are tangible tokens I can touch.

When Michael and I got married last year, we arranged to have her white alabaster rose earrings along with snippets of his mother's wedding veil interwoven into our beautifully crafted white rosebud boutineers. We wore their stories.

I'm thankful for my mothers. For all mothers.
They hold the secrets.

The storytellers.  The gate keepers.
Hold them close.

Happy Mother's Day.

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