I didn't buy you a Mother's Day card again this year. Twelve years and I still teared up at Wal-Mart when I passed the "mother's day for grandma" cards.
This morning I smiled when I thought how you would be really excited about my flowers. This is just the right week for a visit to my garden. I trimmed all the dead daffodils, so everything out there is looking right on the verge of an lively explosion. The peonies have buds, the allium is open... there's just green everywhere. I think it would make you happy. I don't remember if you had a lot of flowers... I just remember how green your yard was. I remember riding Big Wheels down your hill, rolling down your hill, and I remember the stepping stones out your back door... grey against bright green grass.
I drove by your house a few years ago and sat in front of it like a person in a movie, waiting for you to open the front door and wave me inside. You didn't, though.
You would love to watch my kids. My boys are way too loud, and I know you'd tell me that--but then you'd smile and tell me a story about something out-of-control I did at their age. (There are a lot of those stories.) Their pictures would be everywhere in your home--school pictures, pictures they drew, pictures of my mom (your baby!) holding her grandkids, pictures of the kids all together at holidays. There would be pictures of you at everything my boys do--I know you would show up to school presentations, grandparents' day, church stuff. You'd just be there.
I think you'd like my new kitchen. I remember when you redid yours--from green and yellow into pink and blue. So chic! Mine is gray. You'd be excited because you love new things. Pretty things. You'd open my cabinets and comment on where the tupperware would be easiest to reach. Your feet would slide just a little on the floor when you walked.
You'd be really good at using your cell phone, I know it. I think you would text, but you'd complain that everything was too small. You are still the only senior I can think of who loved technology. Would you still be making a monthly newsletter for your Twalker friends? Maybe you'd be using Pop-Pop's pictures but if you were here he'd use a digital camera.
Wow, we never went to Target together. Lancaster didn't even have a Target then. How could we have never gone to Target together? You would love Target.
You'd be at the mall a lot. You do love the mall. Park City looks really different, but you'd like it. And you'd buy us a pretzel when we--no wait, scratch that, you'd tell Pop-Pop to buy us a pretzel while you showed us something pretty you bought (but you saved the receipt because you might return it) and ask what I bought and introduce the kids to the people you were with because you know everyone in the center court, and maybe I'd get introduced just once more as "the one you wanted to be a boy."
I think of you when I make cookies. With butternilk. Yes, I still use the recipe with the typo. Butternilk cookies.
Almost thirteen years since I've seen you... how is that possible? How have you never met my children? How have you never seen my house? How are all these things true and real when you are not a part of them? It's so weird to have you there for everything and then you're gone.
I have your canning jars upstairs, and when I use them I cry. I don't cry because I'm sad. I know you're happy! So happy! I cry for myself because I miss you and I cry for my mom because she doesn't have her mom and I cry for my kids because they've only seen your picture and never got a hug from you and never smelled your shirt and never heard your laugh and that's sad. Because your laugh was awesome.
I will forever have the "Hello-Kelley" way you greeted me on the phone. I will forever remember weird things you said to me that hurt my feelings--not because you were insensitive or cruel but because you were human and so much like me. I hope I'm like you, at least. Your funny words are a reminder to me that words matter. Because I'm full of words! I know I used to drive you bananas--you told me right to my face once, in fact.
Boy did you SHOW UP for things. Every picture of you is at something--graduation, plays, concerts, games--you showed up. A presence at everything. Hopefully, I pray, never taken for granted.
I miss you so much. Happy Mother's Day.