My mother was fortune

The goofy girl guffawing in the anchor t-shirt is yours truly. The fashionable woman to my right is my own lovely mother. 

My grandma had her birthday last week.

The lovely raven haired woman died when I was still in elementary school. Since then, she has lived on through stories, collected remembrances and vague impressions.

I can see the way her eyes crinkled when she smiled, hear the tread of her little sneakers, feel how her cool hand against my hot cheek.

It isn’t enough.

It is what I have.

On Saturday, my aunt Margi threw a birthday lunch for that woman that connects us all. All the women in the family were invited and many of us were able to make it. We sat under swaying trees and a sky made of the kind of blue you only see when looking back on a moment. Then after we had drunk peach lemonade and eaten salted tomatoes, we leaned back and talked about Margaret Conley.

I can’t collect every instance here. I can’t embody her spitfire, crazy, wisdom or hope in the words on this white screen. I can’t make you feel who she was. I can’t even make myself try.

So often, writing falls so short.

I can tell you that the miss never goes away. We will always need our mothers. When they are gone, we will always call out in the dark, expecting them to rush in, kiss our forehead and tell us everything will be okay. I can tell you, that through the laughter and tears, it felt like she was almost there. Like maybe we are all just a cold lunch on a hot day away from finding the people we have lost. I can tell you that a good woman is never truly gone. So many years after her death, the things she taught and the life she led bind us all together.

I think that must make her happy.

Years from now, when I have left the people I love, I will say a prayer. I will pray for a blue sky on warm day. A moment when my girls, my precious daughters I never meant to leave, can come together to be close to their mother that misses them so very much. If I am very blessed indeed, I will catch a glimpse of Zuzu’s hair as it tumbles down the small of her back or Viola’s smile as she gently teases.

And I know just what I will think,

It isn’t enough.

It is what I have.