My Mom reminds me of the smell of coffee, coffee-mate and sweet n’ low with a little vanilla mixed in from the scent of her skin which has lingered there since my childhood. Sometimes when I would miss her I could open a bottle of Vanilla Extract and remember moments when she’d tell me stories about how it attracted bees.
She has a million expressions, some we’ve yet to decipher. Her eyes say more than all the words that could pass between. Like most women her age, she is able to keep her emotions secret and only the slight rise or fall in inflection could give away a sign of weakness or your proximity to trouble. I admire her for this. She was never stubborn as she likes to say she is, it is more a caution towards the sensitivities of the world around her. I can only imagine the world she arose from, like a phoenix from the ashes of her past life, she lived when it seemed at times impossible and that strength – so humbled – was deserving of the ability to attain a masterfulness of herself.
My Mother’s hands are rough, not the smooth lithe fingers of most Mothers. They are calloused and beaten from years of constant work, a testament to a determined (once) single mother of five. Cut, burned, swollen and beaten down and yet she always wore her nail polish perfectly. Behind the welding masks, the power presses and tools, my Mom was always a lady. An elegant woman despite the ripples of muscles down her back; her toolbox painted pink.
I didn’t know my Mom really well when I was young, her visage being smothered by my teenage rebellion and angst against my life and choices I made. I knew her when I became a Mother myself and in the times that I realized I needed her the most. She held my hand through my first child and waited with strong tears for my second. She took me shopping for my Prom and for my Wedding day. Through all my random phone calls, tears on my oldest child’s 13th birthday and was through the years my best friend; sometimes the only real friend I ever had.
Today is her Birthday. I’m not quite sure how old she is as sometimes we get that all mixed up, but as I grow older I understand that no matter how old you get you are still that person inside of you. So I know that although she may be gaining in her senior status, she is still that girl that loved to dance on the weekends and who defines herself as a diamond. Not one that you can purchase at any jewelry shop, but one that had arisen from the confines of the earth by the volcanic eruption of time. One that deserves uniqueness.
Happy Birthday Mom, thank you for all that you have done for me in my life. I watch little Gabby spring up from the darkened roots as you had once and watch her blossom into the deep red roses that you love and I am ever so thankful of you. Thankful for the opportunity to have been your friend and not only your daughter and thankful to be kept always – always – in the hollow of your hand.