You didn’t like to make a big deal about your birthday. Looking back now, I realize that’s only because you never made things much about yourself in the first place.
I’ve needed to look into your eyes a lot of times lately. Looking there always kept me honest. Your eyes were soft and they cradled me. You wept behind your glasses as you’d take in my words.
We’d sit for hours around that table; you’d fidget with your leftover lunch napkin, rolling and twirling it through your hands. But you’d never take your eyes off me. Sometimes you’d close them, but I know now you were only trying to take my pain away.
There’s a picture of you in our house that I tend to go to when I need you. You were young, holding a guitar, in the middle of a field. And you almost smiled. You didn’t like to smile for pictures, and you didn’t play the guitar as far as I know. That’s what makes this picture so amazing. Someone captured you out of your comfort zone, a place you didn’t go often.
But that picture, it saves me. Something about it allows me to connect with you unlike the others. To have known you at such a young age in your life, at a time when you were so wild and free and innocent. I imagine what you did on the day you took this picture. Who was behind the camera? And what you did after you posed for this one photo?
You were the safest space I ever knew. I’d give anything to be around that table with you again and to share just one more tomato sandwich, one more bowl of vegetable soup, play one more hand of Uno, wrap one more Christmas present, send one more sympathy card, or hold your precious hands just once more.
You saved me. And you still do.
I’m so grateful you got a wild hair that day and decided to pose for this picture, and I’m so glad you were born. I’m sending you the biggest “wowee” kiss in heaven today and appreciate you staying with me over the years. I feel you here, and I like it.
Happy birthday, Mama Dot. I love you a bushel and a peck.