Saturday, May 12, 2012
Three Mom Memories for Mother's Day
I am fourteen. My father and I wait for mom to come downstairs. She's getting ready for dinner. We are going out, headed to pick up the grandmoms for a Sunday dinner at Top of the 80's. Everything is quiet, except for the water wooshing from the sink where dad fills a glass. Our kitchen table is blessed with sign that reads "VIRTUE" right above it. Just a reminder. The dogwood blooms outside the window. Dad swigs his water. I stand in the corner of the counter between the sink and the stove, with my arms crossed. I'm not a sullen teen, but I am a quiet one. Dad breaks the silence by placing his water glass back into the sink.
You know, you and your sister are really lucky to have your mother. Really lucky. He pauses, thinks. You have no idea how lucky you are to have your mother. No idea.
I look down. I know he's right, sure, but I can't admit it. If I admit to knowing I am lucky, I am going to owe her something big, and I am not in the mood for owing anyone anything. She is going to come downstairs wearing that shirtwaist dress she always wears.
I don't say anything for awhile. He looks back out the window, runs the water one more time to rinse out his glass and put it in the dishwasher.
You have no idea how lucky, he repeats.
I unfold my arms.
I know, I say. I know.
My mother stands at the kitchen sink. She is looking out at the dogwood tree, or maybe out beyond it. The sun hits her face, highlights some freckles, the shine on her nose, reveals the lighter downy hairs at the base of her neck. Her profile is lovely, I think. My mother is beautiful. It's the first time I see her the way my father might have. My mother.
We sit out on the side porch with the new baby. She's in a red romper, and is still too little to hold her head up by herself, but we prop her up and take photos. It's sunny. It's spring. You're Nana now, Mom. She grins.
I'm lucky. I know it. I'm lucky.