All of my life I've wished I looked like you, thinking someday my skin would mimic your perfectly sun-kissed olive complexion, hoping that my head could boast the darkest of Sicilian locks and that my demeanour might resemble your ever effervescent spirit. But sometimes genes aren't enough. Remember when you'd scold me for not cleaning my room and then the phone would ring and you'd answer in a most sing song, enlightened voice, "hello?" I used to hate that and I used to think it fake, but throughout the years I've realized it's you, wholly you, never wanting to impose upon others the strife you may be experiencing right then and there, and provide them with your undivided presence. You never want to burden innocent parties - compassion, that's what I take from you too. Like the house, when I was a newborn, and you'd lovingly smother me in a masked melancholy, wishing I could save you while you protected me? A guardian, I love that about you.
I love the way you giggle, especially when it follows one of my silly, opinionated soliloquies on life. I crave hearing your familiar voice at the other end of my faulty receiver. I love how you taught me that a simple smile can ease not only my day but that of a stranger's. Hence, to this day I take every opportunity to offer a simple glimmer of teeth to any unassuming passers by, with the hope that it effects their mood and maybe even their day, shifting weighty perceptions from majors to minors. It's you who taught me to appreciate the minutia of each monumental and often somber day.
Every time I sit in a car, be it behind the wheel or as a passenger, it's "seat belt city!" I hear ringing in my ears. Each night before bed, I brush my teeth, wash my face and apply a thin coat of Retin-A, knowing never to let it creep too close towards the corners of my eyes and to be diligent about not letting it's skin clearing properties singe the soft corners of my broad nose. And any time I gaze at my reflection with notably sad eyes, I remember that you are the number one fan of these almond shaped blue units that cry too often and see things in such awkward angles.
Thank you Mom, for everything you've given me. Like life (!), like the slightly skewed vision of my surroundings, like the pear shaped figure I'm learning to embrace with each pair of pants that don't quite fit. Thank you for supporting me in the studies and degree I earned, all the while knowing that I may never use them to garner a paycheck. Still manging to trust that the life experiences, the literature and art would enrich my life on a level unparalleled to academia. You've always know when to give a little and a lot of love, and it means the world.
I apologize for the length of this post to anyone reading (maybe four souls), but to tell you of my Mom and her strengths and character and beauty would require me writing a novel. And while I'm working on it, Always and Sometimes Never (good title eh?!), it's simply too complex for one small blurb on my very petite blog. Nevertheless, I'll tell you that she alone is the best coach to have in your corner. She has never, ever lost nor questioned her faith in me, a whimsical, stubborn and unbelievably challenging daughter. It's hard to come from someone you hold in such high esteem. Too often I compare myself to this fine specimen of a woman and then lose steam, wondering if I'll ever be the mother she was to me, if a great man will ever hold me in his eyes as my Dad did her, a truly captivating, hold-the-phone beauty. I wonder if I'll make her proud and wonder if I'll ever be able to thank her for being the best role model a girl could find? I certainly hope Mom, that like you, I can continue to branch out and reinterpret the roads I will inevitably travel.
Happy Birthday Mom! (Yours is mine in a way? so thanks lots!) I love you endlessly and guarantee that if I pass sixty and look like you, it will be tattooed in tally marks across my forehead. Here's to you Pamela. A+ work!
Love you eternally.