I am my mother’s daughter. I have her feet. They are a little long and skinny with the potential for bone spurs. Sometimes they ache after a long day of work. She never wore nail polish on her toes. I do. When it’s not there I don’t see my feet anymore. I see hers. Cracked skin in places and bones sticking out here and there. Even my body is shaped like hers. Our breasts are too big for our small frames. Our fair skin freckles in the sun and we have skinny little wrists that can’t hold a bracelet. I keep my extra weight in my belly, too, same as my mom. Hers has scars from bringing children into the world, first me, then my siblings.
I have her spirit, too. It resides in me as part of my DNA. Little clicks of proteins sticking together in just the right way like a plastic building block in a child’s playroom. She gave me my name then she taught me who I was in her eyes. I was her baby girl and there was nothing in the world that could ever take that away from either of us. She was the first person to love me. When I got older and she told me she loved me with her whole heart I never doubted it. When my baby brother came into the world I worried that there wouldn't be enough love to go around. How silly. The bigger the need for love, the more love grows. I know that now.
Her wit was a force to be reckoned, let me tell you! She could make you laugh so hard your eyeballs bulged. Just hearing her unique laughter could send you spiraling toward a giggle fit. No one gets away with anything, no sir. She never missed a beat. If you zigged she would zag and unless you were sly enough to catch the twinkle in her bright blue eyes, you’d never know what was coming. She was loyal, too. She possessed a fierce, unbidden and non-negotiable loyalty. If you were part of her tribe by DNA or choice, you became a member for life. This is to say nothing of her unwavering acceptance and unconditional love for every person she ever met. If you were lucky enough to cross paths with my Mother, your life was forever changed. For one sparkling moment in time another human saw you, really saw you, and loved you anyway. That’s how it was to meet my mom.
I miss her so much. She is still here, in this world if not of it, but she doesn't want to be. She tries to kill herself a lot. She would deny this, but it’s true. I wish she would come back to the love and acceptance that she taught me. I wish she could see her own value. I wish she knew how wonderful she still is, no matter what choices she made in the past. It is true that love has the power to heal, but sometimes that love must come from with-in. I can give her my unconditional love. I can tell her over and over again that she is worthy and deserving of love. I can clean up her messes and keep her alive, until I can’t anymore. There is always the chance that she is hearing me and one day she will wake up from this coma-like existence of her own creation and know that she is and always will be good enough. This is hope. I can’t have enough for both of us, but I have enough for me.