Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How do I start off a letter to someone that I've missed everyday for nearly eight years? To someone who won't ever even read the letter? To someone who took a little piece of my heart, a fraction that I'll never get back?

Hi, mama.

Happy Birthday.

Wow, you'd be 50! That's half a century. I'm sad you never got there, but I'm determined not to make this about what you didn't accomplish. After all, 42 is quite the accomplishment. Not at all what we strive for, but a milestone we'd all like to reach. Lasting 42 years in this tumultuous world is a lovely achievement. See, mom? I've accepted it. I can joke about it. You instilled in me the traits it would take to be able to do so.

I'm a lot different than I am last time you saw me. I imagine that just as you are frozen in my mind as a beautiful, wise lady with crow's feet and laugh lines and a youthful shine in her eyes, I am frozen to you as an eleven year old little girl with frizzy curls, thick glasses, and buck teeth. (C'mon, mom. You can admit that I wasn't the most blessed child). But, I can look back and see what you saw in me- those characteristics of the fighter I would be, those things that came from you. You saw the girl who could chatter all day long, making friends as she went. The one who couldn't dance or sing but did both everyday anyway. The persistence, the perseverance, the fight. I needed those attributes. But physically, I am not sure you would recognize me. I just look different- grown up. I grew up, Mom, without you.

The hardest part about losing you was everything. You were my world. Your mistakes were nonexistent in my eyes, although I did toy with idea of being angry at you; mostly, I just missed you. At first, I almost felt oddly lucky. Everyone was paying such attention to us, and after all, we'd had a fight that day. I didn't even care that you were gone. About a week later, I realized that I had lost the most important person in my life. And I started crying.

I wouldn't stop for three years.

Mom, it was so hard. I wish that my story went on to say that everyone stepped up, but most people had lost their footing. Dad forgot that he was supposed to be taking care of us half the time, and left us in the care of Mary Anne. I don't know, Mom, if you would have liked her. She was crazy and psychotic and she made my life a living hell wuite often, but she had some good attributes. Give me some time, and I'm sure I could remember what they were. After I got over the initial shock of how quickly Dad was moving on, I relished having a mother again. I soaked it up. But her craziness got in the way and it made me miss you even more. You were a little crazy, but you loved me enough that it didn't matter.

One Halloween night, Laine finally saw how the woman was truly a little insane, and she told her to leave. But Dad was in jail and so that left me and Emilee with a nanny named Robin and broken hearts. But, Mom, you shouldn't worry. Because Chris and Lori stepped in.They picked up the slack, and after awhile, I moved in with them. And I think you'd proud of what they did with me. They put me in public school and taught me all the important things about life, like how to treat people kindly and have a relationship with the Lord and clean a bathroom and save money and get to where I'm going. Next time you see them, say thank you. They did the most beautiful job; sometimes I wonder if maybe they did a better job than you would have, but then again, I have faith that you would have stepped up, too. But I guess I'll never know. I appreciate the way things work out; I thank God everyday for taking you, and I know that sounds crazy, but MOm, it was the right thing. And so you should know, I've accepted it.

That doesn't mean I don't miss you. Sometimes the ache is so deep that my chest actually hurts and it makes my throat hurt and I have to breathe deeply to keep from hyperventilating and then, I have to lay very still in bed to control the breathing. It gets rough, sometimes. But mostly, I'm okay. I think of you every single day, though. I don't want you to think you've been forgotten, because you haven't. I long to talk to you, even if just for an hour, to hear your voice, and to know what you think about all this. I want you to hold me, to rub my back, to murmur soothing things when I've had a hard day. When I see my friends with their moms, I get this wistfulness that consumes me. It's gotten easier over the years, but that's still the hardest part: watching everyone else have (and take for granted) what you'll never ever be able to get. Sometimes I fantasize that this was a trick, that maybe you were kidnapped, or that you ran away, but that at any time, you'll return home. But I don't suppose that would solve anything, just create more mess, huh? I guess things worked out for the best.

Mom, I love you. I am proud to say that I am a lot like you. I can make people laugh, and I take care of other people, sometimes. I am a good listener, and oh, I love to talk! I have your eyes, I think, and I love it. I love being like you.

Happy Birthday.


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