middle of January

and before you know it,

it’s the middle of January

and you’ve only just put away the Christmas

and so your heart would already be a little heavy–

touching her things and giving thanks

that she shared them with you

and all the memories attached

with each little Santa or nativity

or snowflake

 

and you remember those words of blessing said

as her precious hands tucked them in their boxes,

words from your own mouth–

May the next time we open this box

our spirits and our health all be good

 

but it wasn’t to be

and the middle of January comes

 

bringing more memories

 

her smile over the simple cards you made

or the little trinket nothings you crocheted for her

that she always kept

over the many years of childhood

 

her joy and happiness over the lemon cake recipe

you found and made that had no cholesterol,

she tried to take good care of her health

 

and all the laughter once you grew up

over sharing mushrooms

 

she spent years making her birthday about everyone else

finding joy in the little things

making each person who wished her well

feel one of a kind special,

no matter how elaborate a gift they offered

whether a pencil drawing

or a new robe

(there was that one year)

each time she exclaimed

it was the best ever

and the joy in her eyes was genuine and true

 

her birthday

a day to remember and cry a little

for crying in the middle of January

is okay

more folks than a few usually do

 

as the calendar page turns

and I see her name with the cake and candle there,

drawn just as she always did on her own calendars,

my tears will blend in with those for whom

this month is just hard in general

 

I know how they feel

the joy that was just so full and glowing

full of light

and precious

has been put away

and is gone

 

Only Christmas will come around again

soon enough

but I won’t see her eyes twinkle or

hear her tell me how I am loved

or how beautiful she thinks I am

until I too leave this world

 

and so the tears and memories fall

as I blow out the candle

and remember

 

An Afternoon with Mama

This afternoon as I was out looking for one of my least favorite articles of clothing to shop for, I thought about my Mama.  She ruined me (no, okay, she “ruint” me) over the years.  I rarely had to go with her to the store.  She’d pick things up on sale (on clearance and WITH a coupon as my brother reminds us) and bring clothes home for us to try on.  To this day, I really don’t care for dressing rooms.  I’d much rather take things home and try them on there.  But, as returning things to some places is easier than others, today I found myself in the dressing room.  Thinking about how I miss the way my Mama took care of us like that.

Then before heading home, as I don’t have nearly enough books (whoa, was that lightning I just saw?), I popped in our local bookstore to check on a book or two for our studies.  I have to plan what country to move on to after Australia after all.  After looking for some books to inspire Cooter to step over into the world of chapter books and striking out on the search for Shakespeare comics for our Princess (yes, they exist, and yes she loves them–she read one in one sitting this morning), I meandered through the shelves, just looking.  I like meandering, and I don’t often get to do it when I have little people along.  They always have something they want to show me or just plain WANT, and so that sort of takes away the possibility for any meandering to occur.

And as if I weren’t missing my Mama enough already, I saw these

 

Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross

 

and these.

Diane Mott Davidson's Goldie mystery series

Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie mystery series

 

Mama LOVED books.  I cannot remember a time when she didn’t have one bookmarked, indicating she always had one going.  At least one.  She loved children’s books, but she also loved adult fiction.  She was especially fond of clever mysteries and southern charm.  She adored Miss Julia.  I have the ones she got over the years.  The rest she borrowed from the library to read.  I stood looking at them today, wondering if a new one had come out since she’s been gone.  But I couldn’t go so far as to take one out and check the copyright.  She also loved the Goldie character from Diane Mott Davidson’s mystery series.  Mama loved stories with strong women–yes ma’am, she loved women who fought for themselves and didn’t just stand around calling out for help.  In books and in real life.

Tonight I’m thankful for a few quiet moments of remembering my Mama.  Only it was more than that–it was like spending time with her.  As I drove through the little streets of my hometown and by my old elementary school next door to the new dance studio, I could feel her sitting beside me.  I could feel her warmth and her smile.  And that brought me great joy.  I miss her.  I miss how she spoiled me, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, and I miss how she loved me.  And I miss sharing good books with her.  We didn’t always read the same genres but the ones we did, we loved talking about.  We always got excited, anticipating a new release by one of our shared favorite authors.  I miss her every minute, and I am thankful for days like today, when the veil is thin, and I feel her with me so clearly.

Love to all.