|A very old picture of Mamá and me (ignore my E.T.-like fingers).|
Her voice is the only thing that's gone, at least during the waking hours, though I still hear it clearly in my dreams. The first time I realized I'd forgotten, I quickly rummaged through my things, remembering the one place I knew I could find it, my brother's wedding video. I fast-forwarded through the old VHS tape, thanking God I still had my old VCR, and then finally, at 43:42 in the video, my mom. "Hola mija" (a term of endearment or shortened Spanish of 'mi hija', my daughter) were her exact words. It was during the reception. I hadn't seen her for a bit because I was in the wedding party and we'd been kept apart from the wedding guests during the cocktail hour until they officially introduced the wedding party as well as the bride and groom; but I had snuck out and gone down to say hello. She'd been giving the videographer a tight awkward smile, looking anywhere but at the camera, when she'd looked to the side and seen me coming. After all the searching, it seemed perfectly apropos for those to have been her first words on the tape.
Mom was my life for so much of my life; as I've said in the past, she gave my life purpose. I keep myself busy with work and find joy in my family and friends, but as for a life's purpose, I can't say that I've found anything to fill the void she left behind. I volunteer and do countless little 'do good' projects, but in all honesty, it's not the same as knowing you're truly needed by someone. Nonetheless, I hope she's proud.
Some weeks ago I was at Wal-Mart with my brother and the boys. We separated to do some shopping. After I'd finished I was looking for them and couldn't find them, so I started up the aisles, calling out their names in a loud voice. When I finally found them, my brother answered, exasperated and embarassed by my loudness, "we're here...geesh, you're just like mom." In that moment, I remembered all the times she used to do that to me, and I'd used that same exasperated tone. He said the same another time when I was trailing behind as we walked from a field to a car. You know what I say to that, if every day I became a little more like my mother, then I couldn't be prouder because she was pretty amazing.
Lastly, let me take this opportunity to wish all the moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day this Sunday. To my own mom, gone but never forgotten, "feliz dia mi querida mariposa."