This is my mommy:
I have other pictures of her but I particularly like this one. I have two others of her at this age and they are equally adorable. Can’t you see where I get it? My mom, the original Señorita Pantalones.
Yes, this is Katy, Kat, Kathy, and Kathryn. The woman with a middle initial, the daughter of a history teacher and a radio station manager. Her mom died in 1968, a year after my mom graduated from high school. My mom and dad were engaged that year, or maybe the year after, and a few years ago, I saw a picture of them before marriage and life and children. My motherless mother, her long brown hair in a low ponytail, curled into my father’s side, looking up at him with a smile on her face. The smile of a happy woman.
They have been together for over 40 years, married for a little over 35 years, and she still looks at him like that. She has lived life, suffered the loss of both parents and the loss of an unborn child, she fed my brother and I government food because we were poor, near bankruptcy because the farm didn’t do well. She stayed at home with us when my dad traveled all over the country for work and when she finally went back to work, she endured my endless phone calls because I missed her so much. In college, when I finally moved away from home, I called her everyday when I got home from school or I would drop by her office to chat.
My mom is short. At barely over five feet tall, she has had to look up at us all for years and years. My hugely tall brother (well over six feet) still lets my mom cuddle him and he leans over for kisses and hair smoothing. When I hug my mom, I rest my chin on her head but sometimes, I put my head on her shoulder and breathe in her uniquely Mommy smell. Over the Christmas holiday, she and I went to see “The Producers” and she pampered me every single day I was there. During phone calls leading up to the move from California, my dad would recount all the things my mother had done in preparation for my arrival.
She cries a lot because I’m not around and that really hurts. It also makes me feel very loved. When I took her to the Raleigh-Durham airport in January, we both cried and I tried to assure her that I would be okay, that everything would work out and it has. I miss her every single day. I miss that she can’t pack me lunch anymore because she always slipped notes into my lunchbox. I miss her laughter, miss the fits of giggles that leave her breathless and in tears (something I inherited). I miss her hugs, the smell of her perfume. She took wonderful care of us and still does. She is my hero and my inspiration. She has taught me tenderness, compassion, and laughter.
She is my mommy and I love her more than she can ever know.