Today is my mama's birthday.
I wish I knew what to say to help you understand how dear she is to me.
Right there, that word, dear. That doesn't even begin to describe what she is to me.
She is my home. Always, always my home. My compass. My north.
In my deepest, darkest hours I still long to be with her the most.
Her humor, oh, her humor - it is the stuff of legend. I cannot begin tell you how many times I have found myself doubled over with laughter, tears running down my face, unable to breathe when she's on a roll. Whenever people tell me that I am funny, I think to myself, Pffft ... you should meet my mama.
She's kind of shy, but goes out of her way to tell perfect strangers nice things. She'll stop a woman in the store to tell her that she loves her hair cut. She has a special way of knowing which woman needs to hear that, if you know what I mean.
It's her damn fault that I love to read so much. We have insatiable reading appetites. She loves murder mysteries, I love other stuff. One of my very favorite things to do is sit quietly with my mother and read.
We love to drive around and look at houses and gardens.
She used to love to travel and taught me the value of it. The older we get, the less we like to travel, but we both know we're adventurers at heart.
I got her hair. We have the world's best hair. I can say that because I had nothing to do with it. I also got her gorgeous widow's peak. I wish I'd gotten her hands, they're petite and graceful and beyond lovely.
One of my favorite memories of my mother is sitting with her every night while she rolled her hair on little brush rollers. She had a giant, orange enamelware bowl that she kept all the rollers and pins in. I would hand her the pins after she got the roller in. We called them curlers, not rollers. (Mama, where is that bowl?)
She let me be in beauty pageants when I was young even though she abhorred them. (How's that for a switch?)
She made us listen to Tom Lehrer when we were children. It made us smart and funny, like her.
She used to salt her beer. She'd let us put the salt in; it was so magical.
She "made" my daddy put in a swimming pool when we were little. I still dream of that pool and I wake up feeling so deliriously happy.
She was the most fabulous dresser you've ever seen. Just look at that photo from her in Paris back in the 50's. Yea, Paris in the 50's. She was Vogue incarnate in Beaumont, Texas. If there had been Ebay when she finally got rid of all those shoes and dresses, I would be a rich woman today. I still dream about her closet. I mean that I literally dream about it. In my dreams I'm always looking through her closet and it's like a rack in the halls of Vogue, but then I realize that they're all so small and I can't possibly fit in to any of them. Sad face. Not so hard to figure out, huh?
I love my mama more than anything in the world.
I'm going to see her today and it feels like spring in my heart just knowing that I will get to bury my face in her neck in less than 24 hours.
If my son loves me even the tiniest sliver of how much I love my mama, I am going to be floating in love. Floating above that which is regular and earthly.
Oh, mama, Happy Birthday.
I love you more than the Universe times a gazillion and then some.
Your baby, Michele