A Letter to My Mom

Dear Mamant:

First and foremost, happy birthday. I wish I could be celebrating you with fresh flowers and silly songs. But we will celebrate and remember in our own way. Not a day goes by that you aren’t on my mind in small or big ways.

I feel like you deserve a life update. So much has changed this calendar year and maybe I haven’t done a good job of “including” you in that. This year I started a new job in an Elementary School. I don’t always feel equipped but I know you’d tell me it will get easier day by day. The staff is wonderful and inclusive. I feel completely myself and not like I’m hiding behind a facade like my last two jobs. It is so nice to feel landed for the foreseeable future. And like I am making a difference each day. Like Dad has always said, look out for the little people: the less than in whatever way that appears. Be there for the overlooked and see them. I think that is truly what my job is all about. And thank goodness for my perception and intuition.

I’ve met a boy (I will never stop calling him a boy regardless of our age). It’s kind of surreal, mama. And my biggest heartsickness about it is that he’ll never get to meet you. Yes, I’ve shared stories and brought you to life for his mind’s eye but it isn’t the same. He won’t hear your laughter or be goofy with you. He won’t be able to have serious talks with you about his Grandfather’s growing up in Congo. Though I don’t know for sure about the concept of your being , I like to believe you somehow have a sense of him: that you know how much he loves me and how he makes me happy, that Shelly likes him (and what a huge deal that is), that he’s goofy and serious and listens to me even when I’m being ridiculous. Somehow I think you’d be the least surprised that I’m the one who has ended up with someone so similar to Dad. I dunno, I just feel like you knew it was an eventuality.

I miss you. Each day. And this month, and the days near your birthday make my heart yearn the most. What I wouldn’t give for just an afternoon of cooking, crossword puzzles, laughter, and creating. I made that boy some curtains yesterday and all I could think was “how apropos and what a way to celebrate you”. And though I miss you dearly I’m forever thankful for your lessons that still keep providing. I wouldn’t be me without you, even now. I love you.

They Fought for This

Voting has followed me closely throughout the years. From hearing grandma talk about working the polls and organizing the Dems in TH. To “living” at the LWV office with mom throughout my toddler years. To trekking to “the mansion” and casting my first ballot there while Greg capture it all on cell phone photography.

I’ve never questioned the importance of casting a vote. I’ve never questioned being an Informed Voter. Though I haven’t always made it to cast my vote in every election that I could, I still have at my core that my voice matters. Probably even more than I know.

It seems to me that some of my own rights have been under undue attack recently. And it seems more than unfair. It really burns me up that anyone thinks they should have a right to dictate the state of my body. It really burns me up that some professions that give their all, and have remained on the front lines throughout the pandemic should be under attack as well, or not given their due. but here we are. And I may not be cut out for politics, but I am cut out to raise my voice, I am cut out to stand my ground, I am cut out to question and seek and do better every step forward I take. And I can only hope the same for you.