By Miranda Chop
I am my Mother’s Daughter.
I have her feet: long and skinny with the potential for bone spurs. Sometimes they ache after a long day of work. She never wore nail polish on her toes. I do. When it’s not there I don’t see my own feet anymore.
I see hers.
Cracked skin in places, bones sticking out here and there. Even my body is shaped like hers.
Our breasts are too big for our small frames. Our fair skin freckles in the sun. We both have skinny little wrists that can’t hold a bracelet. I keep my extra weight in my belly, same as my mom. Except hers has scars from bringing children into the world: first me, then my siblings.
I have her spirit, too. It resides in me as part of my DNA.
Little clicks of proteins, sticking together in just the right way, like a plastic building block in a child’s playroom.
She gave me my name, then taught me who I was in her eyes. I was her baby girl. There was nothing in the world that could ever take that away from either of us.
She was the first person to love me. When I got older, she told me she loved me with her whole heart. I never doubted it.
When my brother came into the world however, I worried that there wouldn’t be enough love to go around. How silly that was.
The bigger the need for love, the more love grows, after all.
I know that now.
Her wit was a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you! She could make you laugh so hard your eyeballs bulged. Just hearing her unique laughter could send you spiraling toward a giggle fit.
And no one got away with anything, no sir. She never missed a beat. If you zigged she would zag, and unless you were sly enough to catch the twinkle in her bright blue eyes, you’d never know it was coming.
She was loyal, too. Possessing a fierce, unbidden and non-negotiable loyalty. If you were part of her tribe by either DNA or choice, you knew that you were a member for life. But this is to say nothing of her unwavering acceptance, nor her unconditional love for every person she ever met.
If you were lucky enough to cross paths with my Mother, your life was forever changed; for one sparkling moment in time another human saw you, really saw you, and loved you anyway. That’s how it was to meet my mom.
I miss her so much.
She is still here in this world, but not of it—she doesn’t want to be.
She tries to kill herself a lot. She would deny this, but it’s true.
I wish she would come back to the love and acceptance that she taught me. That she could see her own value. I wish she knew how wonderful she still is, no matter what choices she made in the past.
It is true that love has the power to heal, but sometimes, that love must come from within.
I can give her my unconditional love; and tell her over and over again that she is worthy and deserving of it, too. I can clean up her messes and keep her alive, that is, only until I can’t anymore.
There is always the chance that she is hearing me; that one day, she will wake up from the coma-like existence that she created for herself, knowing that she is— and always will be—good enough.
This is hope.
I can’t have enough for both of us, but I have enough for me.
Miranda Chop is a writer in Fort Worth, Texas. She’s good at being an auntie, cooking and reading. Accepting the present moment as it is makes her feel good. Resisting it makes her feel bad. Most days, she prefers to feel good. She also shares at her blogs here and here.
Editor: Jesse James