mom

When I cry. When I sob, I sound just like my mother. I look in the mirror and the tears have magnified my eyes, making them less squinty than normal, less Telles-like, and that face in the mirror is a mirror of my mom's. It's moments like these, when I see myself and hear myself gushing pain and heartache, that I feel most like her daughter.
There are few foods as comforting as spaghetti with red sauce, or as filling. Spaghetti fills everything.

My mother was visiting her mom, my Grandma Betty, at her current nursing home. Every time she visits my Grandma "Buttsy", she usually sends picture texts or videos or random quotes that my Grandma blurts.
Last week she texted me this:
"Some lady at her table just stole her drink and Mom said, “THANK YOU. AND BY THAT, I MEAN THANK YOU FROM ME.” Then she winked at her. ??? Crazy town!!"
I really appreciated my mom using the phrase "Crazy Town" in reference to her mom. For some reason, this tickled me greatly.
So I immediately replied:

Let's root together.
Let's root for Laura.
Let's root for my Grandmas,
Both of them!
88's.
Let's root for my cousins, Sally, Angie, and Melanie.
Let's root for my cousins' kids, Jacob, Tony, and Kidd.
Give a shout out to family,
to your sisters and brothers,
to your mothers and fathers.
Let's hope.
Thank your friends.
Love on one another.
Let's turn this year around.

I remember going to the memorial service of a family friend at the beginning of the decade. She was a longtime friend of my mom's, and I was not quite to the adult age where you stop noticing adults' ages. I was slightly uncomfortable going, because I had not been to many memorial services, and because she had died of cancer, and because she had children my age and younger. I dressed in dark, somber and appropriate clothing and I sat next to my younger sister, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. It felt very surreal, and of course it was sad, so I withdrew.

On November 10th, 1955, Ottolyn Kay Stablein was born to Otto and Betty Stablein. My Grandpa wanted a child named after him, so they christened her Ottolyn. Of course, shortly thereafter my Grandma Betty gave birth to a son, and they named him Marty. I wonder what they would have named my mom if Marty had come first. Although, the name on her birth certificate doesn't really matter, since they almost immediately started calling her "Treeny". I have tried to ascertain the origin of this nickname, to no avail.

I am she as you are she as you are me and we are all together.
We are a community,
a family.
I am your sister and your daughter and your mother
and I love you.
You are my brother.
You are my boy.
My girl.
I will reach my arms out as wide as I can
And I will hug you and your hurt and your joy
As hard as I can and for as long as I can.
Until you shake me off, almost uncomfortably,
because it is hard to know what to do when you are
squeezed that forcefully.
I want you to know that you are beautiful.