I see her sitting there on a chair at her cool white Formica kitchen table in the heat of a summer day. 1980, Carson City, Nevada. Her blue skirt and sheer shirt hang loosely on her skin and bones. So thin – always so thin. My mom, sixty years old. In six years, she’d be gone.
For a long time now, I’ve carried the gift she gave to me. Not the watch, tiny diamonds walking around a silver oblong face. The time-keeper put on her wrist when dad was courting her.
A watch I like to wear on scattered days.
It’s not the blue sapphire and diamond ring given to her that she gave to me, that I gave to my daughter.
Total love and support with no judgment. A gift given, unsaid, unseen. Always there, always loving, when I stumbled.
That gift sprinkles on my own children, my grandchildren, and their children, with a handful of gratitude, cloaked in threads strummed along the years.
On a hot day this summer, ignoring pins and needles in a summer breeze just about stopped me in my tracks. Floating on an air mattress, bright yellow in a sparkling azure pool, my chest rising and falling. My breath catching.
Suddenly, clear as day, not heard in twenty-nine years, Mom’s voice shouting to me.
“Kathy, do what you’re told!”
Sliding off the float, a few short strokes, a quick step and the ‘whoosh’ from a small hand-held red and white inhaler. I felt that breath as sure as Mom was standing there beside me, breathing with me. Breathing for me.
**This poem was formulated during a poetry workshop I attended today, facilitated by Gary Silva and sponsored by Napa Valley Writers. Thank you, Gary and NVW.
During the workshop, a choice of several prompts was presented for which we could write a short piece right then and there. I chose the following:
Write about a gift your family, or someone in it, gave you. It might be an actual gift – a baseball glove, a book, a necklace – or a more intangible one. Talk about how that gift was or could be transferred to another, passed on.
So, Dear Reader, a challenge. Do the same. What do you have to say? Let’s hear about your ‘gift’.