I opened the FaceTime Ap on my phone to see my sister, now a mother for the first time. Her face was aglow, her shirt a soft cotton, plaid, her elbow curled around her little person. A girl. She turned the camera over to linger on little fingers.
Thank you, little Ellie, for joining us. For being a light. We’ve been waiting for you, loving you. Your parents are two strong people with so much love ready. Their farm will be a fantastic world to explore. I don’t know how to be an aunt, but I don’t know how to do most of the things I do, so we’ll be okay. I’m so glad you’re here.
I clicked on a video link anxious about what I might see. I watched a man die at age 32, the age I am, and it didn’t feel numb or far away. I looked up his name, wanting to remember it. Philando Castille. I don’t know what to do with this hurt. But I see it. Reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates with my book club has had me thinking, and this video leaves this white girl from Nebraska unsure of what to say. My gratitude is to Diamond Reynolds, Philando’s girlfriend, for helping me see at least in part, so that I might have more courage with my words.
I stood in a line of bridesmaids and turned my neck to see his face, my best guy friend. I saw the anxiousness, the anticipation, his shoulders just a little bit higher, held up with the love that was waiting after this day filled with expectations. As she moved through that wooden archway, so alive in her white lace, smiling that smile that looks just as gorgeous in her workout gear, sparkling all the way to the grass, his face softened, shoulders set down in a thankfulness so deep we were all in it.
You’ve always been top notch husband material–although a little short and well-shaven for my taste–the most obvious not-yet-father-father in the world. That time helped you realize her when you met her. To see you so thankful makes me thankful. Cool how that works.
This year on New Year’s eve, my husband was outside the bar with the task of lighting off fireworks when we were counting down the seconds to 2016 with knee-tapping tunes played by my favorite music choosers the world. Instead of lamenting the fact that Ralph was outside, I stood back and saw you and your bride-to-be, living slow as the room danced around you with party blowers and silly glasses. It sounds odd (and maybe a little creepy) to say that to watch you two kiss that night was one of my favorite moments this year, but it was and is. As the year turned, I saw both of you shining, knowing that 2016 would hold such joy. To be around a love like that is to be filled up. So glad to see you two as one. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.
We emerged from the movie, my two little ones and me. The popcorn bucket had been too big, but we ate it all. We headed to potty before our ride home, and the bathroom was quiet, empty after this summer matinee. Charli asked that I notice how she could reach the sink now, how she could see her own eyes in the mirror.
“Remember when I was three momma, and how I couldn’t see, and see how I can see now.”
And she turned around grinning and grabbed my hands and started laughing for no real reason, and started jumping up and down. And I forgot myself and jumped too, and we laughed so loud and so long, and for once I didn’t stop when I started to wonder what someone else might think if they came in and saw us. I was too busy swimming in this gift of momma love–her last summer before preschool–so thankful for time together after a year that so often felt apart.
“And now we welcome the new year,
full of things that have never been.” – Rilke
Coneflowers and Cattails and Electric Purple Wild Flax
Quarts of New Pickles on a Purple Dishtowel
Her first Pencil Box – Pink Princesses of Course
Cheers to 8 Years of Marriage and 33 Years of life!