What My Mama (and sister) Gave Me

I grew up with two fiercely independent, smart, and kind role models: my mother and my sister. And being the youngest, I was obviously impressionable. So I ate up every word of advice on life that my mother and sister could give. And for you tonight, I’ve collected my favorite memories of each of them. To celebrate just two of the women I hold most dear. (I’m laughing even as I write this.)

Sister, Juliet:

  1. The day we set out to hike and accidentally kept walking for 10 miles.
  2. That time you didn’t know how to open a champagne bottle, so you did the best with what you could.
  3. Every day you drove me to high school and let me listen to your fall out boy cd.
  4. When I kissed you on the head before you went into surgery, and you were thoroughly disgusted.
  5. When you would do my hair and make up before a big school dance but make me sit on the toilet, and you would exasperatingly say, “IM DOING YOUR MASCARA. LOOK UP.”

Mom, Ellen:

  1. When you helped me decide to go to Ireland by talking to me for 45 minutes about the pros and cons.
  2. Every time we go shopping and encourage each other to buy whatever we want.
  3. That time you came into my room with the vacuum cleaner to suck up a particularly nasty spider.
  4. When you tear up because something is so unbelievably happy.
  5. That time you changed your name to “Betty boop” on your phone and then called the pizza place, who then obviously referred to you as Ms. boop.

Thanks, mom and Jul, for being who you both are. And allowing me to be who I am. Love you both.

Sincerely,

Bailey

Happy Birthday, Mom

When you have your own blog, it is only customary to highlight your mother on the day of her birth (because, you know, she sort of birthed you).

I could not think of a better way to honor you, mom, and thank you for the gift of life than to use my own gift. Most of the time, we act like two different people, and we don’t see eye to eye. But it is hard to see eye to eye with yourself sometimes, and I know we are very alike. (You may not understand the reference, but I am kind of your horcrux. Just trust me on this one.) We both remind each other to be the best that we can be time after time. And so without further ado…

Blank

The words do not come so quickly

this time

(and how could they?)

I’m condensing a lifetime in a few keystrokes

(you made a lifetime in a few brushstrokes)

and we were 

hoping that I would arrive into this world, swirling with so many stars

from captured constellations, made from galaxies you could pinch between your thumb and forefinger…

and then I arrived, all thumbs

and

blankness.

You suddenly realized you would have to 

impart   imbue   improvise

your knowledge 

upon    in    through  

me. So, you started to knead out your ideals

you started to flatten your flaws beneath your knuckles

hoping to disguise them under the rug

but

other mothers have done the same

with varying degrees of success

and by success, I mean

prayers and pleas to the gods and goddesses that you would not

could not

pass down the bad with the good.

But like I said,

it does not work that way,

and I soaked it all up

like your bread in the milk 

before you squish it in the bowl.

 

As your daughter, I am familiar to you,

and so strangely cold,

that you

take off your rings 

as to not lose them when you

mold me.

 

And now, that my shoulders have grown to their full wingspan

(I had to stretch my skin to fit my own dimensions)

I find the star stuff that you wanted for me, in the beginning.

Because it was in you

the entire

time.

 

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday.