That First Year

My second (step)mom says I asked a lot about cancer the year after my first mom died. She says she can scarcely remember a moment that I didn’t plod down the stairs, rubbing my eyes with my hair sticking up, and ask where my mom was, how she died, and if I was going to die, too. She said it broke her heart, because she was working so hard to make our new life fun, interesting, and full of love, and yet those questions kept coming.

But I don’t remember asking.

I do remember my second mom singing “Five Little Speckled Frogs” and “Over The River” to my sister and I at bedtime, each of us perched on the edge of the bed, following the hand motions and glubbing at the appropriate parts. I now sing those songs to my son, and he giggles at my glubbing that I learned from my mom.

I do remember apple crisps fresh from the oven, the smell wafting up the blue carpeted stairs and into the bathroom where I was getting a bath. I remember my wet hair dripping streams down my back as I dashed downstairs in my nightgown to get the pieces of crust with cinnamon and sugar on them that she called “crustos.” I make apple crisps every now and again just so I can eat those “crustos.”

I do remember the snow woman we made with my mom’s pink apron circling the waist. All of us out together in the snow with pink runny noses looking for the perfect rocks for the eyes and mouth. I hope to make a snowman like that with my son and husband this year.

I remember Glade’s picnics at the library park, where the seagulls eat your fries if you aren’t careful. I remember asking her to braid my hair, and how often she would make sure not a hair was out of place. I’ve never had it that smooth and perfect since I started doing my own. I remember her made up words like “crankola”(to describe one that is cranky) and “dinero” (for dinner). I remember her teaching me to tie my shoes, and quizzing me on parts of the body for preschool. I remember her playing “Heart and Soul” and “Amazing Grace” on Sunday evenings in the living room.

I remember a lot of it, I cherish a lot of it, and I love her.

Gaining a new mom was hard, I won’t deny it. But that first year of having her as my mom is something that I happily remember. Thank you, Mom!

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