Mom, I'm missing you more and more each day. I miss being able to pick up the phone and hear your voice. I miss the expression you would make on your face if I had gained a "few" pounds. I miss that question you would always ask me, "Have you been eating the junks food? Yes, you added an "s" to the word junk and I would always pretend that I didn't hear your question but the answer is yes. I most certainly was eating junk food with an "s".
There is a memory that always comes back to me when I need a good laugh. It wasn't so funny at the time but it is so funny to me now. I remember that day I was walking with my girlfriends. I believe I was in the 6th grade. I was allowed to have candy but only on special occasions and I knew that. But that day I must have decided I was too cool for school and well you weren't going to see me and what you didn't know wouldn't hurt me. So I went into that bodega around the corner from school and picked up a blue raspberry laffy taffy for five cents.
I remember popping the candy in my mouth as I was walking out the bodega and just savoring the sweetness, chewiness and stickiness. It was perfect. The moment ended abruptly because all of a sudden I could see you. Maryanna had just started kindergarten that week and you had just picked her up from school and were both walking home. I pretended I didn't see the both of you and turned my head and began walking quickly in the opposite direction. I also began to furiously chew the candy but it was sticking to my teeth. What was just so great moments before was not so great as the candy was just too chewy and sticky.
I had no choice but to chew wide and with my mouth slightly open to quickly erase any evidence of this candy. But it was too late, you had seen me. You called my name and I stopped in my tracks and slowly turned around. My girlfriends looked at me not understanding the danger. They were like, it's your mom and I was like, I'm in trouble. They didn't understand because in their minds I had not done anything wrong. Little did they know.
I walked over to my mom with my girlfriends closely following behind me. My mom greeted my friends and then simply asked me if I was eating candy. I tried to save myself and shook my head no. She asked me to open my mouth. I knew that I no longer had candy in my mouth because I had swallowed it. I confidently opened my mouth and even stuck out my tongue because in my fear I must have forgotten that the laffy taffy had turned my tongue blue. To this day, I can clearly picture my mom's hand coming up and it slapping my face. Hard. Imagine my shock. My little sister Maryanna was shocked and to this day she laughs about it. But my girlfriends were more shocked. They were convinced that I had done something else. It was hard for them to believe that I had been smacked because of candy. I knew that I had been smacked for two reasons. Eating candy when it wasn't a special occasion and lying about eating said candy.
After the smack
I remember watching you cook dinner for us in the summer, without any air conditioner and thinking you were a little crazy. There was no way I was going to do that when I got older but here I am and I do the exact same thing. I'm less crazy because I have central air but while I was cooking up a storm last Sunday on a really nice, hot day it got me thinking how much I am like you.
I am a great listener like you were. I'm loving like you were. I'm definitely as stubborn as you were and I also talk with my hands like you did. So days when it hurts the most that you're gone, I'm happy to see that there is still so much of you inside of me. And because of that I know that you'll never be gone from me. When I need you, all I have to do is dig deep within myself and bits of you appear. I'm grateful that although you were taken the memories of you remain. There's solace in knowing that.
So tomorrow, if sadness comes, I'll remember your laugh. I'll remember your smile. I'll remember your soft voice and your warm hug. And I'll remember that every single time I asked you, "What's up?" You always replied, "The sky."