It’s been some time. Some long time.
But just when I think it’s been too long to ever come back again–just when I think I should quit pretending and just give up the blog– I remember that this isn’t about who reads it or how often I write or when. Not really. This is the place I write the words that someday I will bind up for my children. Words about things they would never have remembered. We will hopefully all laugh and cry together remembering the silly and the sad. There’s been some of both. Every life has both. But I’m fortunate to have had a period of peace and joy and enough time to reflect on the blessings that sit in my lap and are gathered up all around me.
Tonight I feel especially thankful. It’s Easter weekend. I reflect on this like so many do, but this is not a huge event in our house or in our church because we reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection every Sunday. Every Sunday we commune together. This time of year is special because this is the time of year it really happened. But that sacrifice will be no less powerful 3 weeks from now. Or in late June. It’s every day. It’s everything.
My first cousins came over tonight with their families. Their children and mine got along famously, as has been the case in the last couple of years. The weather was perfect. The colors on the river were so rich and so green-gold that it seemed fake through the lens of my camera. I was astonished. We sat around and watched the flurry of activity in the pool and fought my youngest for control of the iPod. We shared stories about our grandmother and reflected on the last gifts she gave us. My oldest cousin (she’s not old, mind you, but there is a birth order here) and I both received gifts from her after she had died. I guess our parents had found these things put away in her apartment when they cleaned out her things. My gift was a crocheted afghan that was cream and simple and beautiful. With it was a note in her handwriting that said, “For Missy when she marries. With Love, Mama.” I boo-hooed like a little baby when I opened that gift after my engagement. She had been gone for a long time at that point. My cousin’s gift was a small baby blanket, knitted in pink, with another handwritten note. These blankets were crocheted sometime before 1991, long before I was married or my cousin had a child. My cousin’s child was born in 2004, just days before Mama’s Boy. She was a GIRL. My cousin named her Rebecca, after our grandmother. It had come full circle. Almost like she knew.
We talked about all of this tonight. And though these hand-made gifts were the last physical things she gave to us, it occurred to me tonight that her final gift to us was instilling in us the importance of getting together. There’s something inexplicably powerful in that. Her final gift to us was each other.
I ate my first McDonalds hamburger with my Mama. It’s possible that this cancels out the afghan. But she also eventually taught me not to take off the pickles. So there’s that.