She gave me words to wake up to.
It has only taken twenty years, a couple thousand missteps, and one last Goodbye to turn all the nonchalant See You Laters into How Long Until Later, Again? But I know her words will be the first thing I see when I roll over every morning.
That and a spectacular view of a bare wall that she says needs more decorations than a teacher’s classroom on the first day of school.
I can picture her a thousand miles away, head ducked in concentration, back aching as she leans over this canvas and paints me a melody to sing on my way to work in the morning, as I pour milk over my granola, as I slide my car keys into the ignition and wait for it to catch.
It’ll be the first thing I tell guests as they tour this new place I’m still fumbling to find the right words for. How many Homes, after all, do we get in this little journey of ours?
Surely not more than one. To take another would be selfish.
And those words of hers, stapled to a wood frame and stenciled in shades of kelly green and eggplant purple, lifted from one of the greatest storytellers of all time, hold hopes each morning for a day worth dancing about.
A day worth serenading for five point five miles from Point A to Point B. Because I have enough. More than enough, really, to bring this wild life into its own.
I have feet in my shoes and brains in my head.
I am her bird with untethered wings, the dandelion she has scrunched her eyes closed for, blown some air on, and let scatter across a new field to plant myself and grow.
And hasn’t she always been doing that? Hasn’t she always had fingers ready to canvas my brain with reminders that I can do this, this little journey, not because I am her, but because I am me? Because you are you and she is she and we are all together in on this secret of Not Knowing.
That is the big ole secret she’s been whispering in my ear, every time I turn and shake my head when she looks at me like Life, You Got This and I am just pretending my knees aren’t wobbling under my sundress, ankles unsteady in these heels. She is just as scared, just as sure she won’t paint the right words or paint the right sailboat or hitch herself to the right cloud floating along for her to dream upon.
I know she will. I know she needs her own words stapled to wood frames and painted on cream-colored canvases and hung on wire across her bedroom walls when Doubt starts dusting her shoulders and graying her conviction.
Because conviction wouldn’t be conviction if we knew where our dandelion seeds would land tomorrow. Whose ears would hum with our pump-up speeches next Wednesday.
But it’s real. On my bedroom wall and the crook in the left shoulder of the kitchen where her words hold every reminder I ever needed.
I am alive. I have what I need. I am a work in progress. And so we all are. Unsure and impassioned together.
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