When I think of my mother, I think of her black and white wardrobe. The one my sister begged her to change.
“You need to expand your color palette, Mom,” she’d say.
They’d run out to Kohl’s together and my mom would come back with some flamboyant accessory that she swore she’d never add to any outfit. And then, sure enough, she started slipping off to meetings with a little extra flair.
You have to understand that I always pictured her as two conflicting sides: passionate and practical. For so long, I labeled those traits as mutually exclusive, with my mother leaning toward practical.
In her younger days, I imagine her as passionate. Falling in love with a man at sixteen-almost-seventeen and marrying him at 21. Working at the boardwalk all summer long, fingers shelling out quarters faster than lightning. Staying out until 1 a.m.
I imagine her cooling down and starting a family. Hiding her spark. Letting White House Black Market become her clothing store of choice.
I wanted to see the six million shades of gray and play with them like an artist on a canvas. She wanted to tell me “no” a hundred times for a hundred different reasons.
She became the parent of two wild, rambunctious girls whose light-brown hair flew in wisps behind them as they ran through the woodsy backyard and built bridges out of railroad ties. She grew up and handed that passion down to us.
I want so much for her. From her. A memoir. A novel. A blog. A twitter account.
I want to see the red and black cheetah print cardigan. The zebra print scarf. The dark jeans from American Eagle and the two-piece neon green bikini with board shorts.
I’m not sure why I equate her clothing choices with her outlook on life; I have no doubt in her ability to dream.
I see it in the way she sends me emails about nonprofits all day long. She dreams up a better future for the people in my life who matter and I know that she cares and believes and wants so much for them because I do.
So I keep pushing for that next step where she dives into the water. Feels the coolness spread across her skin and ripple goosebumps along her arms. Sees what the other side has in store for her.
I keep searching her name on Twitter, thinking a thumbnail image might pop up; it hasn’t.
If I’m being honest, it’s not about her dreams anymore. About making them happen. It’s about sharing with the world a woman who will love it with such attentiveness that it cannot help but love her back.
I think it’s me wanting to show her all the people I’ve met and let them see who I have to thank for the person I’ve become. My first cheerleader. My best researcher. My blind supporter.
I wonder if she’ll come around, see what she has to offer this world. I pray that she will.
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