My mother would have been 70 today. She loved her birthday. She was the kind of woman you didn't dare give a kitchen appliance or home accessory to as a gift. And you never, ever forgot her birthday, because she wasn't quick to forgive that sort of slight, no matter how unintentional.
Mami died three years ago this Oct. 2 -- just 10 days after her 67th birthday. I can't help but think of what she would think of these past three years. She would've been pleased to know my husband and I finally made it to Europe together for our 10th anniversary. She would've been thrilled to become an Abuela for the 9th time in June. She would've been especially impressed that my sister did Weight Watchers so successfully she got back to her high-school weight (me, not so much). Her grandchildren continue to impress all of us with their clever, sweet, ambitious personalities. She would've adored my daughter, who is just like her -- fiery and petite, beautiful and opinionated.
I miss her every day. Sometimes, out of nowhere, the ache of losing her will overwhelm me. It can be something as silly as hearing Sofia Vergara's Colombian accent on "Modern Family" or something as heartbreaking as seeing how much my mother-in-law delights in my kids. Whatever the unsuspected trigger, I will immediately feel sad and the tears come before I even have a moment to process the grief. When Mami's best friend told me two days ago that she was moving back to Colombia now that her three best friends are gone (Mami to cancer, another to an Alzheimer's nursing home, and the third to a new relationship complete with young children), I wept.
But today I hope not to focus on the sadness. I want to celebrate Mami. I am once again wearing dangly earrings in her honor. I put on lipstick and blush for no reason whatsoever. I went to Nordstrom and bought a new lipstick called Peony, because she loved flowers and makeup. I will dance with my children. I will call my siblings, as it was her greatest wish that we remain as close as siblings can be when they're scattered across three states.
And I will cry. Because it hurts, it hurts, it hurts to be motherless.
I leave you with a video of one of Mami's favorite songs, the folkloric "La Pollera Colora"