Sunbeams and Laughter — For Mom

The earliest memory I have of this world, is my memory of you.

I am first aware of the sunbeams — the stubborn ones — making their way, past the crack in the drapes. Next, I am aware of sound of daddy’s breathing. I can’t seem to remember why it is a surprise that he is here, but he is. He is behind me, like he always is. Quiet, calm, assured and wise. I stare through my eyelids, and try to make out your silhouette through the light, but I don’t. I know you are there. I feel you. I straddle the gateway between wakefulness and sleep, searching for you, making out your face. Just as I am about to open my eyes, I hear you sing. I can see your cheek dimple into a smile, even with my eyes still closed. I can’t hear the words to the song now, but it comes to me like the scent of a memory, on the wind — soft, elusive. You sing of exploits, of beauty and of grace. Your song finally alights in territory that I remember. You’re coaxing the birthday boy, with your song to wake up. I start to giggle, eyes still closed as your fingers touch and dig playfully into my ribs. I squeeze my eyes shut and stars burst behind them but the giggles don’t stop. I reach for your own ribs with my tiny hands to tickle you as well. I am careful not to hurt your tender baby-belly. You start to laugh as you sing that this birthday boy in question wake up. But he doesn’t and you both tickle each other until the groan from behind stops you. We both sigh, and you touch your forehead to mine. Happy birthday. And you start to pray. I would later learn the language in which you make those prayers, but I can’t reach for them in this memory.

I always reach for this memory every time I remember you, because it was one of our happiest — one of those moments in a big family that was truly ours. It may have been the quiet before the storm, but we didn’t know it at the time. But here we are. I’m a long way from where you raised us, but it is the memories of you tucked away in my head, that guide me home.

Mama, it’s you. It’s always been about you.

Happy Mother’s Day

Your son (not that one, the other other other one)

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