The color yellow.
Picking out rocks from the front yard.
Planting a vegetable garden.
Playing volleyball, croquet, and tetherball in the backyard.
Sun tea on a hot day.
Riding in the back of the car with the windows down on the way to a tree nursery.
Saturday nights of popcorn, oranges, apple slices, and cheese.
Playing outside from sun up to sun down all summer long.
Family walks on the Mill Creek trails.
Watching Star Trek on a Saturday night.
Listening to 90's country and Oldies in the car. And later, Blues and Classical.
Being told not to sing at the table.
Shopping at the old downtown Olathe Walmart and Food 4 Less and Schnuck's.
Fried chicken, burgers, or tuna salad sandwiches on Sundays after church.
Saturday Night Live.
Sometimes I just need to remember my childhood.
Sometimes I just need to remember my momma.
Some of these things are beautiful, painful memories. Things that pop up out of nowhere and pull me back to when she was here.
We went to the hospital to see her.
"Chris has asked me to marry him!" I told her.
She was on heavy painkillers.
I showed her my engagement ring.
"Does it snag on anything?" she asked me.
I smiled. "I don't know yet - I haven't had it on for very long!"
I could see in her eyes that she was very happy for me.
"Chrissy-Bob", she always called him, short for Christopher Robert.
It was time to go.
I kissed her on her cheek and whispered in her ear, "I love you, and I'll see you tomorrow".
I left the nursing home, completely unaware that I wouldn't.
The moment I learned of my mom's passing will forever be engrained in my mind. I'll keep that memory in my heart.
These are some of the few memories during that time that remain very vivid to me. The rest is mostly a blur.
It interesting what the human brain can do to protect itself. Are some memories hard for me to access because they were so painful? Or because I do not want to access them? Is this how the brain processes grieving?
I came to a realization a few weeks ago.
What if my mother was called to heaven for a more important reason? What if she knew she needed to be a guardian angel for our family? There have been several things that have happened that have been sort of miraculous since her passing.
It makes me wonder sometimes.
It's been over 8 years since she's been gone. But I think of her daily!
But sometimes I have a hard time imagining her. It was still very much a parent-child relationship. I was just becoming an independent adult, about to graduate college.
What would we talk about today? What would she have worn to my wedding? How would she have reacted at the birth of my children? What mothering advice would she be giving to me? How many times a day would I call her?
And that's where my mind goes blank. I really don't know.
My childhood memories are very precious to me. I think of all the silly things she did and said.
She was quite goofy, as am I.
I see it in Ava too.
We are buying a house.
And you can bet I will be planting some daylillies!
I think coming home to Kansas is going to be good for my soul.