Two years before she died she told me that she was proud of me. That, after reading a report I had done on a child I was seeing, she thought I was an intelligent independent woman and I would always be a little bit hers. She said that. It was twenty eight years ago. More than a lifetime and I still hold that near and dear to me. I still carry it. I hold it in my hands as if it was a fragile rose ready to lose its petals. I wasn’t hers in the blood relative sense, but hers in connection. She had watched me grow. Held me in her arms as I sobbed for my father. Laughed when I couldn’t walk barefoot on the gravel at the cottage. Washed my clothes. Washed my hair. Let me swim in Lake Erie even if the water was freezing. Took me for rides in her two seater convertible with the top down and the wind whipping my hair. Let us search under the beds for the miserable cat we loved but didn’t love us back. Christmas dinners, backyard barbeques, birthday cakes and an appreciation for evening games. Cross border trips that included border guards looking in the backseat with me sandwiched between my dark haired, dark eyed brothers the European lady in the passenger seat and the black man driving. The questioning look on the border guard’s face as he said “These kids yours?” We laughing hysterically as we drove on. Fishing in Lake Erie and getting my line stuck in the rocks; halfway through a road trip to Toronto then realizing we didn’t have the tickets to a much anticipated game; a speeding ticket once we got there; singing Jesus Loves Me in the car, then me throwing up on the floor of the Ponderosa restaurant while we were in line; games of Sjoelbak (we pronounced it shoola), rummy, and my first introduction to poker. My first drink (rye) during the move after my mom moved, my first job at her law office, my first grown up piece of jewelry, a watch when I graduated highschool. Me picking ABC gum from underneath the tables at the Fiesta restaurant when I was five and everyone telling that story over, and over and over…..
A lifetime of memories from a woman who died too soon and she gave them all to us for nothing but by simply being a ‘little bit hers’. And I am. Because she said so.