A Letter to My Momma
As we grow and create new experiences, our earlier memories get lost in the endless reservoir of past experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Some people have faint memories of when they were as young as three years old. I have blurry and grey memories of a time playing with a friend that taught me the love of friendship and running to a house that I no longer remember. I remember the taste of the drink Auntie Dimple gave me as dessert, but I don’t remember the drink itself. I remember the sound of her mixing it in a cup, and her smiling face when she gave it to me.
I remember the love behind all of it, and the memories only get stronger and clearer with age. They haven’t faded for me; they only reignite a love that I have felt since I was a little girl.
You and Auntie loved me with your smiles and tenderness. The love that beamed from each of you fuels the memories that I cling to so strongly even now as a woman. What I believe to be my earliest and most vivid memory is filled with laughter, joy, and a sun-lit day caressed by an afternoon breeze.
I was running down the lane to Auntie’s house; running from Odain, my first friend. Remember him? I don’t remember where we were running from, or why we were running, but I remember the smile on Auntie’s face when she saw the two of us. Two young souls, not yet overwhelmed by life, still bright-eyed and innocent. She delighted in the joy and love between us, as we ran through her yard without a care in the world.
A good memory to cling to: don’t you think?
But even with such warm reminiscences, I never stop thinking about an earlier time with you: A time before I had adjusted to using my eyes to see and my ears to hear. A time when you still had to support my neck and struggled to understand why I cried.
I have this reminder of you and the sacrifice you made for me, your first daughter, who you’d only met a couple of months prior. A reminder of a pain that I only know through stories and a sacrifice I only understand through the love you have given me since I came to know you as my mother.
Conspicuous, but not imposing. It bears more mystery and love than a Jane Austen novel. Like a vine wrapped around a tree, it’s plastered across my elbow. Ominous to those who don’t know the love that came with it. It is a scar that captures a memory for you and a love for me.
Our scar marks my elbow as evidence of the electric cord that gashed with fire, fell from the ceiling, and wrapped around my arm. Before I knew to love you, you loved me enough to grab that cord, with your bare hands, to protect me: An infant enraptured by her ignorance, asleep in her cradle.
Faulty wiring, damaged or overheating, whatever the cause, mattered less to you than the threat of me getting hurt. Per anecdotes by Auntie, you didn’t stop to worry about the possibility of you getting burnt or electrocuted. You only acted with the sole intention of protecting me.
That is why I call the imprint of that wire on my arm ‘our scar’: a symbol of love. An undying love that threw itself in danger on my behalf. The love of a mother: A love that I have tried to recapture through mental pictures painted by the words and memories of Auntie. A love that resonates more deeply when I look at our scar, the enigma that bears memories of what happened to my elbow. A love that bears the truth of what I meant to you even before I was able to make memories of you: my mother.
Thank you for these memories, your love, and a scar to remind me.
Your loving daughter,
Originally published at https://vocal.media.