Sitting on my desk is a picture of her playing with a goat when she was 21. I never knew that woman. Wearing short shorts and a midriff revealing blouse, her hair in two braids, she's completely in the moment, not wondering what others were thinking, not judging herself. She was a wonderful mother but she was never like this.
And yet, when I think of myself I conjure images of college and building sand castles and reading in bed by the light from the hallway and in none of them do I have grey hair. My thirties and forties are filled with pictures of my children, and myself in relation to my children, but the visions are of the kids ... not of me.
That's not who is visiting me these days, though. These days, as I wait for my granddaughter to enter the world, I'm accompanied by a very real sense that my own mother is here, waiting with me.
She's the content old lady who agreed to whatever I suggested.
She's sharing the love that I feel every minute of the day, surrounded as I am by pictures of FlapJilly and Little Cuter occupying one body. My phone rings and there they are, the girls on the lock screen and G'ma hovering just above my head. The combination is eerie and lovely at the same time.
Yes, it is as weird as it sounds. I don't live my life this way. I'm a fairly grounded individual, for the most part, I think, usually ... and yet I have been having conversations with my mother, I have been crying on her shoulder, I have been missing her and consulting her and noticing that I'm doing it as I'm doing it.
Perhaps there is something to the notion of crossing over to the other side. Perhaps she's finishing up the work she started the day she died ... the day the pregnancy test revealed the existence of a new life. She's watched over my girls as they've grown ... creating parking spaces where there were none with her personal parking karma ... leaving me with the knowledge that she was paying attention, up close and personal, while I was so far away.
Now that the baby is just days away from arriving, now that I am packing to join the prospective parents as we wait, together, for her presence, my own mom is coming to say goodbye.
I'll always have her with me, but her work here is nearly done. Just as when I kissed her goodnight for the last time, the intensity of her spirit is almost overwhelming.
I can't prove it. I feel it. That's good enough for me.