Love Me As I Am

You put an image around me and
you tell me to stay inside the frame.
You say that this is who I have to be
do not color outside the lines!
You expect me to be who
you think I should be.
Angry, when I do not conform
I’m sorry to disappoint you
but I am going to be me.
Love me as I am, my son
Before our time is gone.
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The Most Beautiful Girl

I saved a Valentine’s Day rose from my son for twenty-odd years.
Then, when it fell apart, I still saved the petals with the card which read, “To the most beautiful girl I know, my mom.”
He was sixteen that day when he brought me a rose at work, handsome and a foot taller than me.
And very smart, because while my tears were still messing with my make-up, he hit me up for a loan to buy his girlfriend a dozen roses and I gave it to him with a smile and a hug…
I kinda knew I had been played, but his technique was awesome. He played it so smooth, almost a man.
He is forty now and I know I’m not the most beautiful girl in his world…two other awesome ladies were destined to share that spot and I love them.
Still, every time I come across the faded card, the sweet words and the dried-out petals…I smile.
I close my eyes and for just a moment, I soak in the memory of his surprise visit, back to the moment when to my son, I was the most beautiful girl he knew…

So Small

My six-foot son hugged me and as he let go of me, he looked down and he said, “Mom, you’re so small. You used to be so much bigger.”
I told him that I was the same height. “You have grown. I haven’t shrunk.”
He said, “No, not that, I don’t mean your height. It’s just that I used to be so much smaller, so you seemed so much bigger.”

Memory Clutter

I was finally in the mood to start some spring cleaning and I decided to begin with my office.
As  I cleaned, I realized why I held on to so many mementos and gifts from the people I love.
It wasn’t the actual notes or the drawings, it wasn’t the colorful gift bags with ribbons and bows that captivated me.
No, what I was struggling to fit into this small room, aside from computers, printers, writing, books, CDs, tapes and boxes of pictures were the moments when the gifts had been created and given.
I wanted back the happiness and the love in each child’s face when they had handed the gifts to me.
The pride in my mother’s eyes when she handed me her handmade crafts and the warmth of my sister’s hugs, the memories remained in the gifts.
After so many years, these items still triggered every emotion imaginable.
The metal sculpture my twenty-five year-old grandson welded for me when he was twelve, a green pipe with a bowl.
It had made my teenage son laugh so hard because he said it looked like a bong.
“Bong?” I’d asked. He’d laughed some more.
The toys from McDonald’s that my grandson loved to give me for presents. The man who spun like a top but could never stand up, the mermaid that he took for me when he could have had a GI Joe, into the Goodwill bag they went, but my hand hovered over a miniature Blue Fairy.
I remembered watching Artificial Intelligence over and over with my grandson and he was so proud when he found me the Blue Fairy.
The movie was about a little robot boy who wanted to be a real boy and he searched for the Blue Fairy to help him.
I couldn’t drop the Blue Fairy in the bag. Four out of five is pretty good, right?
The huge finger paintings with crackling paint. My once tiny granddaughter’s handprints with mine certainly had to stay.
The plastic sunflower my toddler grandson had presented to me…running up to me with his little fist closed tight around a treasure, he had opened his little fingers to present the treasure. “Flower,” he’d said, full of pride. When I saw it was plastic, I knew I’d keep it forever.
The poster created by pain and love that my baby sister presented to me the day after my suicide attempt twenty-eight years ago, that did go into the trash.
I pulled off the pictures, but the memory of that day and how much I’d hurt my family still burned.
Huge envelopes and boxes for each of my four kids and boxes for half of my fifteen grandkids.
What should stay, what should go?
Would they remember the objects and would the objects mean to them what they meant to me?
Would my son and daughter clean out all this junk after I was gone, moaning at my eccentric, hoarding habits? I didn’t know.
I set the bag of donations aside so I could repack it. Another box to be saved.
I just couldn’t part with any of it right now, but I could clean another room tonight.
Who knew spring cleaning could be so emotional?