Happy Birthday, Mom

Dear Mommy,

It’s your birthday today! You would’ve been 62–eligible for 75% of your Social Security, generous hotel discounts, and 10% off a White Castle slider. I have no doubt that your chestnut locks would be just as glossy, your eyes still sparkling with brio and Chris Botti trumpeting. If you were here, I’d take you to the Korean spa and wouldn’t wear my contacts, and I’d pretend that, since I couldn’t see you, you couldn’t see me (and my big pregnant belly). You wouldn’t care two hoots about the nudity and would probably learn how to order Bibimbap in perfect Korean during our lunch break. We’d sweat in the clay sauna room and talk about the open-air concert we’d been to the night before, or plan our afternoon hike to Great Falls. I would ruminate out loud about something (everything) and you would listen–then you would calmly tell me all of the perfectly logical reasons why my worries were understandable but unfounded. I would probably be annoyed and yet comforted.

We can’t do those things–because you’re not here, but also because it is one of life’s great ironies that pregnant women can’t go to the Korean spa. Below is a list of all of the things I’d do to celebrate you given unlimited time and latent nausea:

  1. Hug a tree. Bonus points for a redwood.
  2. Bake a Kahlua pound cake or (and) an angel food cake covered in strawberries.
  3. Paint something in the abstract.
  4. Go on a long walk with a jazz playlist.
  5. Not clean something.
  6. Cook dinner for an unreasonable number of people.
  7. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. End it with authentic, toothy laughter.
  8. Sway while I hug someone.
  9. Take on an epic DIY project and nail it. Or not. (If not, ain’t no thang.)
  10. Make someone feel completely at ease.

Happy birthday, Mommy. Thank you for always making me feel celebrated. I have so much more to say to you, but I’ll save it for our Korean spa date with Prince.

I love you,

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