(Excerpt from For the Birds Trapped in Airports)
It’s probably been happening for the past year or so... probably since the second I realized just how strong and beautiful of a woman she is. Embarrassingly, it took me almost 25 years to get there - to open my eyes to how much I’ve been given, taught, provided - I mean, I’ve always loved, respected, and cared for my mother. She’s always been a part of the best memories from my first few years of life. She’s supported most of my decisions since then (with your usual adolescent flights of confused disrespect). But these days, this recurring momentary pull is so consistent.
Each time that I say goodbye her, I have this intuitive urge to press my face into hers - now, I want to be more specific about that. When I say I want to press my face into hers, I mean my bones into her bones: as in our cheeks, mostly, and our ears, and maybe our foreheads, if that feels right. And though I’ve only experienced those gestures with the women I’ve been with romantically, these actions have different concerns: when I imagine it, I see myself trying to absorb all of the storms, laughs, and years that have weathered wrinkles into her eyes, and I’ll learn as much as I can from them. The pressing wouldn’t be aggressive, but it would be strong - a reminder that though hers are three decades older than mine, our bones break in the same way. But the pressing would also be careful and aware - like when you search for the right fruit at the supermarket - scanning, pushing gently to test its flaws and get to know them without creating new ones. And then decide after your judgments whether you’re able to accept those flaws, or if she’s able to accept mine.
When I say goodbye to my mother, I want to learn everything I can from her bones. For a long time, I’ve overlooked the strength of fruit: I’ve missed out on the bruises and dents that illustrate what a history of resilience looks like.
My mother’s bones taught me that.