November 14, 2013

lipstick on a paper cup

Our moms are everywhere.  I see them on the couch, where they sat every morning drinking coffee and reading to the kids.  I see them in the guest bath getting ready for the day, clicking closed their makeup compacts and zipping up their toiletry kits.  I see them in the kitchen washing dishes side-by-side, lightening my load.  I see them stopping at the fifth floor to catch their breath before continuing their ascent to our home, looking down from the stairwell window to the courtyard below. 
I see them on their ipads, Mom playing Words With Friends and trying so hard to beat her friend Michelle. 

I miss them both dearly, with something very near a sting in my chest, but I am reminded of and comforted by the wise words of my eldest son recently. 

"We have a time machine, Mama," Bright said.  "Our memories plus our imaginations."

So even though I have now thrown away the lipstick-stained paper cup which Mom used the morning she left, all I need to do is close my eyes and think about her and I can feel her cheek against mine, powdery soft and still without a wrinkle.  I can hear my mother-in-law's delightful southern drawl.  I can see Mom's green eyes twinkling, I can feel the cool skin of her hands covering mine as I tearfully bid her goodbye.

Because those are the keepsakes I will always have.  My memories, brought to life by my imagination.

Everything else is just lipstick on a paper cup.