“I have something for you.”
Mom often has things for me. Receipts from the dollar store. Magazine renewal notices. Donation requests. Generally, things I recycle as soon as I get home.
We walked into her bedroom. “I got this for you.”
It was an objectively ugly representation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a keychain. Part of the “string doll gang” – her face was made of string wrapped around and around and around a ball. She had a tag attached that said, “Women belong in all the places where decisions are being made.”
Then I noticed two other keychains. One a “Dharma Queen” and one a fluffy white puppy. “Who are these for, Mom?”
“Oh. The dog is for Ashley and the other one is for Anne.”
I stood there, dumbfounded.
Somehow she had picked the exact correct keychain for each of us. My sister, a dog lover, and Anne, a hippie at heart.
“Mom, did you pick these out on your own?”
“I love it. Thank you.”
And with this gift, I realized she still knows the essence of each of us. I could barely keep from crying. Weekly, I’ll sit on her couch with her and she’ll turn to me and say, “Do I have any children?” I nod my head and say, “You do.” “How many children do I have?” “You have three. You have a son, Greg, who lives in Winston-Salem, a daughter, Lori, who lives here in Asheville, and a daughter, Ashley, who lives outside of Atlanta.” “Are they big children or little children?” “They’re pretty big.” She’ll nod her head and stare into space. And a little part of me dies inside.
And today, I realized that she might not remember I’m her daughter, but she knows who I am.