I was standing outside in the church parking lot, black asphalt hazy with heat. Mama was introducing me to this sweet lady who sat perched in the passenger seat of her car. She complimented me–well, you know how it is. She was really complimenting my Mama because we all want to hear how pretty our kids are.
Then I heard my Mama say, “I think she looks like her Aunt Wanda.” My pride meter shot through the roof. But I tried to play it cool in front of this stranger and my exquisite mother. (What can I say? I believe in returning compliments.)
For the quiet parts of the 30-minute drive home–three of my own pretty kids accompanied me–my mind ran back to that seemingly offhand comment. Did I really look like my Aunt Wanda, whom by all accounts of anyone who matters is regarded as one of the most extraordinary women to have graced the earth? My pride soared a second and third time.
Aunt Wanda made you feel beautiful. Special. Kept. She had a way about her that said, “Come on in. Stay forever.” She always smelled good. Her home always smelled good. And she was always laughing. Even in the face of adversity.
I hate cancer. It takes the best people.
Mama, you may have just said that to be nice, but I’d appreciate it if you’d keep saying it. Because I can’t imagine aspiring to a greater compliment.
Aunt Wanda, Anna’s birthday always makes me think of you. In past years, it has given me comfort to imagine you rocking her and reading her books. Now that Anna is 5, I imagine you pushing her in a swing and running right alongside her in your perfect heavenly body. Please wrap her up in your warmest hug, pat her long brown hair like you used to mine, and tell her I love her. Maybe you could even make her a bowl of banana pudding.
And would you point me out to her? Surely she’ll recognize me. I’m the one who kind of looks like her Aunt Wanda.
I bought this cow.
It’s a little porcelain cow that made me think of my Mimi. She and my grandfather ran a dairy for a period of their lives and always had cows in their pastures. They had a shared affinity for all things bovine.
Mimi had a plant in her windowsill and its vessel was this little brown cow with his mouth open and with an opening in the top. Some sort of succulent grew out of each opening.
I always thought it was a pot for planting, but its intended purpose is actually for serving cream. You pour your cream through the top opening and tip it forward. The milk pours out in a steady stream through the cow’s mouth and into your coffee.
I stumbled upon my cow at Williams Sonoma. But–just as Mimi would have–I sought out a less expensive venue. EBay. My cow is now prominently featured on my shelf in my kitchen.
We just moved into our new home this week (on Guernsey Road, no less) and that cow and the long walk down the driveway to our mailbox make me think of Mimi more than any of her artifacts still boxed up with my china.
I wish I could drive that long driveway one more time. I wish Jack could have met her. She would have lit up when her carport door opened with our faces peeking out behind the frame. She would have gotten a kick out of how he’s counting to 10 and talking up a storm. She would have talked about how smart her grandkids are.
I miss you, Mimi.
You made me shine so brightly. Only after you were gone did I realize I was only reflecting your glow. Give my Anna Grace a kiss and remember it’s her birthday. Shower her with as many compliments as Jesus will allow in heaven. I know we aren’t supposed to be too proud. We are supposed to be humble. But having a Mimi as special as you makes that a difficult tenet of the faith.
Thank you, Lord, for the 90 years this earth had Mimi and the 5 hours it had Anna. I miss them both in a terrible but beautiful way.
Mimi, I hope it doesn’t offend you, but I think I’ll just leave my cow as a creamer. I like coffee a lot better than cacti.