Couldn’t shake that longing to really know my mother, long after I thought, “I should have outgrown it by now”. Spotty, a few moments here and there were revealed. Towards the end of her Life, we discovered more about each other or let more of each other be known. Yet, looking back it was spotty.
There had once been a sad little girl that wanted to be able to feel and someday write about an incredible story of her experience as a daughter under the wing of that heavenly mother. It had seemed that time ran out just when they were getting to the “good stuff”.
But “Good Stuff”, that theme of inspiration that PureEsperanza, NFP was founded on, just IS. Spotted, Everywhere! Now, I am of the kind that has been known to leave no stone unturned. So, glossing or even skimming over the stuff that hurts in Life isn’t how I have arrived at the “Good Stuff”. But, as the inspiration to write this piece on my mother’s birthday, today, January 9, became more known to me, over a week ago, I knew it would not be the “miss you, teary, kind-of-writing” over a deceased loved one. Nothing wrong with those feelings, just not what wanted to come forth. It was about bits and pieces that seemed to be snipped, out of some large cloth that wove the fabric of my family. It would be spotted.
Indeed, the cloth was spotted both, figuratively and literally. Literally, I learned that, in fact, she had loved leopard print. The impact of that discovery, already in my 40’s, not only greatly amused me, but allowed me to peer into a part of my mother as a young woman. There I spotted pieces of myself over time, then as a mother, and now as a grandmother, a bit wild and tamed, as I saw fit. Figuratively speaking, well, that’s where it gets really “Good”, the crème de la crème!
Spotted! Like the leopard waiting to leap, under camouflage at times, I Spot it! It’s her. It’s me. It’s neither of us. That’s what I know today, when I celebrate her Life: birthday, or anniversary of her passing. It’s an energy of a sort, perhaps, an essence of some kind. I call it Spirit. It runs through fields of the color lavender. It sits atop the peak of the tulip bulb. It perspires in the heat of a hot flash, a folded-up napkin dabbing off upper lip sweat, and breathing through the spell, at the same moment, only years apart. It tingles on taste buds when tangy pineapple mingles with sweet vanilla ice cream. It’s the wide, open door of the heart when a note in a song’s lyrics is belted out. It is the dance of the flickering candle flame upon the altar that burns at our feet while the dance and meditation take turns. It is the deep sipping into the depth of that coffee cup with the anticipation of countering the slightly bitter with “pan de dulce”, sweet bread. It is that crunch on crisp tortillas. It is the savory simmering blends of ingredients mixed together in a cast iron skillet. It is the steamy kitchen of a frosty winter morning upon the windows where images get to be drawn by hand. It is the gurgle and boil blending of sounds and smells of an olla de frijoles (pot of beans) and it is an endless spotted leopard print woven in the fabric.
The gift my hubby, my last child at home (at that time) and I had given her one Christmas, leopard print flannel pajamas, came back to me after she had passed over. They are a bit large for me, but Oh so comfy, much like Spirit, worn in a smile and a hug. Each of my, now adult, kids have seen me in these pajamas, in recent holiday sleepovers, and lounge-a-bouts, and somehow, I just know that the now, legendary, leopard print will impact them; and they, too, will find themselves able to spot all the spotted, “Good Stuff” Everywhere!