I’ve never really been a Mama’s girl, that I can remember.
Growing up, I spent countless hours sitting on my Daddy’s lap, riding on the back of my grandpa’s three-wheeler with my Daddy at the wheel, and riding horses with him through woods and cornfields.
In high school, I was his chanteuse daughter, and I sang Ella Fitzgerald numbers at weddings and festivals while he expertly strummed the guitar. I loved my Mama, too, of course. But it was different. She was there when I needed her, but Daddy was the driving force behind most of what I did, and pursued. I wanted to please him, and quite a lot of what I did and didn’t do revolved around that need in me.
Wedged between my two sisters, they latched onto Mom while Dad and I did our own thing.
I was Daddy’s girl.
Except now, here I am, 3000 miles away from both my parents.
And I love my Daddy. And I miss him.
But the other day, I was walking through a gardening shop, and I passed by a jug of RoundUp, and I saw my Mama walking down their quarter-mile-long driveway with that RoundUp in her hand, killing the weeds that sprout up between the stones. Her hair was in a ponytail and her sleeves were pushed up so she’d get sun on her arms, and I choked up a little.
And this morning, a girl at work offered me what she called a ‘fig roll.’ When I bit into it, I realized what it was, and I was standing in my Mama’s blue and white kitchen, the tiles cold beneath my bare feet. I could smell her vanilla candle and feel the breeze from the air-conditioning vents on my face. I was just in front of her white cupboard, my hand in her box of Fig Newtons.
Never has anything felt so familiar.
Never have I missed my Mama so much.