As all our stories do, my story begins with my mother’s. An English teacher and closet poet, she gifted me her love for words, and her uncanny knack for stringing them together. Words are the thread, the stitches that bind the fabric of all my memories of her.
Five years old, her reading to me before bed. Little Golden books became Nancy Drew became Babysitter’s Club became Stephen King. She let me read whatever I wanted and bought me all the books I asked for.
Thirteen years old, sharing our favorite famous quotes and discussing the meaning of life in the middle of the Texas summer. And laughing. Always laughing. Because words can be funny and sad and powerful enough to take your breath away.
Fifteen years old, taking my own words and making them into stories. She was the first person who ever read my writing. Because of her unabashed faith in me, she wasn’t the last.
Nineteen years old, on the phone at my dream college, reading her my essay for an English Lit class. Should I put a comma there?
Twenty-two years old, the worst thing. I’m the one reading to her now, Harry Potter. Her own words are stuck in her brain—diseased with cancer. She can’t speak.
Thirty-four years old and finally writing again. Every story I tell is about her, for her. I write a lot of them.
Thirty-nine years old, my seventeenth motherless Mother’s Day. I sit down at the computer to find the right words, to arrange them properly. Sometimes, they come easy. Sometimes, they don’t. But no matter, she’s still here, right over my shoulder, reading them all.