I only get homesick for people.
In the black hours of the night, when this house is asleep and the frogs are awake, my cheeks awash with moisture.
This is about my mother. These tears were sprung from my well for her.
In a way, I always felt resented by her. In another, I knew my soft and stilled place in her heart, a secret I keep with myself as a comfort token for when these hours come, as frequent as they do.
Looking up to her was easy.
She never knew that.
The girl of 22 who left the comfort and bromidic meekness of the midwest for greater unknowns, doubting her bravery and stifling her fear every mile of cement in between. This is the heroine in my story. She bore me. Though rarely and foolishly, never the heroine in her own.
Who was going to tell her?
She does not know that her laugh forgives the absence of humor in any situation. She is unaware that her hands, those hands that have washed dish upon dish and paired sock after sock, also cure heartache. That her voice, even muffled, calms the wake across this ocean that separates us now.
How could she not know?
At my age, she was my father’s wife. In 12 months, she would carry her first child in her womb, surrendering her body, and laugh, and hands, and voice, until the day comes where those are taken back by God.
When the tide is high and I’m perched above the waves battering the rocks below, I think of her. A book is at my feet. I see her, the time she never had, and the wish she did for us, her children, to cherish this: the perch, the waves, the book, the day.
My mama. The heroine. A midwest girl of sacrifice and service, whose faith kept her sane – whose faith kept me sane.
I think of her. And I miss her. And I’m homesick for her.