‘Don’t forget to pack your Soniccare toothbrush Missy’, ‘Do you have your I.D. and your laptop’, ‘Make sure you fold that shirt nicely Mari Katherine’, ‘Are you sure your flight is at 4 p.m’, I heard her say as I packed up our memories in my little red suitcase for my return to San Diego.
I make this trip often, nearly every holiday weekend or celebration. And no matter the distance I always end up at home with my family. Coming home is always easy and leaving never gets easier. Today, I purposefully forgot most of the essentials when I packed, like socks, shirts, pants and my toothbrush.
Yet my bag as usual bordered the weight limit.
“Wow, what did pack in here mam?” she said.
“Well everything but the kitchen sink.” I joked with the flight attendant.
And too be honest, if feasible I would have brought the kitchen sink, because to her the stainless steel appliance was just as important as any other possession. I can remember coming home from college and walking through our front door, the blinds would always rattle as it closed. This noise was my mom’s cue that I was home.
“Honey is that you?” she yelled.
And even though I couldn’t see her, I could hear her vivacious smile in her voice. Usually I came around the corner to find her hovered over the kitchen sink either rinsing fresh vegetables and fruit or just finishing up the last dishes, always with a smile. Nothing was a chore for this woman, she made even dishes look fun. This is the reason I would have brought the kitchen sink with me to San Diego, because her loving memory is instilled in nearly every aspect of our home and lives. And I am determined to find a suitcase big enough to carry all these memories along with me.
When packing for San Diego, instead of the essentials I brought the memories.
I brought the 21st birthday card she gave me where she thanked me for coming home for the summer to be with her.
I brought her 25th wedding anniversary ring that my Dad gave her. He commented when he saw it on my finger today, “it still sparkles like it did when she wore it”.
I brought the holy icon that she always kept in her purse. She would pull it out about every hour and pray for someone or something. As one of the most competitive women I have ever known, my mom religiously prayed to her icon during our sporting events. And as one of the most selfless women that I have ever known, she rarely used that icon to pray for herself.
This time I zipped up my suitcase with a smile, to know that I wouldn’t have to say bye to her at the airport. Instead I would be carrying her love with me, from Craig down to San Diego.
“Don’t forget your little black dress Missy and call me when you land,” she said.