Early last fall, my husband and I were driving into Washington after visiting family in Virginia. Our two small boys were in the back seat, already lulled to sleep after hours of playing with cousins. “You take Sam, I’ll get Jonah,” I sort of absent-mindedly whispered to Steven, making our car-to-bed getaway plans. I looked back, and the boys’ cheeks were glowing with the soft green light from the dashboard, both kids cozy in their coats, safe with their mom sitting right there in front of them.
It dawned on me then: I remember being them so very clearly. I remember hearing my mother’s voice in the front seat: “I’ll get the key and open the house.” Even though I couldn’t open my eyes, so tired from an evening of fun with cousins, I could picture her turtleneck, clip-on earrings and glasses reflecting the light from the dashboard.
My mom’s life and mine have finally dovetailed. Now, a mother of a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, I truly understand her.
But this was also the first year I had to live without her.