I link my arm in hers as we walk, just soaking in the simple things. The sound of her voice. The warmth of her body next to me. Her pearl necklace that she never takes off. Her personality that's both calm and vibrant at the same time.
Joy -- the word that is her scent and her substance. The way she smiles at everyone she sees.
Her best smiles are for me -- pride and love visible in her eyes. No one else looks at me like that. No one ever will.
It doesn't matter where we're going.
Maybe the beach -- a place we both love. She's always been convinced the ocean has healing powers and I'm convinced she's right.
Maybe we're going shopping. No one has better taste or a better eye for a bargain.
Or maybe we're going out to lunch. Just us.
Lunch is all about sharing -- and not just the food.
We share laughs. And we have the same one -- hopelessly hysterical, soundless and breathless with tears pouring down our cheeks.
We share intimacies and news -- she never gets tired of hearing about my latest accomplishments or frustrations, seeing the latest pictures of my kids.
And it wouldn't be complete without sharing the most important stuff -- she loves chocolate almost as much as I do. And she always says there's nothing in life that can't be cured by an ice cream soda.
So maybe we'll share one. (Who are we kidding? We'll each have our own.)
It's all perfect ... a perfect fantasy.
Because really, there are no lunches. No walks arm in arm. No laughs. No shopping trips. No chocolate.
None of those little things. And none of the big things either.
No graduations. No weddings. No births. No birthdays.
There's nothing at all.
Yet I still have the fantasy; 42 years after she died, I miss her when I see mothers and daughters together. Anytime. Anywhere.
My mother's birthday.
I think about that Mastercard commercial.
Birthday card: $4
Lunch (including dessert): $45
Box of chocolate: $30
Being here to celebrate : Priceless
If only I could give her what she would have wanted most.
All I have is my fantasy.
So as I write this and you read this -- for my mother's birthday, I hope you'll do something nice for your mom.
Just because you can.