My mom and my sister when she was a kid
My mom's favorite color was old rose. The muted shade of pink that mellows that flashy color often associated with young, carefree girls. You see, though my mom was far from being old at the time of her death, she was well aware that she had aged and accepted this fact quite gracefully. She made no attempt at regaining lost youth by wearing inappropriately revealing clothing. Instead, she dressed herself in the simplest yet most elegant of clothes, the type of fashion apt for her age as she carried herself with a quiet dignity. In any case, there was no need to deny her then slow march to her 50s; my mom's beauty was timeless.
Make no mistake, however. My mom was also a lively person. She had a great sense of humor and a knack for telling hilarious -- and sometimes crude -- jokes. She would often tell us stories of her high school days and the pranks they pulled. Her friends and her once threw an eraser at their professor -- whose back was conveniently turned -- and blamed it on their other classmate. Unfortunately for them, my mom's pencil was visibly missing a piece, a piece her teacher easily recognized as having been used to humiliate her. Despite her aging and the cancer that ate away at her, she never fully lost her youthful spirit.
It's that blend of dignified elegance and vibrant energy that explains why old rose was her favorite. The color best describes my mom. Her sophisticated yet down-to-earth simplicity -- in her fashion and lifestyle -- outclassed the Louis Vuitton-obsessed matrons. Yet like a gossiping school girl, the same woman constantly teased my cousins about their love-lives, laughing at their every blush. She was the perfect mix of the two. Spritely for her age, elegant for her youth.
And when it came to being a mother, the same can be said about her. When we were kids she was the physically expressive type. The type who would pinch our cheeks, tickle our stomachs, and hold our hands, characteristics of a young mom. As we grew older, she gave us our space. Like an older mother, she was always around but never hovering. She treated us like adults -- well as much as you can treat a pre-teen as an adult. I clearly recall one night back in my first year of high school. We were doing the groceries together and she caught me constantly texting a girl I had just met. All she said was "don't forget about your studies" and let me be. Adding to this is the fact that she actually lent me her phone -- they had yet to trust me with my own one -- so that I could text this girl. She teased me about it, yes. She even jokingly threatened to reply to her. But she had trusted me to be able to handle everything without her having to step in. She was a young mother, an old mother, a good mother.
It has been almost seven years since she had passed. Her presence is sorely missed. And yet her legacy -- the life of a woman, a mother, of dignity and youth -- lives on. Colors fade as life perishes but they stay as beautiful, like old rose.