Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sam and Nana

Today is my mother's birthday. November 1. All Saint's Day. But this isn't about her birthday or the fact she was a saint (trust me, she was). This is about fondly remembering a night together almost 13 years ago.

It was a night like any other. Straightening my mother's kitchen, me at the sink, admonishing my mother to sit. My mother responding, "Janet I am not an invalid."  

I remember it now as a series of snapshots: the ever present crossword puzzle. The sparkle of my mother's ring. Her white china. Her casual elegance. The steam on the windows from the February cold. The blue denim of Sam's overalls. Carol. The hazel-green of her eyes. The smile that accompanied her low laugh.

It was a happy night. We were talking of spring and planning for when the weather improved. We spoke of of ordinary things, most long forgotten.

Soon it was time to go home. "Say good bye to Nana," I said expecting Sam to plant his usual goodbye kiss on her cheek.

This night's goodbye was different. Sam cheerfully dashed across the kitchen and climbed onto my mother's lap. Wrapping his legs securely around her waist, he grabbed her forcefully by the ears and yanked her face tightly into his. Then he planted a lengthy and exaggerated kiss on her lips, accompanied by the obligatory smacking sound.

Satisfied with his efforts, Sam pulled his face back. Locking eyes with my mother, he flashed a big smile and said, "Good bye, Nana!" He scrambled down and ran to meet me at the door.

With a bemused expression my mother said, "Well! I've just been kissed." “Yes you have!” I responded as I began to laugh, “Like you've never been kissed before.” “True,” she acknowledged. Within a moment she was laughing, too. We parted then, still laughing.

I didn’t think much about Sam’s goodbye once we left. There wasn’t any reason too. It was simply one in a series of greetings I expected to continue for many more years. It wasn't to be, of course. It was Sam’s last goodbye to my mother.

Today on her birthday I am remembering that comical goodbye, the delight of my mother's smile and I am smiling too.

Happy birthday, Mom.

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