Crotch-eting she would say.
She taught me how to do crow’s feet with string… on your fingers… its like a double ended broom…. It’s the only string on the hand trick I know. Pinch the center and make him walk, I would imagine the invisible crow made of string as my fingers walked him. She had a wooden man named Dancing Dan… impaled by an old wooden spoon, she would sit on one end of an old wooden fan blade and hold Dan out and tap that fan blade til it bounced… and Dan would dance and dance … get his arms swinging in unison… she would laugh and laugh. Her laugh ended in snorts when she meant them and sometimes tears. I miss her big gruff voice. She taught me how to roll and not just cigarettes… how to flow. How to make a song out of nothing and host a decent party, to be aware, to know, how to know… how to grow. She taught me how to show … her flailing arms when she meant it and if she meant it meant she had already been patient long enough. She taught me how to see me… and all it took was listening. She listened to me. Entirely. Extracting and reflecting and allowing me to see me… and I never wanted to believe. She was my mother. Of course she will love me. But she wanted me to see me and be free with me…. She was a weaver. But she never made baskets. She had a way about her that seemed to always bring comfort… as a friend, as a daughter … she always had warm hands. Thick and warm hands though they were the same size as mine, they were much heavier. I used sit on her. If her lap was ever cleared of projects or elbow leaning, I would jam my knees into the sides of her chair and straddle her legs and curl into a child in her lap … even at 33. We played scrabble endlessly. Games. We could play the same game all day sometimes. I remember the days she would let me play hooky from school because she didn’t want to go to work, one time we went to Winns and she bought me a My Little Pony. I still remember the smell of the plastic of the gift that came just because. That pony was special because it was infused with the smell of the rain that day and how we watched my class do their P.E. exercises from the porch and the smell of her tea and the newsprint and I got to comb that pony’s tail … and take it all in. She taught me how to build a fire that starts and was always baffled at my abilities to actually get square pegs to fit in round holes. It was an anger issue at first, forcing things to work, but then I learned to ask. She taught me back door ways and escape hatches, back up plans and owning up. She taught me to write her letters, when the words were too heavy. Slipping it under each other’s bed room doors like secret messages down the hall. She taught me to talk in the dark if the emotions were too heavy and would stay up late with me … just to listen. We processed suicide together … we became children again. We learned how to play again by our own rules. She taught me … whomever screams loudest about it … takes it on. Which means shut up and accept if you don’t want to be responsible or be responsible. She taught me the art of poor. The rich in heart the depth in generosity. She taught me humor, even though she didn’t always catch the joke. She taught me weeping, chest heaving weeps in woe and to let go. She taught me how to make tacos and chicken fried steak with gravy… she taught me roux and meringue. She taught me water… drink water… always drink water… she taught me love. And heart. And hope.
She liked to crotch-et. Mosaics and dolls and gardening… She made so many things… I am glad she made me.