It shines today
Just as it shone twenty years ago
While I sat
and surrounded
and fulfilled
An imbalance of conflicting realities.

Each year my mother sent a box of gifts,
chosen, wrapped, labeled
for me

Not for the three
Whose hands thrust through the torn paper
And colored ribbons

Whose stockinged feet
Ran cross the pine needles
Scattered across the floor

But for me.

While they
Scrambled under the tree
Eagerly sorting packages
To find their name,
Or casually tossed bundles
At their siblings

I watched
Patient in the knowledge that someone,
Though not sitting there
Still remembered me
as the child I was

From miles away
She remembered my smallness
My sticky face
My hugs
My smiles
My tears

She remembered my childhood
And her loneliness
As a young mother

She sent me gifts
to soften the blow of motherhood

Sweaters and teacups
And always
Saved for the end
The smallest present
Just a ribbon wrapped round a small box
A bracelet of black leather and pearls,
a viking ship pendant,
a string of gold beads,

Although never worn around her neck,
They spoke for her
to me
Through the years they whispered:

Know that you are beautiful in my eyes
Know that I remember
Know that you are loved
my littlest one

(For my mother)

Jennifer Mamola
April 9, 2019