Mentally, I paint one mason jar for each year of my life; lined up on my mental shelf are numbers one through seventeen.
Adding a new jar to my collection, I contemplate what color paint to use.
Yellow perhaps, for cowardice?
Maybe purple, for immaturity.
What about red, for anger?
In an attempt to figure out the right color for my mason jar
I think back to the most prominent memory I have from my 18th year of life;
she called to tell me how sorry she was. Said she tried her best to be a good mother, and
this is the first lie she has ever told me.
(Santa and the tooth fairy don't count.)
Sucked back into this moment I can feel her holding her breath, realize that I am too. And
Suddenly it is a game of who dares let go first, and
in this brief pause
I thought of all the things I wanted to say but never had the chance to.
I wanted to remind her how she never taught me to ride a bike like she promised.
Wanted to tell her she missed 12 of my birthdays incase she stopped counting.
How she, the drop out, told me an A- simply wasn't good enough.
I wanted to ask where she could have possibly been when
I gave the valedictorian speech that same year.
Point out how ironic it was that even though she was the absent one,
I was the person she seemed most disappointed in.
I couldn't help but think of the 4,380 some odd days she had called in sick to her responsibilities all consisting of me.
Pointing out her mistakes wouldn't have made her a better mother...
Wouldn't have made me a better daughter...So
when she tells me she couldn't love me more than herself in one swift exhale,
I am unfazed, and simply add it to the mason jar.
In search of an appropriate response- as if there is one- my mind goes silent,
so I hang up.
I open a blank page and start typing, and
this is it. This is me
utterly and completely done trying to hold on to
who I've wanted to love for so long, but could never find a valid reason to.
My mother used to take pride in how she always told the truth, and for once I am okay with seeing an ounce of her in me. So I tell her: "I do not honestly have any more time or space in my life for us to go on pretending like you genuinely tried your best."
I tell her: "I love the person I wish you could have been."
And this is it; my turn to let go, so in one swift push and release of the word send I exhale.
I put away my purple and red paint,
take out the blue, add some to the yellow.
Carefully, I paint the numbers one and eight in thick forest green;
the color of forgiveness and understanding.
Finally, I place the eighteenth jar on the shelf neatly tucked into the back of my mind. Taking a step back, I look at my colorful collection.
These, these are my mason jar memories.