I see it first thing in the morning, before make-up smooths everything over, before mascara and my glasses widen my eyes, before I dress in jeans and hopefully, a cute top, rather than the bright polyester pants with matching shirts that she preferred. I see it in my mom’s eyes, as well, though we don’t really acknowledge it. I see it on my friend’s refrigerator, on a tiny green and white magnet that bears the Irish saying, “‘Tis Herself.”

I hear it when I find myself talking to complete strangers as though we’ve known each other for years, offering empathy that goes deeper than 60 seconds in the grocery line or jokes that don’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t know me for far longer that.

I taste it in my preferences: Hot tea that is light and sweet. A ham sandwich on toast. Real butter. (and of course, I have a sugary bump around my waist that matches hers as well).

I smell it in the thick “intensive care” lotion I use at night.

I touch it when I hug my children or play with their hair.

For 25 years, I experienced the best kind of Gramma a child could have. I didn’t really know her after that, but the peace of time and forgiveness and…time… has allowed me to gloss over the years between our separation and her death.

I’ve thought of her a lot this week, not for any reason other than the whole of mother-daughter relationships has been on my mind. I miss the woman I knew, and I’ll gladly take the parts she passed on to me. She is a foundation of my heritage – to carry on and to improve.

“I woke up wondering what was real. Is it what we see and touch or what we feel?”

(My Gramma never met my babies. I hate this video, but I love this song, for her…)

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