When I was very young, I wanted to be just like my mom. She was so smart and knew the answer to everything. She kept our family together and scrawled all of our appointments, basketball games, girl scout meetings and school dances on a calendar that hangs in the kitchen. She was strong. She kicked the ball hard during our mother-daughter soccer scrimmages and was really good at tennis. In our lunch boxes, my sister and I would find thoughtful notes written by her that morning. She was the first to wake up and cooked us a hot breakfast everyday before school. With her, I knew everything was going to be okay. I thought she was beautiful. Sometimes, she would come volunteer in my elementary school classes. Every time she walked in, I would get up in the middle of any activity or assignment, run to the door and give her a big hug. I wasn't embarrassed. I was proud of her.
When I grew older, we fought more. We disagreed about almost everything. Sometimes I said things that I regretted - things I didn't really mean. We were hard on each other and hard on ourselves. We pushed each other. We made each other cry. We couldn't be less alike.
As the years pass, we fight less and understand more. I've seen her put her whole heart into keeping our family together, something she believes in to her very core. I've seen her give so much to those around her and expect nothing in return. Some of the hardest days were seeing her in pain, seeing her vulnerable. But it was these days that made her more human to me than she has ever been before. She pushes through everything. She is so strong. She has taught me to know my worth and is always there to lift me up. With her, I know everything is going to be okay. She is beautiful. She is not afraid to speak her mind. She is so smart and, though she might not know all the answers, she sure knows a whole lot. Sometimes, she knows me better than I know myself.
Somedays, we will walk down the stairs to find that we are wearing matching outfits, or I'll cut my hair and it will end up looking just like hers. "You want to be just like me," she'll tease. The truth is, I do. I want to be just like her.
I open my eyes and close them again. Some days it is harder to wake up than others. I hug my sheets closer to me. Each morning promises to be colder than the last. That in-between moment in the morning darkness when the dream you just had still seems like a reality. My heart flitters. It's just a dream, I whisper. It's just a dream...
Old letters and trinkets in a box. I find myself storing away the past. But I like to hold onto things. I like to look at them from time to time. Feel the paper and the ink, the rose gold chain and pink stone. I sit at my desk and stare at my wall. It's papered with a wrinkled map and botanical prints now. Remember that time when everything was warm?
I climbed to the top of a peak yesterday. I looked down through the trees and wandered three hundred sixty degrees. The sun was out, but the wind whipped at my bangs. My bangs. "Why did you cut your hair?" they ask.
Today is a new day, as will be tomorrow and the day after that. I make my way up a new peak. It is still cold and I can feel the numbness running through my fingers and toes. It makes its way to my core. But the sun is rising and its beams stretch through the trees. Soon it will be warm again. The sun will rise and everything will be warm again.