(Excerpts from Chapter 23)
XCIV. I have a grandmother whose love spans from Japan to America. i now know love in two different languages.
CXCVI. I do not know how humans live without a Mommom. their love is indescribable & unparalleled.
CCL. My Mommom has always told me that I cannot change people, but I may change myself if I’d like. How right she was.
CCXC. I watch my Mommom take care of my mother 50 years later. Everything I know & understand about love begins & ends with her. I pray that when she leaves the earth, her spirit comes back in the form of my daughter. So she sees that her lessons never went unnoticed.
CCXCIII. I never cared about being my parents favorite child because I knew I was yours. A grandmother’s favor trumps all.
CCCXXVI. At 19, my Mommom traveled 6,775 miles to a country that told her she was unworthy because her native tongue was not English. Her past is coated with bombs dropped by the humans she later coexisted with. Her life sewn into materials that draped the walls of former, American presidents. You ask me how I see the light in the darkness of everything. I was raised by a woman who carried the hatred of the free-world on her back without complaining. The scar down her spine speaks volumes.
As children, we are asked who our heroes are. We are asked why they're our heroes & why we look up to them. I don't know if I will ever be able to explain just how much Mommom has impacted my life. I truly don't believe I'll ever find the words to explain exactly why she is my hero or why I cherish her so fondly. I don't remember a time where I existed without her; she's always been there. With her spirit, I know she always will be.
I know how much you hate birthdays, but I will always cherish them for as long as I live. I started crying the second I began writing you. It's dramatic, maybe, but I feel so much when I think about you. I don't know if you'll ever understand how much I see when I look at you. I see the strength of a woman who bore hardships I will never understand...who bore them so I wouldn't have to. I see a soul that gives when there is nothing left in the cup. I see a home that is always ready to welcome me back.
Our relationship is very special. I think that anyone who sees it would agree. They say, "There's nothing like a grandmother's love," & boy, they are right. I have all the words & none simultaneously to say everything to you that is on my heart. You hate reading, I know. But, I'm a writer, & I express my feelings best through words. I'll just say that I hope to be half the woman you are. I hope that when I have grandchildren, they look at me the way I look at you. That they feel my love across the country & know that my phone is always available for calls...even if it's 10pm where I am. I hope that they never question their worth, & if they do, that they look to me for a reminder of their entirety. I hope that they know when they seem stressed, I'll say that a nap will fix it, & they'll take it without hesitation. That they know I will always find the words to comfort them when they are sad.
So much of how I live & treat others is because of the example you've given me. So much of what I know is because you taught me. So much of how I love is because you've loved me. I will always look at you as if you are the reason the sun rises & sets to give me another chance to start over. You, Lil Lady, are one exceptional woman...& I will love you every second of every day that I exist.
Happy 85th Birthday, Mommom.
May your day be ever filled with love, light, and of course, an abundance of chicken tenders💜🌻✨