Ole Buttermilk Sky

Be warned, all this looming holiday action has me feeling sentimental. I blame said sentimentality for this post. That and T Kira Madden‘s memoir, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls.

It’s a stunning book that I highly recommend. T Kira’s voice is lyrical, compelling, and unassuming. She’s as generous on the page as she is on the stage. And while there are gobs of gorgeous lines to quote and insights to share but this week I keep thinking about a particular chapter she wrote about her brothers. This one line, specifically, feels particularly apt with the holidays approaching:

Sometimes I miss them most when we’re all together, when we’re already looking back at the moment, wondering how it will ossify with time, how much more we will know and unknow about each other.

I feel this so deeply right now. It’s in the clicking of lego pieces, the deep sighs of bodies settling into recliners. It’s in baby sneezes and the interlacing fibers of knit scarves. In the ding of arriving emails and the smell rhubarb cake. It’s in the let-me-helps and the I-don’t-know-if-I’ll-still-be-heres and the I-wonder-if-this-will-be-the-last-times and most of all it’s in the things we don’t speak aloud.

Rationally, I know that the tighter I try to hold on to these moments of togetherness, the more fragile they become. Doesn’t seem to stop me from trying.

I know how very lucky I am. How very loved. When I read a book like Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless GirlsĀ I swim in guilt and gratitude that one person could be so rich. But there is a price, too, for having been loved. The past several years I’ve watched many I care about have those bills come due. Each time I wonder if there’s some 401k or layaway plan I could pay into so that when the collection agency knocks on my door I won’t be left destitute.

Mom and I were talking about death the other day. (We do that more and more it seems.) I heard her huff before announcing, “If you fucking mourn me I will come back and kill you.” I tried to laugh but couldn’t muster more than a nervous cough. “I’m serious. You may miss me. But don’t you dare mourn me.”

I fucking love that broad. I miss her most when we’re together. I miss all of them, really. Apart and together. And so this week the Ukulele Friday is for my Aunt Shirley and all our extended family in Dixon. I’m so grateful for our summer together. And I’ll be thinking of you this holiday.


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