Maternal Opus

Mothers are the stuff of legend.

They teach you to reach for the stars, but they reside in your heart.

Since she’s in there already, all you had to do was whisper ‘love you, mom’ this weekend.

Yeah, she heard you.

On Sunday, I received a necklace with a charm that is recycled from an antique typewriter. It’s the letter “J” on a slightly concave black key.

It delights me.

It represents all the words that I’ve ever written, and particularly every time I’ve signed my name to them. It’s something, to know a unique combination of the alphabet can be claimed.

Like naming a star. Humble in the grand scheme of things yet totally feasible.

I have been a writer all my life.

I wrote plays complete with staging directions in elementary school. I enthusiastically took a typing class in middle school, where I regularly won prizes for both reading and writing.

My family moved just as high school began and I spent a year writing long and witty letters to my friends left behind while trying to find new ones in a new town. When I found them, I wrote them some of my favorite things.

One of them was a short murder mystery ‘novella’ that included each one of them as a character. Once you have met my friends, you will understand that each of my characters was not only rich in exaggeration but full of self-truths about each and involved situations that they would have loved to have acted out in reality.

I let them choose certain plot twists as I wrote, a bit like ‘Mad Libs’ on a larger scale.

The ‘book’ was quite popular for its little moment of fame.

It’s probably sitting around here somewhere in a box.

I was the copy writer for our senior yearbook, excellent interviews and bad poetry included.

The summer after graduation I enrolled in the local community college, where I had written and won a small scholarship.

My boyfriend bought me a shiny new Brother typewriter with all the bells and whistles for my birthday. He really knew how to get to this girl’s heart.

And also wanted her to type up all of his college English papers.

The man was both romantic and clever. How could I not marry him?

Years went by surrounded with kids and chaos, yet my laptop and I managed at some point to re-write an entire PTA music program and write and win a grant to fund it.

Thank you, kids, for inspiring me to keep writing.

All mothers are storytellers.

The passers-on of family lore and namers-of-stars.

You, by far, are her brightest.

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