Dee Romito. There are not enough words I can say about her. Amazing. Beautiful. Kind hearted. Generous. Supportive. Wonderful. These are all true and still don't capture the kind of person she is. Dee is one of the first people I followed on Twitter. She and Summer Heacock were reading through the slush pile for a little thing called PitchWars hosted by the fabulous Brenda Drake. My manuscript, The Princess Paradox was one of the entries, so like the stalker I am, I followed her to see what her thoughts were as she dived and read the pitches. Fast forward, mine was one of the picks to make it through.
And thus she revealed to me that she was fangirling over my entry. Then I fangirled over her. And I have yet to stop. Since then we have become friends and SOME DAY I WILL SEE HER IN PERSON. This must happen. I will make it so.
Not only is she a friend, but she's a teacher, writer, blogger, and mentor. She has supported me when I was feeling down. She believes in me and I treasure her friendship. Which is why I asked her to join this project. I was completely excited when she said "yes" and as soon as she sent me her story, I read it as I would eat chocolate, with fiery abandon. She's the pumpkin in pumpkin spice. (Summer is the spice btw!)
The story is perfect. One of my favorite additions because it is so simple, but so lovely. Heartfelt. Wonderful. Amazing. Same as she is. So I'm completely fangirling over her again. And now you will too.
The Memory Project (continued)
I stuck the postcard back to the page, smoothing it down with the palm of my hand. My eyes moved up, down, all around the page, stopping on each photograph until they settled on one. It reminded me of one of my own photos. One from my mom's collection. One of our very first together. And even though this photo was black and white, it didn't match the grainy quality of some of the others. This one seemed to be more of an effect if anything.
Two hands. Touching delicately. Simple. Beautiful.
(to be continued)
Mom can’t take me to Jenny’s house. Again. What a surprise. Being pregnant sure seems like a convenient excuse.
I’m supposed to be excited about having a baby brother soon, I know, I know, but he’s already causing trouble and he’s not even here yet. Because that’s what boys do.
“Mom, pleeeasse. It only takes five minutes,” I say. I plop on the couch right next to her and watch her belly bounce as the cushion deflates.
“Amber, I know it’s hard right now, but with a week to go before your brother gets here, it’s hard for me to move around. I mean, I look more like a car than someone who should be driving one.”
Mom scoots herself back a little, and I kinda see what she means.
“Fine. I’ll just go in my room and wait like, I don’t know, six years until it’s time for college and maybe by then you guys can pay attention to me again?”
Mom laughs and quickly covers her mouth. “Sorry, sweetie, it’s not funny. But if you only knew how much we loved you and your brother, you’d understand.” She scoots again, this time forward. “Can you help me up, please?”
I give Mom my hand and manage to yank her up without making her topple over. She waddles to the hall closet and stretches her arm up to the top shelf, which she can’t reach with her belly in the way.
Yeah, I’m still mad, but I know I should be a good daughter and help. Plus, I want to see what’s so important that Mom needed to interrupt my rant. So I get a stool and climb on top.
“Get the photo box right there,” says Mom.
I put a hand on both sides of the box and balance myself as I climb off the stool. “What’s this? Something for my little brother I’m guessing.” I know I shouldn’t be throwing my snark around, but twelve-year-olds don’t switch from mad to helpful without a fight.
“It’s for you,” says Mom. “Take that with you to your room. At least you’ll have something to do for the next six years while you’re in there.”
She smiles and I know my attempted guilt trip isn’t working on her.
“What is it?” I ask.
Mom waddles her way back to the couch and sits down in what could only be called slow motion. “It’s the best moments of my life. All in that little box.”
Dad says Mom’s gotten very sentimental lately. That means she cries a lot and is always hugging everyone.
I nod and head toward my room with the box. I walk real slow, like I don’t really care what’s in there, but really I can’t wait one more second to tear it open.
There aren’t many pictures in the box, but each one tries to tell me a story. There’s a baby picture I know isn’t me because this baby is bald and I had a full head of hair. I see a much younger looking Grandma Jo holding the baby, so I’ve narrowed it down to being Mom or Uncle John.
The pictures aren’t in any kind of order, so I just pick one at a time like I’m playing Go Fish. I wonder if my little brother will play Go Fish with me someday.
There’s one of Mom on her bike, which has sparkly pink handlebars and streamers coming out of each side. And one of Mom with five other girls who are all smiling, even though they’re each missing at least two of their teeth.
One of my favorites so far is of their wedding day. Mom is in a beautiful dress, long and lacey like I want to wear when I get married. And Dad is super handsome in a tuxedo and extra-shiny shoes. Mom’s flowers are a mix of red and white roses all pulled into a tight bouquet with a shimmery white ribbon.
Okay, I admit it, Mom’s plan is working. My insides aren’t all clenched and tight anymore. I’ve stopped scowling. And for a while I even forgot about going to Jenny’s.
There are more pictures of Mom with her friends, Grandma and Grandpa, dances, what must have been her first car, and Mom in front of famous landmarks all over the world.
A black and white picture catches my eye and I’m careful to keep my fingers only on the edges.
It’s a woman’s hand lying palm up. Her pointer finger is stretched out and the tiniest little hand in the word is gripping it like a security blanket. I can’t see the baby, but I see her arm and just a tiny bit of that baby fat all babies have.
And I wonder if it’s me and Mom.
I hear Mom’s words from earlier, “If you only knew how much we loved you and your brother, you’d understand.”
And now, I think maybe I do.
I put each picture back in the box and lay my favorite right on top of the pile. I also add a little note to say I’m sorry in my own way.
I set the box down on the couch next to Mom and I don’t say a word. I just stroll into the kitchen like her master plan had no effect on me. Because that’s how you get the biggest surprise out of someone.
I hide behind the door frame from the kitchen to the living room as Mom lets out a sigh and then opens the lid of the photo box.
And then she reads the note.
I guess I won’t know how much you really love us until I’m a mom someday, but I do know how much I love you. I think I knew it the first time I saw you, and probably every day after that. Of course I can’t remember how I felt in this picture, but I can see it. And it made me wonder something.
Do you think my baby brother will hold my finger like that when he gets here?
Even from my hiding spot, I can see the tears welling up in Mom’s eyes. I hadn’t planned on revealing myself, but I run over to Mom anyway and give her the biggest hug possible, given the belly situation.
“I love you to the moon and back, sweetie,” says Mom.
I wrap my hand around hers, and just like that, waiting a whole week to meet my baby brother becomes a no-way-can-I-do-it, impossible task.
Follow Dee on twitter: @writeforapples
Read her blogs here: http://www.writeforapples.com/