“What if we’re in the painting before we’re born, what if we’re in it after we die, and these colors that we keep adding - what if they just keep getting added on top of each other until eventually, we’re not even different colors anymore. Just one thing, one painting…there’s no you, or me, or them. There’s just us.”
I’ve been rewatching This Is Us lately because why not. This show makes me feel damn good inside in a masochistic sort of way.
One episode that stuck with me is one in which Kevin botches an attempt at explaining death to his nieces and then makes up for it in the most epic of ways. Here’s the clip:
Best show ever right?
With that said, I’d like to get into how I got into my family’s painting.
There once was a young woman who worked at a fabric store. She was at this point in her mid 20s, but had lived a less than comfortable life up until then. Shuffled between her grandparent’s homes (some of them abusive) so that her single mother could work, by the age of 9 she had to learn to cook to make sure her sisters were fed. Imagine that, a child pulling up a stool so she could see over the stove to make rice. By the time she worked at the fabric store she had not only taken care of her sisters but raised her son to the age of 7 by working wherever she could find (including a tuna factory).
Back to the fabric store. She often saw an older woman waiting for the bus right outside the store. One day, this older woman passed out at the bus stop. It turns out that she had been receiving cancer treatments and was incredibly weak. The young woman gave her water, propped her up on a chair and made sure she was alright.
Many years later, this woman met the man that would turn out to be her husband at a Mother’s Day party. One day, curious as to what happened to the older woman, she inquired:
W: “Do you know an older woman that always grabbed the bus at this one stop? A few years ago she fainted there.”
M: “Yes, that was my mother. She said a young lady was very kind to her and helped her out.”
W: “That was me.”
And that ladies and gents is my mother in a nutshell. It’s not surprising that her helping nature likely brought her and my dad together. She’s the type to:
- always make sure everyone is fed even when there doesn’t seem to be enough food.
- give the shirt off her back to total strangers.
- endure pain to make sure others are taken care of.
- handle things when everything falls apart.
I hope that today on her day she takes a little time out for herself. I’ve seen her continue to get up and go to work under conditions that would leave many at home. I’ve seen her face hardship with a level of grace I hope to have one day and yet she never lost that mischievous nature of hers that makes me wonder who’s the parent.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support she’s provided me over the years, for the regular ‘you can do it girl’ reminders, for putting up with my crazy.
Love ya lady…dassssit.
Oh, and this is what her Tinder Facebook picture would have been in the late 1970s: