I bought a sewing machine last year and whenever I use it I think of her.

She taught me how to sew. And she sewed things for me.

It all comes back to me. The old black Singer sewing machine. The pedal. The sound. How she pulled the pins out as she fed the fabric through it.

That’s evidence right there. It wasn’t always contentious. She made an effort. Often.

She wasn’t my mother. And she was.

When I was about 12, she told me she would make me something special. Anything I wanted. We drove downtown to G Street Fabrics and I picked out the perfect fabric: a baby blue satin. In the elevator a woman said to us, “You can tell you’re mother and daughter…” and we both sort of cringed. When we got home she made me a floor length wrap around skirt. Without a pattern. It was amazing. I loved it… for a few weeks, at least.

Of course you never appreciate someone enough until they’re gone.

I can’t believe how much I think about her, want to talk to her. We weren’t always close, but the world was different when she was in it. The longer she’s gone, or maybe the older I get, I realize how much I acquired from her. How much she influenced me. I used to think my life path was one I chose. Nothing could be further from the truth.