Friday, December 1, 2017

Tradition, Live from Steel City Series, Patty Kline-Capaldo

In keeping with this month’s theme of “Tradition,” I share this tribute to my Aunt Mim, whose heart and home were the center of so many of our family traditions.

My Morning With Mim
By Patty Kline-Capaldo

I floundered a bit this morning, trying to focus on what I came here to focus on. I puttered, I pattered, I puttzed, and I primed with a poem to get me pumped.

I wrote a little on a subject I’ve been avoiding—growing old, losing time. And then I walked, and as I walked my thoughts danced on being young. I want to climb a tree and scrape my knees and be a tease.

In my wanderings I came upon a wooden swing like the one you had in your back yard. It had two wooden bench seats facing each other. My child heart leapt. I sat and kicked off to set it in motion, and there you were, sitting across from me just like old times.

God I miss you! I miss your laughter; how you laughed with your whole body, from the jiggle in your belly to the bounce of your shoulders to the twinkle in your eye as you wiped a merry tear from the corner.

I miss your open arms, waiting for us to run into them when we came home for summer and the holidays. I still hear your voice every year, belting out White Christmas in a key that, well, just doesn’t exist. I swear you did it just to make us laugh.

I’m still mad at you for leaving so early when I still needed you. I could have used your support these past few years while I was taking care of Dad and Lori. You know how difficult she could be and how stubborn he was. Sometimes I felt your judgment because I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, bring them into my home to live. Or did I just imagine that, because you took in everyone in need, you would expect me to do the same?

Sitting on that swing this morning, feeling so much in your presence, I asked what you would say to me today, and I heard the words you spoke so often when I’d say, “I can’t wait for the weekend,” or some such thing.

“You’re wishing your life away,” you’d say. You tried to tell me how fast time—how fast life—flies by. I remember you wouldn’t let us turn the page of a calendar even half a day early. That was presumptuous.

Maybe you knew you wouldn’t have the 85 to 90 years that Grammom and Granpop had. Or maybe you knew instinctively how to do what I must consciously practice every day: Be Here Now.

Thank you, Mim, for being here—with me—today.

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