The Midnight, Cloudy

Mom goes to bed early, exhausted from a snowy afternoon of Christmas shopping . . . only to soon arise and shower, waking me up in the cold black of midnight: “Why are you sleeping? Tell your father and the others downstairs it’s time to go.”

My parents have been divorced for forty years. There’s nobody downstairs.

I take her back to bed and lie with her and she gets up three more times. Her eyes are cloudy and glazed and blank. How fragile she’s become, in body and spirit.

She’s sleeping now but I’m awake, her confusion transferred through that shared and unbreakable mother-daughter bond. She calls me “mother” now, needs help with buttons. Shoelaces. Toilets. I feel her frustration; it’s in my blood. Repeat the answers to the endless questions. Hug her. Love her.

And, since I realize I can’t make it snow, I let go.

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