Family Bird

We are playing at my grandparent’s home, running around the living room, as someone yells we shouldn’t run. I’m only six, or maybe seven, so I’m just following my cousins. We run, and laugh, and stop, and then pick up the pace again. Everything around us looks so delicate, so precious, everything neatly organized by my grandmother. My favorite thing in the room is a funny looking bird, with a yellow hat on, and when we stop running I look at it and smile at him.

Mom comes home that day, still covered in sadness, but she always has a smile for me. Her mother has just passed away, and she is with grandpa now. It’s only been a week since she passed, and we are all still sad. At the funeral, I got to see all of my cousins, and we hardly could talk, we were all quiet. It’s the first funeral I’ve been to, so I didn’t know what you do. Now my mom walks into the home, and she is carrying the bird with the yellow hat that used to be at my grandma’s house. We both look at it, and my mom smiles again, but I know she wants to cry, and I want to cry too.

I visit my mother during my college break, I haven’t seen her for a couple of months, and I miss her. We spend the day together, go out to have lunch, and I tell her what is new in my college life. We drive by my grandparent’s old home, and remember all of the times spent there. I tell her my memories about running around the living room, and how the porcelain bust of the bird with the yellow hat was my favorite. She says my grandmother knew that, I must have told her, and didn’t remember it.

Mom is older now, and I visit her with my kids. They run around her home with their cousins, just as I once did. They run around and I see my mother smile as she sees them having fun. She gets the kids confused sometimes, but she realizes right away and feels a bit embarrassed. She keeps a little notebook with the birthdays of all of her grandkids, and keeps it on a shelf in the living room, next to the Porcelain bird with the yellow hat.

The bird is dressed like a gondolier, with a stripped blue and white t-shirt and a vest. He is almost looking sideways, and he has a yellow straw hat with a red line on it. He must be Italian. My mother left it for me, and now that she is gone I feel terribly old. We all age, and all we are left with is memories.

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