Seven years ago, when I turned forty-five, my mother sent me a note card. On the front of the card, in her distinct cursive, she wrote – Just thought you’d like to know. Inside the card her cursive continued to spell out details of the time surrounding my birth. She wrote – Out on the farm there was a small peach tree. It bloomed out a few days before you came…It was rare for me to leave you with a sitter. Where I was, you were.
Tomorrow I celebrate birthday number fifty-two. My life continues to let out just a little more line. I guess I would have expected my mother to write before you were born, but I love it that she wrote before you came. The language of visitation, a guest on the horizon of her young life, arriving in the wake of peach blossoms. Rather poetic, huh?
I remember Stegner’s line: “I may not know who I am, but I know where I’m from.” If you’ve read any Stegner, and I hope you have, you know he equated the two – you are where you’re from – this weaving of geography with biography. I live in Colorado now. I’d pay good money for a blooming peach tree at this moment. Even though the calendar says spring, we’ve weeks of winter yet. I will talk to my mother tomorrow on the phone. I’ll try to beat her to it, but chances are good she’ll call me first. My good father will be on the line as well. I will thank them for welcoming me into their lives so many years ago now. For keeping me close in those early days, rarely leaving me with a sitter. For keeping me close still, even though we are states removed.
Where they are, I am. Who they are, I am.
To their grace I am a debtor. This I know.