And I’ll take any risk to tie back the hands of time
And stay with you here tonight
–From Styx, 1981
Tonight, we stole away to a small Oklahoma City restaurant, Cheever’s, that some would say was in the ghetto. This is exactly what makes it a destination, and so painfully trendy. But, this is our neighborhood eatery, a circa 1940s flower shop some very cool couple bought and transformed. It is a gift to this old Street, as it bookends colossal mounds of yuck0 save for the purple neon pierce-your body-up store. What I have always loved is that they store the wine where some florist once stored his Birds of Paradise and cheap carnations.
We live up the street, and tonight, we try to ignore the fact I am wearing flip flops, and that they have put linen and candle on all the tables. I have a lot of memories of this place. Some private and wrapped up in the psychotic lyrics of Sophie B. Hawkins. (Don’t listen to her until you are 40, or how ‘bout never?) It just so happens that over five years ago, this was the site of the wedding reception. You, my little beloved, were just 5-years-old. You wore a long white dress, and you – YOU – were the pure one; the flower girl to the divorced mommy who was trying to start a new life.
Tonight, you are 10. I look at you from across our little table and think of all the miles we have journeyed together, and how very much I have missed you. Between a new marriage and increasing job responsibilities; very trying pregnancies (horrible, really) and taking care of subsequent little babies – we’ve had too little time for “us.”
In every way you are still my baby. I tuck you into bed each night and we say our prayers. You beg me to stay just a little while longer, but not as much you once did. You walk hand-in-hand with me through the mall, searching for the perfect backpack. We kill a seven-layer carrot cake with our fancy, heavy forks. You take little sips of my sugary, creamy coffee. You giggle as you tell me all the funny lines from Nacho Libre. We belly laugh.
The memoirist must guard against idealizing the past. Of course, I would like to go back and be with you when you were three. I’d love to go back to the happiest moment of my life: the day you were born. But, I wouldn’t miss the future for a chance to relive the past. Your journey into womanhood has begun.
Just remember, I’m your momma. I’ll always let you have the biggest piece of cake and the last bite. And sometimes, as you grow older, the last word.