35 and Counting… 

1.   For braiding our hair…AND matching the ribbons for school even though you’d just finished an 8-10 hr shift at the plant.

2.   For doing a job that most men couldn’t take for more than an hour so you & dad could buy a house and clothes and bunk beds.

3.   For loving to watch movies in a theater.

4.   For the way you had of saying words like, “whatever” & “maybe” & “I don’t know” & “koota, kunjara”.

5.   For only painting your nails Really Red,  New York Big Apple Red, Ruby Red (all shades of exactly the same color)…because that was YOUR color.

6.   For dealing with the onset of a neurological disorder you had no name for & the doctors still have no cure for the best you could while working, raising 3 girls, & going to every doctor imaginable to get yourself well.

7.   For your motto, “Spend & God Will Send”.

8.   For your epic, legendary, prolific shopping skills which required the creation of the motto.

9.   For succeeding in a foreign country.

10.  For always loving your daughter that stayed away for a long time.

11.   For your perfectly straight, beautiful, cavity-free teeth of which you were deeply…& rightly proud.

12.   For your genuine pleasure in receiving guests and making them feel welcome, well-fed, & honored.

13.   For almost crying the day we took you to the nursing home even though you’d decided you didn’t want to stay home w/ Dad.

14.   For always getting back up after every fall, bruise, cut, sprain, ache, & sore.

15.   For being a fashion plate, always.

16.   For staying with us for 3 extra days when you were ready to go much sooner.

17.   For being so strong, always.

18.   For wanting to come to America so you could ride horses…dressed in full riding gear…& also because you wanted to drive a maroon Chevy Malibu (our first car).

19.   For your answer to my question of whether you believed in reincarnation,  “Whatever.”

20.   For the joy you felt every time you spotted an airplane, bike, train, or boat in the Bollywood films we watched.

21.   For working as a Teamster at a time when a brown woman threatened so many pale males around you and decided to make your life miserable as a result.

22.   For your stunning, breath-catching beauty.

23.   For your grace.

24.   For being a little bit crazy & passing that little bit of crazy on down to your daughters.

25.   For always repeating what you were trying to say what must have felt like a million times when I couldn’t make the words out.

26.    For loving jello & tapioca equally and telling me every time you had one or the other.

27.   For saying no to pureed food even after they had that meeting with us telling us what could happen to you if you didn’t change your diet.

28.   For the guts it took to say no to all conversation about feeding tubes or breathing tubes while knowing full well what that meant.

29.   For your drive, ambition.

30.   For having a full life.

31.   For your soft, soft cheeks which I loved to kiss.  Sometimes you’d laugh, like a kid.  Sometimes you’d say, “Eh!  Why’d you do that?”, irritated, but still like a kid.

32.   For taking a swig of brandy on the advice of nuns you worked with who once told you what to do if your labor pains ever stopped cold…and for my life which your quick thinking and brandy kick started again.

33.   For letting some of those same nuns give me candy in exchange for saying curse words cutely.

34.   For how you said my name that one time on the phone…with so much love and happiness and something else.

35.   For exercising.  Mostly for me.  Sometimes for you…& sometimes just because you wanted a good reason to curse.