I am standing in the craft store searching for the exact green used by my Abuelita. She has been making Christmas stockings for all the kids in the family since I was a baby. She even made one for my partner when he and I were married. She made them for my first two children, and, if not for COVID, she would be here still making one for the newest member of the family. But COVID did happen, and she is not here, and I have a baby at home who will be the only person in the house without one of her signature stockings.
This was something I had meant to ask her to show me, but time happens and days pass filled with clutter and obligations, and I never got around to it. And the unexpected happened, and the moment was taken from me. So many moments, so many unasked questions, and laughs, and stories, and secrets taken away, before I was ready.
So here I stand trying to find the exact green she used, and I can’t find it anywhere, in any store. I cannot find my way back to her. Why the fuck did I not make the time to ask her, to sit with her and let her share her secrets, her wisdom with me! Tears threaten to leap from me, in the middle of rows of yarns in all colors, except the one goddamn color I need.
Don’t cry, not here. Keep it together. You fucked up, you failed, and this is the price. To live a life full of nearly-there-but-not-quites, a life of ghosts that look like her, but you cannot hold, you cannot hear, you cannot learn.
“Don’t cry, mija. It is not your fault. Even if I left these secrets and lessons with you, what you create will never exactly mirror my own. That is the nature of creation. We take what we know and make it our own. I have given you enough, and trust in your ability to create something that is part me and part you. As you will always, as you have always, for I am in you, and I am part of you…”
I grab the green nearest in color to hers. The stocking I make will not be exactly like she made them, but it was never going to be, it never could. In my hands I carry the memories of my Abuelita, and hers, and hers, and so on til the very first sunrise. Our ancestors travel in each generation through the creations of the living. Thank you Abuelita Linda, for the permission to change traditions and make them my own, and for the reminder that you live in the expression of all I create, and all the creations my semillas will create, and their semillas, and theirs, and theirs, and so on til the very last sunset.