I sat down in a wooden chair in my room, placed my feet on the floor, and took a deep inhale.
My cheeks were pink and smudged with mascara from an evening of mourning the childhood I never had and from longing today for a place to call “home.”
As I swallowed tears and closed my eyes, an image of a woman emerged.
She was golden with brown eyes and was wearing a beautiful, long dress with my favorite colors: yellow, pink, green, and blue.
I stared at her as she hummed and baked chocolate chip cookies.
When the wooden floor creaked below me, the woman turned around and met my eyes.
She smiled at me—and I smiled back nervously.
The pink in my cheeks faded as her warmth hugged me from afar. She began to sway to something she was singing to herself. I didn’t know where I had heard the song, but it was familiar and calming.
I looked around the room at the yellow walls, artwork, and kitchen with marble countertops. There was a pink dollhouse in the corner, aprons hanging in the kitchen, and a soft, yellow blanket on a wooden rocking chair.
It was gorgeous.
As the woman placed warm cookies onto a plate, she continued to hum and smile at me often. I didn’t know her name, but I felt that we had met before.
Her hair was dark brown, and her smile matched mine. Behind her on the fridge was a picture of her in Rio de Janeiro.
After a while, the woman approached me slowly and reached out her hand. It frightened me and I quickly backed up.
This didn’t seem to bother her. She continued smiling and picked up the dollhouse in the corner. She then placed it in front of me and began arranging the furniture while continuing to sing in Portuguese.
“Você diz que não precisa
Vivir sonhando tanto”
I felt as if she was hugging me. The warmth of her voice seemed to dry my tears.
Her voice was beautiful, and while I didn’t understand her, I had heard the song and her voice before.
It was soothing and familiar.
I soon joined her on the floor but kept my distance.
As she continued to sing, the woman gave me little chairs and a doll, and I placed them inside the house. She smiled and put her doll next to mine.
“Diz que não precisa
A cada vez que canto
Uma canção, a mais, pra você”
I was drawn to her as she continued to sing this familiar song, and I smiled gently. As she continued, I moved closer.
She soon pulled out a children’s book and opened her arms for me to crawl into her lap. I did just this. She wrapped her arms around me tightly. As I began to cry, I turned toward her and buried myself in her arms. She sang louder and rocked me gently until my tears faded.
After a while, I turned around again to look at the children’s book and the pictures within it. There were women in colorful dresses just like hers, smiling and dancing. The sky was a bright blue and cobblestone ran throughout the city.
When the book was finished, the woman continued to sing and rock me. As I drifted off to sleep in her arms, she played with my hair and whispered, “Te amo, a minha filha.”
I whispered back, “I love you too, mom.”
I then opened my eyes, placed my hand on heart, and smiled.
I’ve been searching for my mom for the past 28 years, and I finally found her in a therapy session.
Maybe others can’t see her, but it doesn’t mean she isn’t here.
As I learn to create the mother and home I needed and wanted, I’m also learning the healing power of my mind.
Maybe I can’t erase my childhood memories, but it doesn’t mean I can’t create new ones.
I think I’d like to visit my mom again tomorrow.
Good night, mom. I love you.