Dear Mom (Watching Over Me)

Dear Mom,

I felt you watching over me this past weekend. I saw you in the angel hanging in the corner and on the card sitting in front of me. It made me think of your old angel collection. You had so many different ones made of porcelain, wood, cloth, and even a couple silly ones I made you out of Legos. Some stayed on display all year, and some only came out at Christmastime.

An angel with an invisible demon, perfectly imperfect.
An angel with an invisible demon, perfectly imperfect.

Now you’re an angel watching over me, and it was nice to have you there with me. It’s been more than five years since I last laid eyes on you. At this point back then, you were in the hospital, and I was in Afghanistan. In a few months, I’d be taking leave to come home to bury you before heading back to war again. While I was away in a combat zone, all those angels drifted away and are now probably scattered around in the hands of strangers. Those old Legos are probably just pieces in some other construction. You wouldn’t mind, though, as long as they’re making someone else happy.

This past weekend I spoke some scary truth to strangers. I cried as I talked about you and your angels. That’s when I realized you were with me. I’m working on speaking a whole lot more of that truth, some of it much worse than what I shared. The idea scares me, and it sure helps to have you by my side while I do it. I’ve lost track of you from time to time, but I’ll be sure to keep you close from here on out.

One of the other amazing things about this past weekend was I talked to people you and I never met in our old conservative white hometowns. I shared hugs with a non-binary queer black person and a Muslim woman whose Arab parents fled war before she was born. People like them face a lot of hate in this world, and I’m hoping we can change that. They aren’t the type of people with whom I’m naturally most comfortable, but that’s another reason for me to thank you. Of course, the comfort I felt with them was based in part on all the travels I’ve done and people I’ve met before. But so much of it was because you gave me your heart, so loving and open to the world. It made me wonder if you were guiding me.

I’ve been getting quite a few compliments on the work I’m doing. It’s nice, but I really need to pass them along to you. Some people don’t understand what I’m trying to do, and some of them even fear it. Luckily, my sweet friend and weekend host gave me that card I stared at so often. It came from a game her children play, now leaving it incomplete. It was exactly the kind of gift you would give. It’s going to help me on this mission, reminding me always that you’re watching over me.

So thank you for watching over me, sweet lady, and for all that you’ve given me. I miss you. I love you.

Your baby boy,


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