At first, she was always surprised that she was accepted. And more than that, looked to, her company welcomed – enjoyed. How could she fit it? She didn’t have the money, the pedigree – but no one else thought that. She came with me across the country. To shows in Minneapolis, Chicago, New York. She dressed in her curated, tasteful style – tall, elegant, crisp white collars – popped to present her ever smiling face. I was so proud to have her stand beside me, my mom. She knew the pricing, the availability, and more than that, she knew the stories behind each piece of art, each book, each card.
This didn’t surprise me. I knew she could do it. But the real gift came for me when I saw that she knew she could do it. When I saw her belonging. Belonging, not because someone told her she did, but belonging because she herself felt it in her heart, her soul, her being. This is something!!!! To belong.
I think she’s still delighted when people remember her, from galleries in New York, shops in the Midwest, bookstores across the country. And why wouldn’t they?! I’m delighted! I’m delighted every time she tells me what she’s wearing to her doctor’s appointment. She makes the effort, and oh some days what an effort it takes!!! Because she belongs here, in her own skin, in this beautiful life that she has made.
I walked into the art gallery in Rhode Island. The neon sign read, “You belong here.” I knew it in my heart. My soul. My being. This was not my first glowing sign, my mother will always be that.
Welcome to this day. You belong here.