There is a photo sitting in the place of honor on my mantel.  It's the photo I would love to have: A photo of my mom, looking kind of happy, when I am older than 8, not drunk, not looking put-out, not awkwardly trying to look away from the camera, not pissed, not putting me on her -list, looking companionable and physically touching her daughter.

But, I'm not in that photo- this treasure of a photo on my mantel is of my mom and my sister right before my sister's wedding.  It's the best I've got, so place of honor it sits.

My mom had a narcissist thing going, but it was overshadowed the last decade by her alcoholism.  When she died this Summer, so many things were missing.  My sister and I went through boxes of photos: supposedly for her memorial video, but- I was trying to find evidence that she did love us.  Somewhere, decades back, in the photos of a happy, normal childhood I would find photographic proof that she loved us, that she touched us, that she enjoyed us.  You can't take care of chubby toddlers and not love them, hug them, kiss them, right?

I think I found what I needed.  Here's one of the best I have, I'm maybe nine years old and I'm talking to her and she is paying attention to me.

She paid attention, once upon a time.  I don't really remember, but it must be there. It is here at least, captured.  No matter what came after. I have this moment.

I miss what should have been

I miss the good memories and warm feelings that were with-held from me

I miss the chance of things ever getting better

I miss the songs that I chose for her memorial video that I can't listen to without crying now.

I miss the right thing to say to my sister who is just now re-surfacing from depression over mom's death.

we tip-toe over the missing parts

I miss her, the mom I think I remember from childhood.  I miss who she should have been.

She could have been amazing.

There is a photo on my mantel, and it reminds me of what I'm missing.