Friday, June 4, 2010

Cake and Gravy

As I sit here, eating my breakfast of biscuits and gravy, I am reminded of a birthday party we had for Jessica. I think she was 11 or 12, I can’t remember exactly. I do remember that she had a slumber party, and that for breakfast she wanted biscuits and gravy, her favorite. As I set the plates in front of them, she and her friends all dug in except for one girl. She looked up at me with an expression of confusion and said “what is this?” Jessica replied “biscuits and gravy, duh. Haven’t you ever had it?” Much to our surprise, the poor child had never heard of it. As we all stared at her, she took a tentative bite, chewed and then politely asked if I had any cereal. Bless her heart. Jessica was dumbfounded that she’d never had what we deemed the Food of the Gods. It was her comfort food, and her “I should have gone to bed earlier” food, if you know
what I mean.

I remember Jessica’s first birthday party. I decorated our small apartment with balloons and streamers while she napped, and when she woke up the balloons freaked her out. We gave her the obligatory piece of chocolate cake with inch-thick frosting, and she didn’t make too big of a mess. Classy even way back then.

I remember her 16th birthday, which was not as exciting for her as she had previously planned. You see, the month before, she and her friend had this bright idea that they’d “borrow” my car while I wasn’t home, and she was busted big time, grounded for a month, and told she’d have to wait to get her license. She did eventually get her license but not until almost July. Oh, the shame she endured for those few weeks.

I remember her 18th birthday, the last one we had. Her birthday fell on a Monday, and she was mad because the bakery she loved, Kruta’s, was closed on Mondays. I made her a cake, which she appreciated, but I could tell it really wasn’t what she wanted. I told her I’d buy her a and Kruta’s cake on Tuesday, and she cheered up. Spoiled little princess.

But today. Today should have been different. She would have been 21. She had been planning her 21st birthday for a few years. She was so excited that it fell on a Friday. She made all kinds of plans, such as renting a party bus and bar hopping on The Landing, going to the casino in St. Louis, or maybe even going to Las Vegas. We liked to dream big, you see. Whatever we did, it would have included new shoes, of course.

I woke up this morning and knew it was going to hurt today. Hell, it’s hurt all week. It’s so damn unfair that she’s gone, that Kelli’s gone, and that although we will celebrate her birthday today, it will be under the cloud of loss that we live with now.


Andrea said...

I'm so sorry that you're facing this. So damn sorry.

She would have been the life of the party on The Landing.

My word ver is forer, which I think is missing some letters, for her, forever.

MamaB said...

Happy Birthday Jessica! Your spirit and heart must have been beautiful! Prayers to you and your family Kim. I hope the sun shines today for you.

Annie said...

I am so glad you write about Jessica and Kelli. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet them, but when you write about them, it gives your readers a chance to feel the love and joy they brought to your life!

poppymom said...

21 years ago today, not only were you given a beautiful daughter, but you became a mom. Nothing can ever take that away from you. Remember Jessica today, and celebrate 21 years of being an extraordinary mother!

Not only are you a mother to your girls, but you're mothering all the people who hear and heed your message.

I didn't know Jessica, but as both a daughter and a mother, I know she would be so incredibly proud of everything you're doing.

Melody said...

I know today hurts and there is little consolation, but you have done so much to keep the girls' spirit alive. I didn't have the pleasure of becoming your friend until well after this happened, but just listening to the stories you tell and the way you talk about the girls has taught me some sad and some happy lessons on how to be a better mother, daughter and friend. I love you guys and am thinking of you.

Frogdancer said...

Happy Birthday Jessica.

(Biscuits and gravy?!? Sounds awful!!! You wild and crazy Americans!)

Big hugs from over here.

Tracy (Oklahoma) said...

I love to hear about your girls. What beauties they were. I can't even imagine your pain. I have a son who is 21 and a daughter who is 19. They are my world, as your girls were for you and as Maddy is still. I am so sorry that you have to endure this. It angers me the carelessness of people that cause a lifetime of pain for others. You are an inspiration to so many. I am praying for peace for you all. God Bless.

Magic27 said...

I'm arriving after the battle, but I wish you peace and happiness on this difficult day, and every other day. Your strength and courage are remarkable. Love to you and your sweet daughter Maddie.

And now, as a Brit living in the south of France, can you tell me what the hell "biscuits" and "gravy" is? For me, a "biscuit" is a sweet, often chocolate-covered thing you eat with a cup of tea and "gravy" the juice/sauce you get with a roast joint of meat. The idea of them together makes my stomach heave, so I'm guessing they mean something different in your part of the world...