"Buckle up. It's the question of the day. Who do you think you are?"
"Are you asking me that like someone would when they're mad?"
"It's a question people ask when they're mad, but I'm not mad. And, you know, if you think about it it really is a great question. So who? Who do you think you are?"
She smiles. It's a car ride question, and those can be the best. Like two weeks ago when she asked, "Has anyone ever told you you talk a lot?" I hope to never forget that question because that's when we both started laughing.
"Yeah, someone may have mentioned that a time or two."
Let's stop right there to say I guess she's right. If I'm not talking I am writing. Somewhere, someday (nobody really knows why though they've thought about it a time or two) I declared myself someone who is always trying to communicate something. Only when I started writing did I realize what a complete fool I could be, but then it felt good to finally admit it.
"Daughter," she says.
We both smile and nod.
"I'm a little sister and a big sister."
"That's right. That's right. You're a granddaughter and a great granddaughter."
"And great, great, great, great, great," she says a lot of 'em.
Then continues, "I'm a girl."
"I'll be a mother one day."
"Give me a couple of decades. Back it on up, child."
Again with the smile.
"I am a friend."
"Yes, a friend. You are a student."
"I am a student."
"You are an athlete."
"I am an athlete," she glows.
"You are a musician."
It's becoming a party, a party of nods and grins and we don't need the radio.
"I am a gueeetar player. That's how Tyler says it."
"I love it."
"I am smart.Wait. "
All of a sudden the party ended. Our music stopped.
"I don't want to compare myself to others."
"Hold up, girl who is all those other things. You didn't say smarter. You just said smart. I see no reason for you not to claim that."
"Okay. I am smart."
"There you go. It's funny, I think."
"How so much of who we say we are is who we are to others."
She smiles and nods again.
"But every once in a while it might not be a bad idea to ask that of ourselves. Claim the great, child."
Today I am grateful for a car ride dialogue when we laugh and ponder all the greatness. I am grateful for the counseling I receive from children. I am grateful for the who, who by all accounts left us tonight.
I am grateful to now better understand that the who she was will remain. I am grateful for a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a crazy aunt, a friend to everyone she met, a storyteller, a woman who needed help and who would give anything to anyone.
I am grateful for legends and legacies, of how my connection to her means she'll never leave us.
I am grateful to be who she was to me.
(but for tonight. just for tonight I turned off the music.)