My mom sent me four autumn leaves in the mail.
They were the first she gathered from the trees near her home. I found them pressed together neatly in a card with her signature handwriting slanting almost vertical along the page.
She said she wanted to send them to me so I wouldn't forget about the fall.
Delicate and impossibly light, I removed the leaves from the card and carefully placed them on the kitchen table. I had a sinking feeling they were going to fly away even though I was inside. I sat there staring at them and imagining my mom in a younger version of herself, walking in the autumn leaves with her big rimmed sunglasses and pink lips, my cheeks pressed into my hands, tears streaming down my face.
So much for getting tougher with age. I only soften.
These are the gifts I cherish most. The gestures, the kindnesses and the feelings I no longer have words for.