The winner of The Valentine's Day Contest is...
Maria Kuroshchepova... with the following marvelous letter to her Mother.
#1 "Dear Mom."
I wish you were here. By “here” I don't just mean still alive and well. I literally mean here – where I am writing this. I am writing this with a top-of-the-line pen from a posh little stationery store in Asheville, North Carolina in a journal I bought in a posh little stationery store in Paris. I am reclining in a comfy chaise lounge, in a beautiful subterranean man-made cavern, by a pool infused with essential minerals, surrounded by light, soothing music and the sound of waterfalls, some of which are heated. You would have loved this place!
Not a day goes by without my doing, seeing or experiencing something extraordinary and thinking about you in the process. The whole grownup thing that started so early for me, when we lost you, ended up working up ok. But I cannot help feeling that it would have been been better if you and I had a chance to be grownups together.
I have friends, with whom I shared incredible things. And my husband is a fantastic conversationalist and travel partner. But there are some things it just doesn't occur to me to do with others, because they are not you.
I don't sing while walking down the street anymore, because you are not there to sing harmony and to help me not care what anyone else might think. When we go riding in Wyoming, I wish you were there, so that there could be two of us laughing our butts off trying to get onto regular-size horses with our short legs.
As I sit here and write this, I wish you were here to give me a nudge and suggest that we get a carafe of red wine and drink it with a side of dark chocolate chips and cranberries, while soaking in the outdoor hot tub and enjoying the view of the snow-covered mountain slopes. By myself, I seem to be missing that light touch of insanity required to do just that.
Many people who knew you say that I am a lot like you. But I am not. I don't think there is another person in the world, who could enter a room full of strangers, be charming and engaging with women, fun and flirtatious with men, all the while maintaining perfect authenticity of demeanor and remaining a perfect lady.
There are so many aspects of my life I wish I could introduce you to. I know you would have embraced Facebook and thrown yourself headlong into the blogisphere. You would have entered the technologically reduced world the same way you used to enter rooms full of strangers – and would have owned it too.
Saying that I miss you feels too flat and inaccurate. I am not saying that this is some grand and tragic emotion worthy of Shakespeare's pen. Rather, when I think of you, I feel in me a strengthening desire to live life with all the intensity I can muster – to make up for what you missed, as well as for my own sake.