From one daughter to another. My Ami, you were a daughter, too. You were the daughter of two people who loved you to pieces. You were the mother of two daughters, who thought you hung the moon. We didn’t always know the right questions to learn what we wanted to know—but because of you, we learned everything we needed to know.
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You always voted Democrat; I have no doubt that your absentee ballot would have been for a woman who looks like you.
Seeing her being sworn in today, I thought of how you taught us to vote; this is how you pull the lever, this is how you fill in the circle.
One of the highest roles in the country went to a woman today. She is fighting for our rights under the law. As a mother, you fought for ours when we were the only ones in our school, and as a daughter, you would have seen that and loved it.
She comes from a mixed family; the first to hold this power and use her mixed heritage as simply part of the conversation. When I married into a mixed relationship, I was the first in our family. You and I had so many conversations about what that would mean.
So, because you’re not here, I tried to bring you here.
I swiped on your lipstick, surprised by its brightness, remembering how you would have made me blend it with another’s, so I used the one you gave me to tone it down to desi-daughter status.
I wrapped your dupatta around my shoulders, the one you wore the most often to visit my Khala.
I hooked on the necklace you gave me when I was about to leave the world you knew, the one I wore proudly in a country you came to know and love as I did.
I slipped on the dress you gave as one of your last presents to me, once again pleased by how well it fit me.
I patted on the foundation you and I bought together, one of the best shopping trips we took, where we ran into someone we knew, who was as shocked by you being gone as me.
But you’re not here.
And that still feels wrong.
While today is an exciting moment in history, I find my heart racing for another reason. You’re not here, and no matter hard I try to bring you back, there’s no secret code, no answer to the question…you’re still not here.