The day I got my first period, I chose a box of OB Tampons because they would be easier to hide from my mother and my classmates — and from the cashier as I zipped past her with the slender box of tampons shoved up my sleeve.
My then 9-year-old sister informed me that "Mommy told me that she only has three children, and you are not one of them."
The reality that I can never truly understand where my mom came from hit me hard. I am indeed a tourist to her life at times.
A couple of years ago, I started writing both of you letters. Slowly at first, as my health took a gentle downward dive; and then more fervently, at NPO midnights and early surgical mornings.