I have the teensiest strip of green nail polish at the tips of my big toes. It isn't a New Mexican pedicure or anything like that, but the remains of one I had way back last August.
My mom was in the last stages of lung cancer and I took a couple days off from being the caregiver. I was tired, grieving, and needed a distraction so sister-in-law Pattie suggested a pedicure place. The pedicurist laughed when I admired my shiny green toenails and joked, "There's a fungus among us." The next day we went to a Chinese leg and foot massage place where they pummeled and brutalized us and we obediently paid twenty dollars.
I haven't had a pedicure since that August experience, not because we are here in New Mexico and it's hard to just hop down to the local nail salon, but because the green on my toenails is a link to a time when my mom was still alive. Two weeks after that pedicure, she was dead. And I decided not to get a pedicure until the polish was gone.
There's about an eighth of an inch left, an excellent pedicure to have lasted so long, and the day after Mothers' Day I will finally snip away the last bit of green.
When I was born, I was separated from my mother with a snip of the umbilical cord and I cried. It's not exactly the same, but in a way I suppose clipping those thin crescents of green nail polish will be severing the connection between my mom living then and me living in the now. I will cry, realizing I am no longer defined as the daughter, but as a mother, whose daughter will someday take care of me when I am old.
When the end gets near, I will send her off for a pedicure.