While this picture is nearly 10 years old, it frequently crosses my mind and makes me smile. It captures my mama so well.That's her, in a hole that she dug, fixing a pipe she laid! I don't remember the exact circumstances of this photo, but it had something to do with her beloved (and quite impressive) fish pond. Do you see the bliss on her face? She has a long history with dirt, and that mud is a badge of honor!
Recently I asked her about the early years of television, to which she should have been a witness. Her response was that she didn't remember spending much time watching it. She was much more interested in playing outside in the dirt.
She's also shared a story about how her sister ran all the way from the pasture to the the house to tell on her for saying a bad word. What caused her to spew that 4 letter word? She'd been making a mud pie, and it had broken apart.
Another time I questioned her about her cousin, Sue, who's now a university professor. She recalled how, when they played together, Sue was usually engrossed in a book while my mom was working on her outdoor playhouse, creating a carpet from moss she'd gathered.
It's no wonder that for years all she wanted was a little Bobcat dirt mover thingy (sometimes I just can't find the right word, you know?). When we'd ask what she'd do with one, she say, "Oh, I just want to be able to move dirt here, and then maybe there." Fascinating - and a little unique?
Oh, how I love my mama. With the exception of my husband, I've no closer friend. She's passed to me some of her interests, such as crafting, playing the piano, and yard sale-ing (I make these words up as I go along). Although I live over 2 hours away from her, I always enjoy and treasure my time with her.
As I reflect on our relationship and her influence on my life, certain occasions come to mind immediately...
- I can see her going to the piano one Sunday in church, beckoning me to follow. While I protested loudly and all the way down the aisle, I sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children" that Sunday, just as we'd practiced over and over again. At 3 years old, it would be the first of many times that I would sing for my Lord in the years to come.
- I remember her sitting on my bed providing comfort and scripture to me as I cried because I was concerned about whether or not I was really saved. I would depend on and remember that counsel for many years later.
- She was my Girl Scout leader from 3rd -12th grades and was tireless in her efforts to organize wonderful trips to places like Washington, DC, sell ridiculous amounts of Girl Scout cookies, and help us pull off colossal events such as a well-attended medieval fair. She sewed many of my clothes until I began to get overly concerned about being "cool" and having name brands. Then she saw that I had one precious pair of Victoria Vanderbilt jeans to wear as I began junior high school. She later made my prom dress!
- She put together a beautiful wedding for me and my first husband. This included a last-minute rescue of my wedding dress which hadn't turned out as well as we'd hoped when she'd hired a professional seamstress to make it!
- A month later, she became a strong base of support as I began to lose my husband to cancer. Five months later, she was a rock for me as I was left weak from the grief of losing him. This period of my life is a bit of a blur, but I'll always remember the day I stopped mid-sentence in the middle of a story, realizing I'd already told her that story. Then I realized I'd told it several times before. I looked at her face and saw compassion and patience as she waited for me to continue. I realized that she'd been enduring these repetitions for my sake. She was letting me talk it out, something I later learned is very important for those who are grieving.
- Within two years, she was shaken when I suddenly became ill. She cared for me daily and took me to the many doctor visits and tests required to determine that I had multiple sclerosis. Then she set out to find all she could about the disease and how to live with it the best way possible.
- Laden with supplies (including everything from cross stitch kits to finger sandwiches), she traveled over 2 hours to care for me when I was placed on bed rest with my first pregnancy. It was then I learned that, although a grandmother loves her grandchildren, it's her own children that concern her the most.
If reading this made you think of your mama, talk with her today about something, anything you treasure about her!