Sunday, May 8, 2011

Arising Up

Before Alzheimer's, Grandma loved to tell about Dad's asking her to sign permission for my seventeen-year-old mom to marry.  "I'll sign," Grandma said, "but not until after she graduates."

"But I have to have her," Dad moaned.

Grandma stood her ground.  "You might have to have her," she insisted, "but you have to wait until after she graduates."

Mom was five months from eighteen when she graduated high school and married my dad: 5'8" with chocolate-drop eyes and long, brown legs: more beautiful than a movie star.  On purpose, they waited four years before bringing me into the world and a little house they'd built together. 

Pregnant with Me

Me on Mom's Lap
4 Generations: Grandma B., Mom, Grandma G. Holding Me

Dad will admit, freely: he would've preferred to have Mom to himself forever.  I was born solely out of a desire in my twenty-one-year-old mother's heart. 

And I tell you, honestly: so far as I know and can recollect, my mother always did everything just right.  She breastfed and read stories, sewed dresses, chaperoned field trips, led Girl Scout troops, baked cookies, played games, gardened and cooked, kept a perfect house, and loved her family with her whole heart.

I can't recall my mom's ever smacking or yelling at me.  She chased me with a cake turner a couple times, but she just ended up laughing.  She focused on the good (for which she encouraged and praised), and she forgave easily. 

I have never for one second doubted my mother's love.  At thirty-seven, I want her, still, when I am hurt or sick.  She has attended the births of my three children and made everything well with her care and comfort.  When she comes to town, my house fills with visitors, some of whom have never visited, before.  She remains beautiful and, more importantly, good.

Probably, there is nothing my mother can't do.  In addition to breastfeeding (even while driving a Volkswagen Beetle), sewing, gardening, cooking and baking, I have known her to make candy, run, weave baskets, paint, craft stained glass, ride horses, raise cattle, can food, parachute from an airplane, teach, work as a bank teller and bookkeeper, sing, scrapbook, pray and praise.

If ever I have not been a mommy's girl, it has been only because--even in her human imperfection--my mother is the most perfect human I have ever known. It can be somewhat frustrating, intimidating, to be her daughter.  I am aiming for 25%.  

Yes, 25% would be excellent, and my proudest moments are those in which I feel my mother stirring within me because I have stayed up late, sewing patches onto a gi or Boy Scout shirt.  Or delivered cookies to my son's class or troop.  Or curled into a dimly-lit room with my baby, watching her as she fills her belly with my milk.  Or looked deeply and sadly into my older daughter's eyes while saying, gently, "No-no, MeMe," instead of smacking her for smacking me, or yelling at her for yelling at me.  Those are the moments during which I feel I may be arriving, that there may be hope, yet, for me.  That, perhaps, even during those times I grieved and hurt my mother, some of the seeds she planted took root in me.

I am the only girl to ever slide from my mother's body.  God chose her just for me.  I can barely fathom the gift of it. 

I can't allow Mother's Day 2011 to draw to a close without putting a fine point on it and saying, with pride: I love my mother.  I have sobbed while writing this.  I have arisen up.  I have called her blessed.

Mom Holding My Nephew CJ and Cade

4 Generations (Cade in Mom's Lap)

My Parents and Cade

1 comment:

  1. gorgeous! What an example to have had Brandee. You are a blessed girl. I pray my own will some day look at me as you look at your mom.