Happy Mother’s Day, Mamala!
I remember your belted, fit and flare house dresses while you mopped and ironed. I recall your pin curls and pony-tails and flats and when you first tried pantyhose, the revolutionary invention that saved you from a life of daily girdling.
Last November. My mom was telling me how perfect that leaf was.
I recall huge family Sunday dinners and the one piece of chocolate cake always missing from the corner – the way you rewarded yourself for having to get up and cook at 5 am on Sundays, go to Sunday School, then church, then drive lots of people home, then come home and feed us, then get us all back to church for the YPE and Junior choir before Sunday night service. You deserved every crumb of that chocolate cake corner, mamala.
You followed pops from church to church and city to city and made a potato dish at every single meal until Louisiana when you finally learned the right way to make rice, too.
You combed our my tangles an helped me finish cleaning my room because I always thought it meant a total reorganization and in-depth re-do and in my emotional collapse when the job took forever, you would start showing me how close I was to done – and I’d just sit there smiling, while you finished it. You saved me.
Mom was learning the art of a selfie.
You played the piano and taught me all the important songs every child should know like, “Well, it’s a highway to heaven,” and “Jesus on the mainline-tell Him what you want.”
And when I started choosing my own music, you so lovingly learned each one by ear and playing it in my invariably low-voiced key and you’d add harmony and oh, I miss singing with you, mommiekins!
You’re such a nice person – everyone wanted you for a mom. So many people all over the nation and probably in the nations where you have traveled and loved on people, too, love the Norma! But you really are my mom. And after losing several babies before me and having the doctors say you may never be able to carry to term (boy, were they wrong!), I love knowing how very much you looked forward to my arrival and how very glad you were to have me, 23 hand-sewn dresses as proof awaiting me…and 8 boys outfits, just in case.
Not long before Grandpa died, you were there, loving him, brightening his final days with fun and songs
The one life’s regret you have shared with me, in a life you have loved and embraced with gusto, is your sadness at not understanding your own mom and not being there for her, not “having time.” And I really think you were a wonderful daughter and she thought so, too. But it has helped me reflect a little more on what matters and hanging out with you is a big deal to me. You have shown honor to your mom, your stepmom and your dad, all gone now, and I am set on repaying you for it, so grateful for the chance.
Just a couple of years later, not long before she died, you were there, singing Grandma’s favorite songs to her. She was your stepmom, and you loved her for “stepping in” with so much love.
So many ways I love you and miss you, but my most recent memories are becoming my favorites. Because I laugh with you more than anyone else. You are hilarious and strong, and innocent and guileless, and silly and ornery and just plain lovely. You are the lasso queen and kick dad and me in the butt in corn-hole. You are pretty cool, it turns out. Happy Mother’s Day to the BEST there ever was! Still is!
And to the 4 lovelies who just amaze me
I have learned from each of you what grace under pressure looks like, what being great wives looks like. I see you each as such able, creative, successful business women and good-hearted ministers of grace. You please God, you wow others, you serve and love your families. And oh-my-goodness, you are just drop-dead-gorgeous, inside and out!
That is why, I have no doubt, God entrusted the 9 grandbebes to you, because He knew he could count on you to be who He called you to be and do what he called you to do in their lives. No small order. But you all four, Tara, Stephie, Dessa and Jovan – you are all doing it with such beauty, energy, zealousness and panache! I am so proud of all of you, so inspired my your lives. REALLY!