Ellen, where does the time go?
Whoo! I’m telling you. Has it really been almost a week since I wrote? You know what? How does ANYBODY have time to get their nails done? Mine always look sporty cuz they are running track with life. They never slow down! Although, tonight, I filled the tub with this green bath salts that smells like peppermint and oatmeal… I got it at the most adorable grocery store down the street (Sun Harvest)…let me know if you want some and I will send it along… and then I soaked in the tub for 35 minutes. I didn’t read the paper. I didn’t count my toes. I didn’t daydream or think of things I needed to be doing. I just sat there in the steam and fell asleep. Oh, it was so glorious. I could hear children laughing down the hall, and my husband was in the bedroom folding laundry, and I just drifted off into the most yummy sleep.
Which, when I woke up, made me think about being a mom. And how great it is. And then it made me think about how all the moms I know are swell people, and all the times my mommy friends have gone to bat for me, or patted me on the back, or taken my children for a playdate so I could take a nap or clean the house, or the times we’ve actually all gotten together and had dinner and a drink and a good, long laugh over the stories of our lives.
So, I’d like to thank all the moms I know, and I know you know what I mean cause you really relish your mom, so maybe I’ll just start right there…with the long line of moms in my family, as far back as I can remember:
MY MOM’S SIDE
Great Great Great Grandma Abigail Adams…thank you for having all those kids and for running the farm and writing all those love letters to your husband and for having a quick wit and describing child birth in detail by penning to John while he was away. I bet you never got manicures, either.
(Missing this link in here)
Great Grandma Mamoo….you were one tough broad, birthing 11 children and living in a two room house in Alabama. I can not believe you were married for 75 years. I’ve got good memories of sleeping in your house and watching my great-aunts can fresh veggies and sweet strawberries just like you did. I know I sat on your knee. It was bony, but that’s cause you worked yourself honest.
Meema—Well, you sure could be stingy and sharp with your tongue, but you taught me how to play cards and enjoy baseball on the radio. You helped me build tents out in the piney woods of Atlanta, and you were the first person to ever call me a bitch! But, I was a
moody teenager at the time, and I deserved it, probably, so there was a part of me that thought you were on to something and I thank you for that early lesson.
My mom—who likes to be called “Zelda” for no other reason than it makes you happy, who can tear up a bathroom and rebuild it in a day, who introduced me to weaving and clay and drawing and let me buy all the dinosaur models I wanted as a child. Who didn’t guffaw when I came out dressed up as Santa at, cotton balls glued all over my face, because you knew I wanted to make the smaller kids down the street smile. Who let me have cats and guinea pigs, and cried with me when my dogs had to go away (allergies.) Who let me
staple animal pictures torn out of all the National Geographics all over my bedroom wall, and let me build volcanoes out of mud in the back yard. Who hired guitar teachers and read me books and explained what the future could be and has stood by my side, all my life, and ran down the empty halls of that giant hotel in Dallas, where we laughed, alone, and felt like the last two people on earth. Who sits in the audience when I sing and gazes up at me, sometimes singing along, and now has audiences of her own, wooing them with her poems and stories and shared faith of hope and glory. Who helped me birth my children and picked me up when I passed out, and washed my body as a tiny baby and , then, as a broken woman, and told me I could be whatever I wanted to be in this big, old world…but that I must never give up. That there is a light at the end of every dark tunnel. Thank you, mommy.
And to all my mommy friends….Julie, Leah, Alice, Corinna, Nina, Margaret, Rory, Sarah, Jen, Emily, Diane, Bertha, Fran, Karen, Lorrie, Lori, Sharon, Lisa, Kathy, Corinne, Kim, Kelly, Candi, Louise, Mickey…..oh, the list is so long!!!…all my girlfriends who are mothers and who bond together to make the days memories of shared dreams, gentle touch and a community of yes. Thank you.
MY DAD’S SIDE
Great-Great Grandma Orr…I didn’t know you, but I know you drove mules and farmed, too. I also know you were from Germany and had my great-grandfather, who became an opera singer. That’s so cool.
Great Grandma Hickman…I don’t know a thing about you! Why is that? I am so sad. I must find out.
Grandma…You let me sit by your side on the piano bench while you and Grandpa played “Five Foot Two” and “Moonlight in Vermont” and “Jeepers Creepers”, and the songs you wrote together…Grandpa playing his saxophone, you sweeping with intent and
relish across the keys, watching your feet change pedals, the top open to let the chords round the room and fill my heart with excitement. Golden threaded slippers and staying up late at the circular glass kitchen table to play solitaire, and always, ALWAYS, making food for everyone, never stopping to sit down and join us, working the rug between table and stove. You with the colored miniature glass bottles, the morning sun sneaking through to dot your countertop with reds and blues and orange and green. A closet full of fancy clothes, furs and ancient quilts from long ago, the cedar bursting in my nose and taking me back in time. You who laughed at my childish jokes and whose hands were fine, and delicate, and I could hold one in my hand and we would sit and say nothing at all.
Asking me questions, after my parents divorce, gently, trying to find the source of my sorrow. You who pasted the picture of me and George Burns right onto the wallpaper in the entranceway of your home so each and every person who walked in the door could see who your granddaughter had met.
You are all the women who reminded me, and taught me, and carried me, and urged me, to have a room of my own.
And for this, I am eternally grateful, with all my heart. And I will teach my daughters the same thing…to notice the texture of the cloth they wear, to hear the sounds of the early mockingbird, to enjoy the color of the sunset and the taste of Morocco and the journey of an excellent read. To weep when someone is hurting, to reach out and help or share a laugh, to tithe, to clean up after themselves, to write thank you notes, to enjoy the surprise of a gift or flowers, to carry on when they are so weary they just want to lay down their heads and pass out, to enjoy their childhood and regale in their womanhood, to ask when they don’t understand, and to surround themselves with
people of their own gender who can walk the road of life as a comrade in arms….