Drowning in Memories

I have come to the conclusion that the dark side of this second season is that as we age the losses come with more frequency. When we find our footing after torrential grief the button gets pushed again. And again.

My grandmother is making her way home to heaven. Towards the man she was married to and loved for over half a century. To a place she believes in with every fiber of her being. She’s given us several close calls this last year but the hospice staff tells us we won’t be granted a reprieve this time. Though I think Em and I will hold out hope until that final call comes.

My brain has become a time machine of memories. My grandma, I call her Mom, was a huge part of my childhood. My 17 year old mother had no idea what to do with a newborn born with a birth defect in need of constant medical attention. I was raised in my grandparents home during my formative years thus learning to call my grandma “Mom” from hearing my mother do so.

I have years of memories of being sent to stay with my grandmother when I was sick. When I was recovering from any one of the 50 surgeries I had before my 18th birthday. When I needed to be taken to endless doctor appointments. It was always Mom that I remember taking me. I am sure my mother was there somewhere but it’s Taco Bueno and Bennigan’s lunch dates with Mom that I remember across the street from Memorial City hospital. It’s ENDLESS pots of our families “slumghetti” recipe she would make when I was sick. (She swore after the third pot when Em was born she would never make it again. She did – she just didn’t eat it after that!) Recipes that can’t be recreated because they are missing the touch of love I’m sure she put in them.

I spent most of yesterday trying to remember the last time she made me any “slumghetti”. I can’t. I didn’t know it would be the last time. When we broke down her house last year the memories were packed away in boxes. Boxes I find myself wanting to open and just rewind time.

Mom and I’s relationship changed after PawPaw died. She swore it was because we loved him best. She just didn’t know how hard it was to be around her without him and with the knowledge that she too would leave me. First PawPaw, then Fred three years later, now her five years after that. I look around at people that I love dearly who aren’t getting any younger and I know this is one part of life I’m going to have to get a little stronger at. Does one ever really get good at saying goodbye?

Em & Mom

This picture is one of my favorite of Mom. That joy? She always had it when Em was around. I have siblings that would tell you she had it with me too, and I’m sure she did, but our bond was forged deep on the years she was there for me when people who should have been weren’t. With Em? She got to just do the joy. She knew I had Em in all the ways my mother let me down so she just got to love her the way a grandmother should. Even if she was her great grandmother. So precious for those two to have 20 years…how many great grandmothers get that? I know Em is drowning in more memories than I am but I also know there is a part of her that will be glad when Mom gets the one thing she has wanted for eight long years. To be with PawPaw again.

You have heard this from me more than once. You’ll probably always hear it from me. Life is short. Precious. Getting more so by the day. Hold those you love close. Appreciate those who are there for you because they want to be not because they have to be. Love HARD. It’s the only way to survive this life.

Blessings y’all – Amy

A mother’s point of view…

With Mother’s Day finally in the rear view these thoughts have been bubbling for a while.

While some would argue that only childbirth makes you a mother it is so much deeper than that. To me? A mother is defined as someone, anyone, who can put the needs of another person ahead of their own and lead them. Be that biological, foster, step, adoptive, aunt, grandmother, sister, cousin, niece, friend, or family in those roles by choice. A woman who sets aside her own needs, feelings, thoughts, and wants and sacrifices for your greatness. Who in a million ways you never see sheds countless tears and asks herself a million times if she is doing the right thing, if she did the right thing, if she was ENOUGH for you. Who sits up with you when you are sick, who balances a home, work, and everything in between to make sure you have the childhood she never had. The woman in your life who STEPS UP.

Perhaps one of the reasons this is one of my favorite Bible verses is it’s application to not only the love between a man and wife but also all love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

As a mother, you catch yourself failing sometimes in the “it does not insist on it’s own way” part. As a Mama Bear there is no greater pull inside you than to protect your child at all costs. To follow your instincts on what is right for those God trusted you to care for. That doesn’t have an expiration date. Whether they are 3 or 30, the urge to run into oncoming traffic to protect never dies. The instinct to fling your arm out across the passenger seat at a hard stop doesn’t suddenly turn off because they are adults. When they have kids of their own you’ll still worry when you know you kid is sick.

At what point does that willingness to be fearless in protecting turn into a bad thing? At what point do you go from being a great mom to being the mom who is starved just for a phone call on mandatory “call your mom” holidays? Leaving you wondering – did I do it wrong? What happened?

Take heart ladies. This, my friends, is the answer. You didn’t do it wrong. You did such a good job you set them into the world where they don’t need the safety net that is you. They are now the fearless ones. You built their wings so strong they are flying high. Does it suck that they forget who made them that strong? Yep. Does it hurt like the dickens? Holy heck yes. But Proverbs 22:6 says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” They want to set the world on fire right now. They know where they came from and in times of crisis they will turn to you. It will be your voice they crave.

I spent most of Mother’s Day 2021 alone. I ached for my children. I cried when the phone rang and when the door opened. I cried at the emptiness of the house and the flood of posts on social media. I will never get used to that. But God pushed me to watch a sermon last night that reminded me of the truths I share with you today. I didn’t do it wrong. I got it so right – they are good human beings. I made them the amazing humans they are (I had some help from my hubby). And when the timing is right my home will be filled again with the love and laughter that makes my heart happy. Until then…I got it right.