I called my daughter and asked her to check my roast. ” I think it’s gonna taste like grandma’s this time.” I said.
“You’ve never gotten it like grandma’s, mama” she insisted.
” I have a couple of times, check it.” I said. “I think it’s gonna fall apart.”
“You’re right, mama…it is…you did it this time.” she said.
Last week, my cousin asked what my daughter’s favorite cake would be, planning ahead for birthday.
“She loved mama’s pound cake or the thin layer chocolate.” I answered.
Cake and my mama….always consistently rich, no holds barred, exceptionally outspoken, rich in taste and memorable.
You got what you expected, anticipated.
When I think of my mama, I think of cooking. I think of love expressed with joy.
I think of honest, simple, and no secrets…all expectations met.
Satisfied, satiated, blessed even. Her cooking was art.
Her conversations, her opinions, her advice were the same.
No cutting corners, nothing artificial, sometimes harsh.
Consistently honest and end of the story succinct.
Rarely soft or maternal.
She mothered the way she was mothered.
Industrious, focused and intentional. Harsh at times. Vacant, disengaged, exhausted at times.
She was overwhelmed. I understand now.
More than almost anything last week, on Mother’s Day…for Mother’s Day
I wanted to write my story about my mama….about a feeling I had come to know.
To understand now.
An opportunity to express the peace that comes from experience.
A place of perspective I found, of understanding finally.
I positioned this sepia toned little story. Mama, my aunt, silhouettes of my children, me as a pretty baby….beautiful imagery, idyllic, almost perfect.
I began to write about a memory.
A time, an encounter left hanging around for some time.
Still, it was painful and it was a troubling, limbo type story.
I drafted and trashed.
Too hurtful. Too honest. Too surprising maybe.
Edited and trashed.
The story of a cold, quiet night when I decided after months of drifting, disappearing, rebellious ignorance…to show up and ask my parents
“Why don’t you care?”
A story of the quiet of the room
The warmth of the fire, my palms hot behind my back as I waited
For answer, for punishment, for anger, for forgiveness.
Any attention is good attention for a wayward child.
No words except, ” We did all we could do.”
I left my family. I chased after the wind.
Got caught in terrible violent storm and
Stranded by choices
They stopped searching.
And so, that night, full of attitude and angst.
I blamed my mama.
But, she only listened in the quiet, daddy unmoved in agreement.
They had done all they could.
And I left, knowing then.
But, not realizing until now, more clearly now.
That this was truth. Is truth.
And I became still like a child, turned and left, beginning to see.
My heart not proud; my eyes not haughty. Psalm 131 :1
beginning to hope in the Lord.
She did the best she could.
The best I could do has been far different.
More hands on.
More intentional “love you’s” or random “love you’s”.
Daily affirmations or scripture sent in text messages
“Don’t forget I love you’s.”
Unconditional, my love for them, they are reminded in words.
Letters, notes, conversations.
Maybe overkill, so that love is not something cherished?
Can children become numb to our love?
Does independence lessen it’s worth? Reduce their longing for it?
Is it not the special secret treasure I had hoped….this yearning to love better than?
I hope not, but maybe. Flaws and failures, drifters sometimes. Children are humans in a crazy, enticing, all about me world.
Pathways are prone to drift. Roadmaps must be their’s not mine.
“God’s driving the bus, Lisa” mama said
I’m really just a ride along companion anticipating and praying over departures and destinations.
Grace comes when we are touched by ugly, but still love.
I can’t even remember when, because it doesn’t matter now.
I have forgotten.
But, one child questioned me.
Sort of “called me out”. It was hurtful and unexpected.
I didn’t react. On the outside at least.
Except to say “I love you and always will.”
“I’m doing the best I can.”
“I always have.”
And there it was.
After all this time since the firm, vacant look in front of the fire.
Clarity like a knock upon my door…the knock of a scary, rebellious, unwelcome child you say will never be yours.
And I saw my mama loving me.
Withholding anger. Choosing not to bring out my hurtful wrongs.
I saw clearly.
More clearly now.
More honest. Life, love and my words.
“I can only write honestly. Anything else is simply vacant, conspired, not wise. Bravery is healing.” A lesson from this community of writers
But you desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my in most being. Psalm 51:6