|Grandma & her girls - also known as "The Sisters."|
If there was a book called “Parenting 101” my Momma could have written it. You see, my Momma was raised by an amazing woman herself. Grandma was one of those rare women who only comes along once in a lifetime. She saw everything in life through Jesus' eyes and she passed that along to all four of her daughters and of course her two sons as well. There are people who like to “brag” about how faithful they are, they go on and on about it to the point you wonder who they are trying to convince. It's kind of like the person who does a good deed for someone, but then has to make sure that everyone knows what a wonderful person they are for doing it. It makes you wonder what their real motive was for doing it. Grandma wasn't like that, she didn't wear her faith on her sleeve for everyone to see, she carried it in her heart where God dwelled.
Oops – got off track there – sometimes my mind gets sidetracked momentarily.
Momma had very expressive blue eyes and you knew immediately what her reaction was going to be by how they changed. There was nothing, I mean nothing worse than when she looked at me with disappointment because of something I had done wrong. It would have been less painful to have a beating (which she never did) than that look. It was a look that went right to the core where shame lives. I'd get mad at her for being mad at me. – After all I was 7 and should be able to do what I wanted. I would storm off to my room, lay on my bed and face the wall because I knew she would be coming up those stairs shortly. I'd hear her on the first step, then the second, now the third, with every step I got closer to the wall. I knew what was coming and it made me madder than a wet hen. She would sit on the edge of my bed and not say anything for a minute or two, all the while I pulled further away. She would finally break the silence with - “Terri – I have a little story here I want to read to you.” Oh man, I knew she would have one of those darn stories. We had a set of books called “Bedtime Stories for Children” and all the stories had some sort of message in them. Inch by inch, as she read the story, I would move away from the wall closer to her. By the time the story was coming to an end I was in her lap. She would explain to me why she got mad and tell me how much she loved me and all was well again. I don't know how she dealt with my brothers in similar situations because I was younger than they were, however, she certainly knew what worked with me. Momma said that when she was little and would get mad at her Mom that grandma would sing this silly song to her until she finally would laugh. It went like this:
Lucille is mad and I am glad
A bottle of ink to make her stink
And a little boy to squeeze her.
As I grew older I noticed that the look changed somehow. It went from disappointment to concerned understanding. All three of us kids went to Momma whenever we needed to make a decision or had a problem to work out. She would quietly listen to everything we had to say. She would help us weigh out the pros and cons. She might offer an opinion or give some advise, but never did she tell us what to do. That was something we had to decide for ourselves. Never once did she say “you'll be sorry if you do that.” But, at the same time we knew when she wasn't on board with what we decided by the dreaded comment: “Well, you have to do what you think is right.” She knew that in order for us to grow as individuals that we had to make our own choices in life because we were the ones that had to carry them through. Many was the time I had wished I had done what she thought was right instead of what I thought was right, but that's how we learn.
After Darrell died I went through a period of time when I couldn't seem to find any purpose in my life. I felt as though if I had never been born it wouldn't have changed anything in this world. I had so wrapped my life into his that I didn't know who I was. It's a terrible feeling to have when you think you are useless. I always turned to Momma in times like these. She knew me so well that she could pull me from the depths of sorrow with just a touch. When I poured my heart out to Momma she said to me: “How can you say that you have no purpose in life? I prayed for you to be born and God answered my prayer with you. You have so many gifts that you share so willingly with everyone – this alone is worth more precious than diamonds or gold.” It's difficult to think of life without her to talk to every day. No matter how old we get, we just don't outgrow our need for our Momma's. I don't know how she did it but she just always seemed to know what we needed at any given time in our lives. There is a quote from Winnie the Pooh that reminds me of something that Momma would say. It goes like this:
"If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you should always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."
There are so many things I could say about the kind of parent she was but there are not enough pages in a book to write them all.
Amongst Momma's treasures there was love and understanding. Next to that was a box filled with wisdom, strength and perseverance.
To be continued.