I don’t smoke.
I didn’t grow up with 14 siblings.
I didn’t work at a turkey plant cleaning up turkey guts.
I haven’t lost a child to suicide.
Even so, early this morning @ 6 am, I find myself leaning under my Elder bush transplanting a flower and the thought hit me:
I am my mother!
She had a beautiful yard. She would go out early in the coolness of the morning, sometimes before the sun was fully up, and weed. She despised weeds and my dad despised ants. Between the two, they kept their 1/13 of an acre virtually weed free and ant free!
Growing up and then starting my family, I had lots of thoughts of NOT raising my kids the way my parents did.
- Poor communication
- NO communication
- Silent treatment
- Old, old house
- No vacation memories
- Constant struggling with survival
- No real goals except to get through the day
- Family fell apart & she didn’t see most of her kids the last 10 years of her life
- Always pushing up her glasses & trying to see
- Always trying to cover her gray hair
I started out with great intentions. I made it my daily goal to master the secret of self-improvement. I was going to figure out all the answers then I could relax and enjoy a life of ease and have a happy family.
But here I am, three days away from turning 54. Fifty Four! My mama has been gone 13 years.
The similarities are easy to spot.
- I’m weeding in the early morning
- I struggle with relationships
- Some silent treatment is definitely involved
- I live paycheck to paycheck
- My son has been swirled into the world of drugs to the point of me fearing his death daily
- I still have zero clue of what life is and what I’ve mastered
- My glasses- ugh the daily struggle
- And my gray hair……always a task
You could say I’m my Mama.
At least I don’t have dentures at a young age like she had. She would take them out and scare the babies with. But I do push, adjust and take off my glasses 100 times a day. My hair seems to turn gray within days of coloring it.
My family is in shreds. After diligently putting effort into vacations, religion, nice housing, sports activities, my family has caved to the ravages of being addictions’ extended victims.
Those are the negative similarities. My mama lived a simple life. She wasn’t impressed by money or power. She didn’t really care for the luxuries of life or having material things, despite growing up poor.
Now, I want a simple life. After decades of always wanting more than my parents had, now I just want simple. Sure, I am impressed by a nice house with a pool and misting sprays coming off the porch. I also desire peace. My mom loved peace. She had an innocent way about her that screamed authenticity. She didn’t ever want to upset anyone, but her blunt manner and uncouthness did, at times.
I want my Mama’s innocence.
I want her ability to be forgiven because “she just didn’t know better”, instead of intentional. I want to be remembered like her, for the good things: her homemade chicken stew, her beautiful yard, her sense of humor.
I don’t want the usual idolizing after death but I want to be missed.
I want to be remembered when someone sees a yellow rose. Or smells Wrigley Spearmint gum. I want someone to hear John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads” and feel a tear well up in their eye.
Mostly I just want to be loved.