Here is a snapshot of just some of the memorable moments and events I appreciate so much sharing with you throughout our time as mother and daughter this Mother’s Day 2018.
I know I share many of these with my 6 siblings. And as I ripen as a mother, too, with two young teenagers myself, I am more and more appreciative of the rich and colorful childhood you and Dad provided for us on the little cattle ranch outside of Dallas.
Lying on our backs in the backyard together watching the purple martins perform for us as evening approached. You saying, “Just lie still and they will begin to perform once they know they have an audience.” And they always would.
You preparing us white bread, butter and sugar sandwiches with spaghettios whenever you and Dad were going out and leaving us with a baby sitter.
Junk week! The absolute ONLY times when you would buy junk foods were the first and last week of the school year e.g., Ding-dongs, Twinkies, Cheetos and Captain Crunch!
Picnics at the Waxahachie Park and at the Ft. Worth Zoo. You were not going to waste your money on their “junk food” when we had perfectly good food we could pack and take with us! I remember coolers full of pickles, hard-boiled eggs, fried chicken, fried okra, fresh peaches, sun tea and the like!
One of us complaining: “Mom, I’m bored”
You responding: “Go get a book!” or “Go outside!”
And we would.
Loading all 7 of us to go swim at Mema’s in Dallas during the summers.
The smell of a cold Dr. Pepper can take me right back to that pool and I can hear the cicadas’ whine pulsating loudly in the oak trees, I can feel the cool, lush St. Augustine grass on bare feet and those same bare feet slapping on hot Saltillo tile as we would race to jump back in the pool.
You and your mother going to Sanger Harris to shop and have lunch while we stayed at her pool to swim. I look back now and think what a slice of heaven that had to be for you to have a break from all 7 of us with your mom, if only for an afternoon!
And we got a break too, because we could watch TV in her house in wet bathing suits wrapped in towels all of us freezing due to the AC. You and Dad thought it would build character for us to not use the AC in the summers, so this was a huge bonus, and secondly, we were watching a TV show without having to read an entire book first! We thought we were getting away with something big!
You coming in at night after baths and spraying Black Flag all around our beds to keep the mosquitos away while we slept. I will be amazed if one of us doesn’t die of a Deet induced lung disease!
Playing tennis with you for hours in the spring and summer evenings at the concrete court Dad put in so we would all want to learn to play. Watching the mayflies swarm the tennis lights and us all squabbling, bickering and jockeying for positions (and attention). Inevitably someone would storm off mad or with hurt feelings, but mostly I remember how much fun we had and how long we played into the night. You would never quit first. One of us had to say we were tired before you’d stop. You really loved playing with us and we knew it!
After dinners, we would all be performing our chores and on occasion, when the spirit moved you, you would pull back the dining room table and dance your heart out on that old brick floor to “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel! I still know every word to that song and can hear you snapping your fingers and can see you twisting and jiving with pure joy oozing out of you!
The huge garden we created every spring and then harvested all throughout the summer. And if one of us got sassy, you’d ask, “Do you want to go out and pick okra, Mister or Missy?” And our okra grew so high we’d need a stepladder to pick it and gloves, too, as it got progressively pokey! It was quite the deterrent to back talking!
Shelling peas in the back yard. Shucking corn. Keeping the grackles off of the tomatoes. Growing zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers the size of our forearms and selling them in impromptu road side stands in front of the house out on that black top Farm to Market road.
You letting us keep all of the proceeds to buy popsicles the next time we went into town to get groceries! Praying one of the older boys wouldn’t steel all the cherry and lime ones before we younger kids could get one!
You spending hours in the sewing room, which was a little closet converted into your little mom-cave. You’d always leave the door open and my sister and I’d play Barbies right outside and you’d plead with us to let the littler ones play with us too so you could get something done! It was usually a new outfit for my sister or me, so we were motivated to comply!
You singing “I Gave My Love a Cherry” as you would swing us out in the hammock, or any song from “The Sound of Music” while we drove around in the pickup truck looking at cattle in the evenings.
For these juicy memories and many others of how to show up for life and enjoy the magic of this life in its truest and most organic form, with a good book, watching birds coming in to roost, fresh vegetables, home made gifts, physical activity, music that moves your soul, etc., I am forever grateful.
I pray that my kids will one day look back at memories of our days together, and despite the moments of complete frustration and of “losing my frozen”—which, turns out, is way worse than “losing your cool”– they will also know without a doubt that I loved being their mother and that spending time with them was the greatest gift of my life. This was your greatest gift to us all, Mom.
All my love,