There's a whole lot of my heart packaged up in a cardboard box in my basement. Pieces of paper splattered in color holding together moments; mostly ones that I want to remember.
I wanna remember the good stuff. Those Friday nights back in high school when we sat together in that same broken, corner booth in that run down Robertos on the out-skirt of town; we'd talk for hours... or maybe it was me that did all the talking. Those school nights when we'd stay up till midnight playing just-one-more game of UNO and laughing until our bellies hurt.
Yesterday marked ten years. Ten years since I heard her say I love you. Ten years since I laid my head on her chest in that hospital room and memorized the sound of her breathing. Ten years since we gathered round her bed and together sang praise, knowing full well what He was asking of us all...
The letting go...
Honestly, how do you say goodbye to the one who made all the pain of the world better with her tender Mama kiss.?
I'm a Mama now. She's never met my treasures. I know she'd laugh each time she'd see our spunky girl make that same pouty face that her daughter made when she was a little girl.
And on a Friday afternoon with my not so little anymore, little ones, we pull out moments from the cardboard box in the basement and we spread them all over the old farm floors. Old photos that come with negatives... remember the days when you couldn't automatically see your photos on the backs of cameras?
The little girl finds a spot under the old table. She reads a letter (up-side-down) from her Mama's junior high days.
The dancing girl wonders how I personally know the "princesses" in the photo she's scrounged out of the box that a still dear to my heart friend made for me nearly twenty years past. How do you explain high school and dancing to a curious five year old? She wants to know why Papa's not in the picture and I tell her it's simply because her Mama's dreams had not yet come true. :)
My Siah. My ever so encouraging Siah points to a college photo of his Papa and I, with my Mama, and says, "Mom, you look exactly the same.... But who's that guy you're with?"
Thanks lovely son! You know how to make your Mama smile! :)
A Friday afternoon, a Mama telling her kids about her own Mama, and it feels so good just to remember. To tell them what she was like. To hear the oldest son getting to know the grandma he never had the privilege of meeting. "She looks so nice Mom," he says it with that charming smile of his lighting up his face.
And she was.
(After ten moves in ten years, the glass is now broken on the photo of my mother and I at my college graduation. She knew on that day that she was sick. But in her selflessness, she didn't tell me. Isn't that what Mama's do... show their kids with their lives, rarely their words, how to think about others above themselves? If there is ever a day when I'm putting others above myself, it just might be because my mother showed me how. :)
We were a mother and daughter growing up together.
He used her to grow me and me to grow her.
There was pain to be sure. But the best of relationships trust through the pain and choose to reside in what was good.
Today I remember my mother.
I remember the day she taught me to french braid my own hair. I remember the card she gave me the day I graduated high school, remember how it warned that she might not always be there in the ways that I needed, but Christ would meet my every need. (I still carry that card in my Bible).
This afternoon I pulled out the handmade paper that tied together my wedding invitation from the box in the basement. As I ran my fingers over it, I remembered the gratitude that I felt for the hours my Mama gave to me as she hand folded and tied up each invitation.
It's the little things isn't it? The little things that our treasures might recall about us one day when they're moments are sprawled out on their own farmhouse floors and they're telling their kids about their Mama. Maybe they'll remember some heart bruising days, it's inevitable I'm sure. But hopefully they'll remember the Friday afternoon that one Fall day when they sprawled out on their tummy's and laughed happy with their Mama about moments with the people we all love most.