Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mama - Mother's Day of your 92nd Year

There are a few things that I associate with my Little Mama more than others. 

How cool her hands were and are, on hot foreheads.
How soft her voice was and is, in crisis.
How steady she has always been when everyone around her is falling apart.
How clearly she recognized the signs of weary school girls who needed breaks and responded with  out-of-school passes, emergency day trips and much-needed adventures.
How fearless her design/color eye was and how she brought the trends early to a small town that otherwise would not have seen those trends for a good three years. 
How when so many other mothers didn't work, she worked sometimes seven days a week but never, ever, ever sacrificed a moment of quality with her girls.
How she trekked the neighborhood kids for miles in the snow. 
How she stocked the kitchen for the inevitable masses of friends that would show up to eat, to talk and to laugh.
How when customers came into the store in the early 60s and complained because the salesperson was black, she told them they didn't need to come back. 
How when I moved from Seattle to Santa Fe, she and Margaret drove in before me, placed all the furniture, put groceries in the fridge, flowers in the vases and turned around and drove back to North Carolina before I even got there.
How her dreams often told her that bad things were coming and how those dreams made her feel helpless. How that recurring dream that I would die when I went off to college left her with no peace. How on the day I would get so sick, she would call and ask me repeatedly, "Are you sure you are OK?" And how when I came out of that semi-coma, she would be sure that the only meals I ate in the hospital were the ones I wanted which meant raisin toast from home just the way I liked it.
How when she was in her 80s and working as an editor with me, when there was an all-nighter to pull, she did it better than me.
How when she speaks about the world it is firmly and with the hope that heads and minds and hearts will open. 
How when her friends were dying, it was she who spent hours day after day with them on the phone or by their sides, walking them through their fears and worries and pain. One after the next after the next, after the next.
How when her mother, her father and my father died, she alone would watch the life leave their bodies and kiss them good-bye.

How she has been fearless in life, in work, in love.
How she has been insatiable in her desire to learn and grow smarter, wiser and fairer.
How she has never lost her sense of humor.

How she is a mother who has taught her daughters the walk of women and the walk of love.

Lee and Mama.