Monday, June 19, 2017

Mama,

On Wednesday, David turns 16.  And all I can think about is how much I desperately need to talk to you.  I'm maintaining my outside composure about releasing him into the streets fairly well, but on the inside, there's plenty of anxiety and concern.  The truth is that he has no business operating a motor vehicle.  He's only 16.  Just a few years ago, he was running around the house pretending to be a Power Ranger, and now I am just supposed to let him go?

It's just happened all too fast, mama.  Just too fast.  Funny thing is that I remember you telling me that it would.  You just can't believe it when they're little and all over the place and exhausting.  Before you know it, they're forming opinions of their own and becoming little people.  And then they drive away.  I knew I would miss you for the rest of my life, mama, but this week it's really hitting home.  I want to talk to you and hear you tell me that everything will be alright.  And that even if something bad happens, things will be alright then, too.  I know it all already, but I need to hear you say it because you're really the only person who can tell me and make me believe it.

It's so hard to do this parenting thing without your advice.  Without any sage advice, really.  But somehow I am managing.  Well, I know how I am managing.  A good combination of the Holy Spirit and of your voice inside my head.  I just never dreamed that I would have to do this without your presence.  Do you remember when he was only a few days old and I called you around 2 in the morning because I couldn't get him to stop crying?  I will never forget those early months when I had no clue what to do with a colicky infant that yacked on me every 15 minutes.  But you were there to ease me through it.  You were always there, if not in person by phone.

Right now I feel a little like that young mother in the middle of the night who just doesn't know what to do.  I will never forget when you walked in the door and I handed him to you that he calmed down within minutes.  I was amazed.  So I guess I will ask you to watch over him for me now, mama.  I don't know if that's even a thing in heaven, the being able to watch over people on earth.  But if it is, I know you will do it.  So watch him for me.  Send him a signal when he's out there in the world and thinks about doing something stupid.  Send him a signal when he's not paying attention to the road.  Just do anything within your power to keep him safe.  

I love and miss you much, Mama.  So much.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mama,

I've been feeling the urge to write you lately.  It's been so very long.  I've been busy with school and all the other ordinary tasks of life, but you are ever on my mind.  And it's April.  And Easter is this Sunday.  Double whammy.

Easters before you died were lovely.  My childhood Easters were filled with lunch at Grandma Norris's complete with ham and cornbread dressing and a riveting egg hunt.  Some had candy inside, and some had change.  Kids today would laugh at the quarters, nickels, and dimes I was so excited to find back then.  When I had kids of my own, Easter was still fun.  Then it was baskets full of random goodies and hiding the eggs myself.  But now... well, now Easter is painful.

Today I was talking to my friend in Spanish class and asking her if she was going home for the weekend, and she replied that she was and that Easter is her favorite holiday.  She had this big smile and joy in her eyes, and I envied that.  So I said something out loud that I don't rarely admit... "I used to love Easter, too, but that was the last holiday we spent with my mama before she died, and now it just doesn't feel the same."

It was such a family day before.  And now my sense of family is so much smaller than I ever imagined it would be.  Yes, it's still the day we celebrate the Resurrection, but isn't that something we should be in a constant state of honoring?  Easter for now remains the last good day I had with my mom.  The last good day.  I have your dress hanging in my closet.  I remember the way you held that Kleenex in your hand all day and how I had to help you change your clothes because you were so exhausted and wanted to lie down.  I can still see you lying there in your bed, dim light breaking through the cracks in between the blinds on the window.  It was the last good day.

The past few Easters have been quiet for us, Mama.  We haven't gone to church.  It's the worst day to go to church, really, with the crowds full of people who haven't been in a year's time.  I don't miss that part... the planning what the whole family would wear and whether we should match or coordinate or what have you and sitting among strangers with big smiles plastered across their faces.  What I do miss is sitting next to you in church and hearing you sing and watch you pick the skin on your cuticles.  In every little thing now, I just miss you.  I had no idea back then that you were literally the superglue that held all things together in this miraculous way that only you could.  Even if we weren't together, we were still held together.  And not having that on regular days is painful enough, so you can only imagine how much it hurts on days like Easter.

But, mama, I am doing okay.  I really am.  I have my moments from time to time, but I am accepting what things look like now.  But just because you choose to accept something doesn't mean the pain goes away.  I know you would be so proud of me going back to school.  Or are you proud of me?  Can you see what I do?  Do you know?  I wonder that so often... wonder what you're aware of.  I just know that if you are aware that I am back in school that you are tickled pink about it.

We had a human services job fair last week at the school, and I attended a lunch meeting about working in child welfare.  So I am sitting there listening to someone who has been in the field for 30 years talk about what she thought it would be like, how the world sees what child welfare workers do, and what it actually feels like to do the job every day.  I found myself holding back tears.  Everything she said lined up with what I want to do.  I've been so unsure about what kind of social worker I would be, but in that moment, it became clear.  Ironically I have always thought, "I would never work for DHR."  But it looks like I very well may end up doing that.  Funny how things work out that way.

I'm going to finish out my Spanish classes this summer online.  And then I will have two more semesters in the classroom and one in an internship out in the field.  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.  I've never felt this way about anything before, mama.  I just know it's what I am meant to do, and I can't wait to find my little place in the system.  The only thing I dread is wearing real clothes all day long.  I will definitely have to find some comfortable options.  And I will need comfy shoes!  My feet, mama!!!  They have been hurting so much lately.  My huge bunions are awful!  My hands have been hurting, too.  I need to drop some weight and start eating healthier.  You would definitely fuss at me if you were still alive.  I can hear you in my mind... "You know that you feel much better when you're eating right... you've got to take care of yourself..."  I used to roll my eyes at these conversations, and now I just replay them in my mind.  I miss my mama.  I really do.

Enjoy your Easter in heaven, mama.  I will be thinking of you all day and will most likely shed a few tears.  But since you've been gone, I am even more grateful for Jesus and His Grace and promise of eternal life with the ones we love.  I can't wait to enjoy your presence again.

With all my love, mama...
Your only daughter