"Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent." -Donald A. Norberg
My mamaw isn't doing well. She hasn't been doing well since I was pregnant with Chloe, but has held in there and God has given us more time with her. All day I haven't been able to get her off my mind. I have had a constant sad feeling and I think I've spent the whole day praying in my head. But as I reflect on her life up until this point I can't help but smile as I think what she has meant to my life, the lessons she has taught me, and the gifts she has given me.
The majority of my memories with Mamaw are tied to my papaw who went to heaven in 2003. I love thinking back to all the big family "get togethers" I experienced as a child (even though I can't help but feel sad my children won't experience the same) in Mississippi. The memories of riding three wheelers, playing with dogs, watching baby chickens hatch, fishing for catfish (and the ever elusive white catfish!), staying up late with my cousin Will, chewing double mint gum, and being told I eat like a bird by my mamaw:). What I experienced as a child was what true family was all about. Getting together no matter how inconvenient, sleeping on couches and floors just so we could all be together, and having my grandparents and aunts let us stay in Mississippi for a week without our parents (the ultimate fun!)...now as a parent, I realize just what an undertaking that was!
The picture my Aunt Brenda mailed me when she caught the white catfish
My mamaw has taught me many things. She taught me that you're never to old to go after a goal. I learned this when I attended her celebration party for obtaining her GED. Both my mom (who was taught by mamaw) and mamaw taught me the importance of a home cooked meal and eating meals as a family. My mamaw was so proud when she heard John (who I'm sure was stretching the truth) brag about me cooking him dinner every night. I do cook for my family most nights a week, and that is all thanks to the value of a family meal that I was taught by both women. Mamaw and Papaw also taught all of us about marriage. About staying together through better or worse, through times of sickness and health, and until the end. When my papaw passed away in 2003, they had been married over 50 years (52 I think).
Most importantly, my mamaw taught me you can be a traditional stay at home Mom, but that doesn't mean you stop speaking your mind. Good, bad, truthful, and so on, we've always known what my mamaw thought about things, and you always knew where you stood with her. John might wish I hadn't developed this trait sometimes, but you better believe that man always knows what I think...just like my mamaw.
One of the true presents my mamaw has given me began with the birth of my son Cooper. My mamaw and her husband Jimmy came to see us when Cooper was only a few days old. Getting to see my mawaw instantly love Cooper that way will stay in my heart forever. 4 years later my cousin Amanda and I drove 2-week-old Chloe 5 hours to Mississippi to see Mamaw, and I once again got the gift of seeing my mamaw love my child. It is a beautiful thing to see and the feeling is mutual. At Thanksgiving last year it was my mamaw's arms Chloe was so happy to be in, and over the past year my son has religiously prayed for God to heal his mamaw.
Mamaw and Cooper September 14, 2007
My mamaw and Chloe August 18, 2011
When I think of all the good my mamaw brought into my life there is one thing she gave me that stands out. My mom. The best person in the world I know. I am so lucky to have her as my mom and my children are lucky to have her as their grandmommy (or 'andmommy!). I miss her while she is in Mississippi with my mamaw, and I wish so much I could be there with the two women who made me for lack of a better word...me.
Erica and me at one of MANY themed family parties May 2004 (this was Mamaw's 70th party)
My favorite photo Amanda has ever taken. Thanksgiving 2011