Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rachel and MamMaw

When I was young, I was my grandmother's little princess. When I was a teenager, another girl joined the family, but until then, I was the only girl amongst her 5 grandchildren. Since she had also raised two sons - well, I was a little spoiled by her. She was my father's mother and we all called her MamMaw.

MamMaw was a strong woman. She had lived through the Great Depression. Her first time giving birth was at home - no drugs or modern comforts. Not long after that, her husband was drafted into WWII and she was left to care for her young son (my dad) on her own. Her strength came from being a fighter.

Some, including me and most of my family members, often saw her strength as stubbornness. After 50+ years of smoking, she gave up cigarettes on her terms - cold turkey! She finally broke down, after years of the family's urging and begging, and got air conditioning - but only a window unit. These are just a couple examples.

The last time I saw her before she passed away, I was newly pregnant with my first child and just starting to show. MamMaw rubbed my belly and admired my bump. I am not usually one to speak of "karma" and "spirits," but if there is such a thing, I am convinced that MamMaw passed hers on that day to the baby inside that bump - my firstborn, Rachel. Yes, Rachel - my 7 year old vegetarian who always wears skirts and dresses unless it is on her terms (like for the horseback riding lessons she asked for for three years); my Rachel who always knows if even one of the twenty things she sleeps with mysteriously disappears and who refuses to wear green on St. Patrick's Day. My Rachel, who already hates her freckles and her curls and vows to have her hair straightened as soon as she is old enough. My Rachel, who wants to own her own zoo when she grows up, not just work at someone else's. Sometimes, much to Rachel's chagrin, I even call her Eula, MamMaw's actual name.

As a mother, I find this stubbornness extremely frustrating. But when I think aobut MamMaw, I don't see only stubbornness. I see a woman who knew who she was and what she stood for. She never gave up on any of that without a fight. She was a woman who put family above all else; a woman who loved only one man her whole life - even when he died at a relatively young age, she refused to even consider marrying another and she wore her wedding ring until the day she died.

I would never tell Rachel this (at least not until she is older), but I pray that, as she grows, she will hold onto her strength, convictions, and self-identity as tightly as MamMaw did; that she never lets the outside influences of this crazy world change the beautiful, wonderful person God created in her. I know that MamMaw is looking down from Heaven, smiling and praying for the same thing!

I miss you, MamMaw, and I hope that ALL my girls and I make you proud!

1 comment:

René said...

What a sweet post. She sounds like a person we should all strive to be more like.
I am visiting from Triad Smarty Pants.

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