|Mama and me|
When that long-ago picture was taken, obviously by Daddy, I was in diapers and Mama's hair was auburn red. She used henna on her hair in those days, and I can still remember the smell of it when she would treat her long beautiful hair with what looked like mud. She would slather it on and wrap the muddy locks around and around before covering it with a hot towel. She didn't forget her eyebrows, either, and I was fascinated by the process that transformed her from my beautiful mother to a scary creature. She let her hair grow so long at one time that when she braided it into one long thick plait it would wrap around her entire head like a crown. All of these memories of my mother are precious to me, especially now that she's nowhere around any more. It occurred to me the other day that my sister Norma Jean and I are the only ones left who share these memories of our mother. My other siblings are much younger. Perhaps PJ remembers some, but she was born when I was seven, not two as I was when Norma Jean was born.
Today I also think of my two sons who are also long gone from the world. It's just me here with my memories to remember why I still celebrate Mother's Day as a mother. Chris would always call me on my birthday and on Mother's Day, no matter where in the world he was. Or he would visit me, when he lived close by. He never had much money, so he didn't send me cards, which I wouldn't have cared much for anyway; I wanted to see him or talk to him instead, and he understood that. Our family has never been much for holidays that advertisers are anxious to take over to make you buy stuff you don't need. A hand-written card is much more meaningful to me than one with sentiments thought up by someone else. I have memories of "found" bouquets of flowers handed to me in a sticky fist, an offering by my son to his mom. I cherish the memory the way I cherished that little bouquet long ago.
Stephen died so long ago that I have only a few memories that stand out in my mind. He only lived for thirteen months, so he never had a chance to hand me bouquets of flowers, but we loved each other immoderately. I remember days when we would play hide and seek for hours at a time, both of us filled with laughter and delighted with each other. Sometimes I would neglect my household chores and find that most of the day was gone before I would remember. We had so much fun together. I have a memory of a little red wagon that I pulled along with both of my sons in it. Chris in the back and his little brother in front, waving at the passersby. That one pulls at my heartstrings even today and I don't want to go any farther down that memory lane, so I won't.
Mothers are busy in the springtime throughout the entire animal kingdom. Norma Jean has some doves that made a nest outside her bedroom window on top of an air-conditioning box. She can't see into the nest but saw the two parents creating it and now there are at least two little ones in there. I think one of the squirrels that visits my front porch is also looking for extra food for babies. It's that time of the year.
|Hummingbird mom with two babies|
Yesterday there were children running and playing in the sunlight while their parents watched relatives who had come to the Drop Zone to make a tandem jump. Families come out to share the excitement of their son or daughter who received a skydive as a graduation present, or to celebrate a birthday, or simply to experience the thrill of a lifetime. But the little ones were a joy to me; they didn't have any idea what was happening with the adults, and they played in the sun as I watched and smiled with them. In many ways, I can enjoy the little ones much more because I don't have to be responsible for them.
They are carefully watched so that they stay out of harm's way, with barriers separating non-jumpers from those boarding the plane. In much the same way that I enjoy children, I also share the excitement of first-time skydivers making a tandem. For a few of them, they will fall in love with freefall as I did and will come back for more. But most will not. It will be an experience that will become a memory to cherish, much as I cherish those I have shared with you today.
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and those who have or have had a mother. Pretty much covers it, doesn't it?