Forty-six years ago, my life was changed forever. My Mamaw Bess died on this date when I was only nine years old. I just remember it being unbelievable and so surreal…Even at the funeral home, after seeing her lying in the casket, I couldn’t accept the reality of it. It was like I was in a dream?
She was always one of my very best friends and I loved her dearly. She lived next door, so her house was my second home and one of my very favorite places to be! She knew how precious time was because she always took time to play cards, or Sorry, or dominos with me. She let me help her cook even though it made the process take longer. She took her time when she brushed my hair. She told me I was pretty. And she always read me stories…And I especially remember her reading to me when I spent the night with her. She had this beautiful pink ruffled night light that hung over the headboard of her bed. She would let me play house in their camper. She made beautiful clothes for me, for my baby dolls and later, my Barbies. She ate bread, butter and sugar sandwiches with me. And made me chocolate malted milk. And most of all….She always had hugs and kisses and made me feel so loved❤️
I feel like I learned so much from her…But one thing she always said was “The housework will wait…It will be here, but these kids will only be kids for a little while.” This always stuck with me…Which is why my house is sometimes dusty. And why my baseboards aren’t always clean. And my refrigerator needs to be cleaned out. Or my windows are dirty. Or laundry is piled up. Because if I have an opportunity to play or do something to spend time with my kids, my grandkids, or my nieces or nephews…I’m doing THAT! I think it is one of the best gifts I received from my Mamaw Bess and probably one of the most valuable lessons I could have ever learned. I have very few things of hers, but they are some of my most precious treasures. As I mentioned earlier, she sewed, as did most women in that era. I have an apron that she made for herself and one she made just for me. We wore them in her kitchen when she let me cook. And my kids and grandsons have worn the little apron in my kitchen when I let them help me cook! The bonnet was one she made and wore when she was working out in the garden or in the yard. They are proudly displayed in my kitchen. She also made quilts….these were hand-pieced and hand-stitched and quilted, and often made of tinny scraps from the dresses, aprons, bonnets, shirts, pillows, etc. that she created. They weren’t perfectly symmetrical, or intricately patterned like those you buy in the store or order on-line, but they were perfect because she tediously made them with love to keep us warm and give us comfort. I have one that is still in pretty good condition and I want to keep it that way, so I have it hanging in my kitchen behind what used to be a hutch that was in her kitchen many, many years ago. This piece of furniture had been hanging on the garage at my parents old house and Brad and I took it to a shop and had it stripped and refinished, but notice the corner (or lack thereof) of the long door in the picture…word has it that a mouse chewed that off! We left it just like that. I think it gives it character! And the big, thick glass stemmed mugs in the top of the cabinet were also hers…but for special occasions. I remember her making us big ice cream sundaes and root beer floats in them…Boy did we feel like big shots?! We use them occasionally too…they are perfect for special desserts and for Margaritas! Being able to see these things every day helps some keep my Mamaw Bess close in my memory.
I think the other thing I learned from my Mamaw Bess was faith. She was a believer, an avid church-goer, and she prayed a lot. She always said that things will work out the way God wants them to….so somehow I always held onto that. And I have clung to it for dear life over the past 4 1/2 years! And time and time again, I have seen it!
For example, a few days before this day, that I always dread and feel sadness, was Thanksgiving Day this year. And I was beyond blessed to be able to share it this year with my oldest sister! Yep, you heard that right, earlier this year my younger sister was able to get the birth certificate of my older sister! Because she was not adopted, and my sister had a clue about her age, and knew her given birth name, AND they had the same birth mother, it enabled her to get that document! Once she got it, she and a friend of hers found our sister’s marriage license and that led her to the place she got married, and she luckily still lived there! And much to my delight, the place she lived was only about 3 hours away…And she had lived there with her husband for over 40 years! Wow! So close all this time?!
Needless to say, we have been trying to make up for lost time, every chance we get and are enjoying many “firsts” this year! Faith. Have faith…Things happen when God is ready for them to. My sister, Patty, and my brother-in-law, Larry, enjoyed (and survived) their first Thanksgiving at my daughter and her families’ home, with the all the craziness and chaos of our family! And I’m not sure who enjoyed it more…me or her?! Maybe, it was a toss-up. It was certainly something to be thankful for!
So today, our sermon at church was about God having a plan for the way things happen. He talked about going through pain and suffering and tough times, and how those are “tests”. And that the good things come, but in his time. It just seemed so fitting for my memories of my Mamaw, who I miss so dearly, and the blessing of having another special “first” with my sister! I would give anything if all of my siblings could have been in my Mamaw’s life too…And felt her love. And known her goodness. But that wasn’t in the plan. At least not yet. But I have faith. Faith that one day, they will meet her. And my Momma. Faith.