Thursday, September 12, 2013
Road Map of Life
My mother lived a hard life and her face was like a road map of that life. It had peaks and valleys and trails that traveled a ways across it and then ended somewhere near her jaw line or hairline. Some of those crevices were so profound and jagged that if you were a piss ant trying to cross them, they would have seemed like the Grand Canyon, especially as she grew older. There was even the occasional creek on the map; it would be up near the corner of her eye as she let a tear slip in times of grief. In my younger years I didn’t understand mama; I’m talking about my teenage years because up until then, she was right as rain, at least as far as I can remember. Although, I do remember walking along the highway with her one time and she was toting a suitcase; it was her, my older brother, and me and she was toting my baby brother who was not even walking at the time. We had walked maybe a mile from home and then along come my daddy to take us back home. I can remember him driving toward us on the highway, and I can see him and the car as plain as day… I know they were fussing but I do not remember any of the details; I could not have been any more than four and a half at the time. I believe that is my third memory of existence. The ones of my brother chopping me in the head with a hoe, and of turning me loose down a steep hill on his bicycle is strong, as is he setting fire to the grass in the field. There are several small glitches besides that, but nothing definitive until I was school age. The reason I brought up that I did not understand Mama was that once I neared my teens and becoming a teenager, so did she. She became young and free again, living vicariously through me… she went to work on the nursery so that she could buy me stylish clothes and took me roller skating and to the river to go swimming. I could talk her into anything, it seemed. Once in a while, she would skip work and let me skip school. We would stop in Wilmer and get a hamburger and then we would ride the back roads to the river or go visit with relatives around the county. She taught me how to drive the stick shift and let me drive all over the place even though I was only about thirteen… The older I got the more I realized that it was not right for her to be doing that. However, the older I got it seemed like the younger she did or rather acted as she did… and that was when we grew apart. She and daddy married when she was only fourteen and after I got older, I realized that that was why she was doing some of the things she was doing; she had never lived through the teen experience. Married at fourteen, she had my older brother a week after she turned fifteen, then another baby at seventeen; a little girl born without a soft palate; she lived only a couple of months. She had me when she was eighteen, my younger brother was born four years later, then she carried a baby full term - a little girl that was stillborn. Then she had us another brother four years after the other brother. That was when she really began to rebel… drinking and running wild. Six years later, she birthed my sister and then four years after that, our baby brother. When he was six weeks old, she ran off and was gone of over a week, leaving Daddy to care for him. I was married and living in Lucedale at the time so I did not know anything about it until after it was done with. It seemed like after that wild burst, she settled down with the running around, but she didn’t stop drinking. During all those years, she was in again out again in church and her relation with Jesus Christ. It would not be until after I had my own children that I could understand just a smidgen of what she might have gone through as a young mother… I was in my twenties before I had my two oldest children and I remember being twenty six years old and sitting in the floor crying because of how stressful it was to have one under one year old, and one that was four and a half… she was just a child raising children. I can only imagine what she went through losing her babies… we became close again as I raised my own children. She was a good woman that suffered life. She had many demons that she fought through the years but in the end, she won the battle; she reunited with Christ, she was saved. I am sure that she sits at his feet in heaven. Today, September 13, 2013 she would have been seventy-seven years old. We lost Mama Jan 23, 2005 to a long list of health issues unrelated to her other battles of life. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I miss her now more than ever as I too grow old and have begun to have many of the same health problems. One day we will see one another again. Love you Mama <3 Happy Birthday!