Tuesday, June 8, 2021

We are our Mother's Daughters

The late Cokie Roberts said it so well in her book, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. This is truly the most frightening thought. But the older I get the more I realize I cannot escape it. Like a moth being pulled to a flame or rather a star being pulled down a black hole, more and more I find myself saying and doing things that remind me of my mother.

But so far I don't seem to have the strengths she had. I haven't managed to get those qualities that I and so many admired in her.

Did I receive her genetic disposition to remember everyone's birthday and anniversary and the obnoxious talent to always manage to have the US mail deliver the card on the appropriate day? No. I do well to remember the day at all, much less get a card, a stamp, and get it mailed. The idea of having all that coordinated in time for the thoughtful note to arrive on the proper day seems exhausting. Yet she remembered her family, her friends, members of her Sunday school class, her bridge club,current neighbors as well as those we had fifty years ago, etc. never missing an occasion.

Can I make my own clothes, design curtains for my den, or redo furniture? No. Nor can I play a piano or discuss the bible and its history from an academic point of view. A major in Religious Education and a minor in Music from Wake Forest served her well. Six years of piano lessons left me with the inability to even play the simplest verse of Red River Valley.

Mama could tell you at any given time during the fall how well any ACC football team was doing and probably most of the SEC teams, at least those in the Eastern Division. She knew baseball, the players, the rules, and the stats as well as any fan. I never knew anyone else who kept box scores.

I can remember when she was in CCU just a day or so before she died she had insisted her TV be turned on and tuned to a channel showing the Braves game one afternoon. The nurses did so mainly just to mollify her. By this point they felt they were just keeping her comfortable. 

I entered the room and walked up to her bedside.

"We're not doing so good," she said.

"You or the Braves?"

"The Braves. They can't get a man on base and the next man up is not one of our better runners."

"How do you know who's next?" I asked, not knowing much about baseball.

"They announce the lineup at the start of the game."

I just sat down to let her rest. A few minutes later, I was sure she was asleep by sound of her breathing. Then I heard from her bed, "Now, that boy is going places. They paid almost nothing for him. Everyone said he would not amount to much but he can hit. He needs to work on his fielding, but he is coming along." There was a base hit and loud applause.

The nurse came in to check on her. She looked at the monitor, adjusted Mama's covers, and made sure all her wires and tubes were not tangled. Then she came over to me, "She seems to be resting well, finally. Perhaps we should turn the TV off. I really don't want her to be bothered."

"I don't think that's the case."

About that time, from the bed, we heard, "Now Chipper Jones is up next. You know this is his last season."

"I thought he was long gone," I said.

With that she started giving out his stats for past few years, when he had been on the disabled list and for what injuries.

Oh, but I am my Mother's Daughter in some ways. Apparently I have every innate obnoxious character trait she had. My daughters are quick to remind me with an eye roll or some phrase like "Seriously" or "That is something ZeeZee would have said". All those little quirks I grew up with that drove me nuts, I find myself doing today. Mannerisms and habits that I chided her for, just come naturally to me these days.

I only wish she were here for one more Mother's Day so I could tell her how I never knew I would miss her so much, How I never told her I loved her enough. And how much being my Mother's Daughter means to me.

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