A Mother’s Touch

I tucked Mama into bed for her nap today, after lunch, and climbed in next to her for a little cuddle. And then Mama said, “You’re ‘purdy’.”  And my heart was warmed.

And I chuckled to myself and thought, Oh, if only she’d said that to my face instead of my back. 

“Thank you, Mama. You’re pretty, too,” I said. I wanted to face her, but she usually gets agitated when I do that. So, I kept my back to her.

And she patted my back and rubbed my arm. I sang, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”– one of the last hymns she still sang herself up to a year or so ago.

The fan on the nightstand blew a gentle breeze over us. And Mama’s soft touches and flutter taps were sweet on my back.

From where I was, my head on Daddy’s pillow, I could see an old photo of Mama framed in gold on the wall above his dresser. Mama was young and healthy and gorgeous.

 

The photo was taken before Mama married Daddy. Before she gave birth to four children and raised them. Before all the meals she cooked for her family. Before all the dresses she sewed for her little girl. Before all the laundry she washed and groceries she shopped for and fevers and scrapes she worried over. Before all the Christmases and birthdays and holidays she made so special for us.

The photo was taken before Mama invested her life into loving us all so well.

I turned over to face Mom. I combed her white hair with my fingers. I held her wrinkled face between my hands. “You are beautiful, Mama. You are so beautiful.You have been a wonderful mom to us all. I wish I’d been a better daughter to you.” And my eyes filled.

I wanted to climb into her arms. I wanted to be her little girl again. I wanted to have her warm hug envelope me and have her stroke away the fears and hurts and hear her say, “It will all be okay, honey.”

But she started hollering, because my closeness was agitating her. So I rolled back over and she calmed down. And she patted my back again, with her arthritic hands. And she pulled on my shirt here and there. And her fingers flutter tapped my arm.

But I felt the gentle touches…such tender wisps of mothering. And I smiled.

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Always

A favorite memory from almost two years ago…

 

“I love you,” I say to Mom.
“Well, I did, too,” Mom says. And then she adds, “Always.”
“You always loved me?”
“Yes, I did,” she says with confidence.

I smile, and even though I’m guessing she doesn’t really know what she’s saying, I still know her words are true.

She has always loved me. Always.


And something about hearing her say so makes the day glisten, like bright sunshine after rain. It feels like a gift from Jesus….a moment of fresh mama love and memories of her sweet faithfulness.


And I know I am blessed. Always.

A Love Message to Everybody…Just About

Mama has a message for you. Well, most of you anyway…

I sit down near Mom and say, “Hi Mama. I’m Cheryl.” She doesn’t respond so I add, “My name is Cheryl.”

“My name is Cheryl,” Mom answers. She looks confused and then adds, “Cheryl? No it’s not.”

“I’m Cheryl and you’re Nina.”

“I’m Nina Fay!” Mom shouts, with decisiveness and conviction.

We listen to some music together and then I get up to do some things for Dad. Before I leave I bend close to Mama and say, “I love you.”

Mom looks a little grouchy and says, “Well, I love everybody.”

“You love everybody?”

“Just about.”

And I think about Mama when her mind was strong, and know that it was true. She did love just about everybody. She knew everyone in our neighborhood, and was always one to go introduce herself to new neighbors and welcome them.

She knew the manager of the corner market, and traded him banana bread for ripe bananas. She called family all the time, even though most of them were long distance at a time when long distance was expensive. And she kept in touch with old friends even though they lived on the other side of the country.

I miss Mama’s love. I miss her knowing who I am and knowing my name. I miss her smile of recognition. I miss her laughter, so often buried under agitation and shouting these days.

But I cling to the truth, that because she gave her heart to Jesus, all will be restored one day. I will see her smile again. I will hear her laughter again. I will see her look at me with recognition and clarity once more! And I will know Mama’s love for eternity!

And meanwhile, I thank you, my friends and readers, for standing in the gap for me. Thank you for your encouragement, love, and prayers! You have warmed my heart often with your messages and I’m more grateful for you than I can say!!

And remember, Mama loves you all. Or, just about anyway. 😉