An Ode to My Momma


My Mother will probably hate this picture….I don’t blame her, we all decided it makes her look a little like the unabomber. Hey, she was cold at the beach, so we wrapped her up, and the cat…. well, that’s another story. The pic was taken on my and my sister’s trip to Gulf Shores Alabama….I wrote a little about that trip. My Mom still believes she was maligned and that I made things up. I’ll just say this…..I didn’t.
Momma turned 87 this week, which means she was born in 1920, the daughter of an Alabama Methodist minister William Sylvester, and his wife Clifford. Clifford, I kid you not. When I was a girl and my Grandmother was in the hospital, I answered the phone one day to have someone ask me, “How’s Clifford?” I answered, “He’s just fine”, having no clue as to whom they were referring. Really, how was I to know Gramma was also Clifford?

My Mom moved all around the South, lived in Florida for a while…..this picture is her and Clifford getting ready for a movable feast on the beach, served from the running board of their car. I treasure it.
My Mother didn’t like to garden like her own Mother did, but she was and is a good cook like Clifford. I remember my Grandmother’s popular Chicken Pie that was served along with another hundred dishes on long tables, that seemed to stretch on forever, under the trees, by a graveyard for a yearly church homecoming. Wish I knew how to make that chicken pie.
Mother was strict with us girls growing up…”Pretty is as pretty does”, was the watchword when someone told us we were attractive. She didn’t want us too be full of ourselves, and we weren’t.
And while she was more stringent about the rules than her daughters have been with their own kids, she wasn’t as strict as her own parents were with her!
She always wanted us to have what we wanted….she would buy us new clothes while getting nothing for herself. And she made made many Easter dresses(often sewing late into the night, the night before Easter) and she made my senior prom dress believe it or not…almost unheard of today….but I still remember it fondly…a white voile gathered shirt, apple green satin sash, tiny pink roses embroidered on the bodice, sheer long sleeves. We picked out the pattern and fabric together,at a fancy department store in downtown Birmingham.
I heard a woman on television this week, say “I wasn’t the Mother I wanted to be.”
Surely, most of us who are mothers would say the same.
My Mom, when I tell her what a good mother she was and is, will usually say something like “Oh, I tried to be a good mother, but I didn’t have enough patience with you girls.”
Oh Mom, how many us really always have enought patience with our children?? And don’t we all regret the sharp words later? The wise moms apologize to their kids.
My Momma wasn’t the mother she wanted to be. I haven’t been the mother I wanted to be. My sweet daughter probably won’t be the mother she wants to be. But we do the best we can, and in my Mom’s case, that was pretty darn good. Happy Mother’s Day, Momma. I love you.

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