The Lucky Daughter


I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom lately.  Maybe it’s the holidays, which are so full of the memories and traditions she gave me.  Maybe it’s the growing kids that she didn’t get to share with me.  Who knows.  When I think of her I don’t usually get sad, because (1) she had an awesome life and (2) I know she’s in heaven, which must be pretty awesome!!   But the thoughts of her have prompted me to make a list of her best attributes, with the hope that I can emulate some of them.

The only baby picture of my mom.

She was old-fashioned.  But not in a backward way – she held on to traditions that added values to our family.  Believe me, she embraced modern conveniences every chance she got during her daily life.  But when it came to holidays, she baked every pecan pie just the way her mother did.  My children were the only ones in preschool with starched pants.  She prayed every day.  She held on to the things that made life meaningful.

She embraced change.  Sounds like a contradiction to the previous item, but it’s not.  She had a great career, jumped on the technology bandwagon when it rolled through, and got a toe ring when she was in her 60s.  My son and I were talking about cell phones the other day, and he commented that if Granny were alive, she’d have the coolest phone on the market, and she’d play games on it all day long.  And she’d be on Facebook.  No doubt about that.

My mom and her friend we called Mimi. They’ve been best friends from age 15, all the way through their “Red Hat” days!

She was fiercely protective of her family.  Sarah Palin may think she’s the original Mama Grizzly – but she never met my mom.  She could be a little meek when it came to herself, but woe betide the person who committed a wrong against one of hers.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.  Those who were on the receiving end of that know who they are.

She was generous.  My family was a fairly modest, middle-class family.  Our life wasn’t fancy, but we had a brick home, 2 cars and a boat.   My family was a fairly modest, middle-class family.  Our life wasn’t fancy, but we had a brick home, 2 cars and a boat.  We didn’t take extravagant vacations or buy expensive clothes, but my parents gave generously to their children, their church, and their chosen charities.  I don’t ever remember her walking past a bell ringer at Christmas or a Shriner in front of the grocery store without dropping money in their bucket.  When kids would knock at the door selling candy, she’d pay for two boxes, and then give one back to the kid to keep for himself.  She never put coins in a collection basket, or ones for that matter.  She gave generously.

Granny and B at the beach.  June 2005

Granny and B at the beach. June 2005

She faced the end of her life with courage.  As her physical health declined, she acknowledged it.  In the final months on earth, she suffered a series of strokes, each one taking a little more from her.  She had vascular dementia, which would come and go when one of the small strokes she had would hit.  Sometimes it would last for a few hours, sometimes a few days.  But when her wits were with her, she spoke openly and honestly about life and death.  She wasn’t afraid to die.  I think it’s because her life was so well-lived.

She was a woman of faith.  No doubt inspired by her mother (who I never knew).  She lived with us when my youngest son was born, and that child never went to bed without having a Hail Mary sung to him at bedtime.  She did a good job at infusing faith into everyday activities.  She didn’t just practice her faith.  She lived it.

She was a delightful blend of love, strength, faith, and beauty.  She loved the beach, a good cup of coffee, and visiting with her sisters.  She died with a freshly done cherry-red pedicure.  She had the same best friend from age 15.  She liked to travel, but she loved coming home.

As I’ve gotten older, I realize I’ve taken on some of her mannerisms.  (Even the ones I swore I’d NEVER do.)  And when someone comments that I’m “like my mother” I smile.  For there’s no one in the world I’d rather be like.

And she’d think it was really cool that you were reading her story!!

Originally posted in January 2011, this essay was reposted as part of the Midlife Boulevard Mother’s Day Blog Hop. I hope you enjoyed it!

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16 Comments

Filed under The Lucky Mom

16 responses to “The Lucky Daughter

  1. I miss my mom so much, too. Thank you for sharing your mom with me today. Miss you, by the way. I’m writing a piece about New Orleans and couldn’t help but remember all the fun we had with you. Thanks for everything!

  2. Lisha, what a beautiful tribute to your Mom! You are blessed!

    I lost my Mom four years ago. We were very close. I remember how I teased her about not wanting to be like her, but my heart knows that it is the best compliment when someone remarks that I am just like her in many ways.

    Happy Mothers Day to you! I am here from the Midlife Boulevard blog hop!

  3. Carlene

    Love your blog. Could you send me the pic of mama and Ms Mary with their red hats?

    >

  4. Sweet and heartwarming story. Your mother sounds like a wonderful person. It must make you feel good to know that in some ways you are just like her.

  5. Beautiful tribute to your mother, Lisha! I’d like to think that your mom and mine are now friends, watching their daughters tell their stories, and guiding our words, carefully! :)

  6. theweisens

    So very true….. From the time I was a little girl, she was the coolest, funnest (is that even a word?), most fearless aunt a girl could ever have. If something needed to be done, Aunt Mary was your girl. She really was “a piece of work”! I miss her too! But she lived a great life on earth and touched a lot of lives. I know she is doing the same in Heaven.

    PS: The apple definitely didn’t fall far from the tree…. you are just like her in so many ways….. dcw :)

    • Thank you, dcw, for sharing your precious memories of my mama. The fact that so many who loved her remember her this way makes my heart swell. As for being her apple, I try my hardest to live the lessons she taught me. Thanks for comparison. <3

  7. Kelly

    I read this and ponder what my mother would have been like. Since I was 4 years old when she died, I had many mothers. My grandmothers and Aunts stepped in when I needed mothering. But I am sure that they could not replace her kind of mothering. I have tried to be a good mother, someone my children would be happy to have. I always feel cheated on mother’s day. That I only got to spend 4 short years loving and cherishing her. Great story and I know your mom would be happy to read it.

    • Oh, Kelly, your path was certainly different because your mother left you so early, but no less full of love. I can attest to that, because I know how full of love your heart is today. And that had to come from somewhere.

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