I’ll Always Remember

The mother we loved was full of quick conversation
History, genealogy and loads of memories.

The mother we loved respected God and all His creation
People, nature, critters, ah yes, all of these.

The mother we loved was an optimistic sensation
Lifting spirits, drying tears, everything to please.

The mother we love now has Alzhiemer’s
Meaningless jabber replaces her engaqing talk.

The mother we love is overcome with a diseases for “old timers”
She curses God, His critters and even the land they walk.

The mother we love is transformed for all times
Where there was hope, fear and doubt now stalk.

The mother we loved lives on in our hearts
We hide our tears and force the smile

The mother we loved would help us to start
Healing our wounds with memories on file.

The mother we loved will never part
“The journey to Him,” she’d say, “takes many a long mile.”

~Sara Jane~

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Five Bits of Wisdom

I’ve been noticing a lot of lists made by bloggers. Maybe blogging is synonymous with listing. I’m not sure but I thought I’d attempt one of my own. Bear with me as I try it out.

 Five Bits of Wisdom My Mother Gave Me.

1.  Give them roots and give them wings. – She gave me this little nugget while I was struggling with whether or not I should allow my daughter to participate in something that a lot of other people were cautioning me about. She told me, you have given them some great roots, Sara, and Allison has a very good head on her shoulder. Sometimes you have to let them go. Let her have her wings. Give em roots and give em wings! I love that woman.

2.  Look your baby in the eyes and talk to him.  That’s how he will know you love him. Let him feel your love. – I was seventeen and a brand new mommy. I still lived at home and mom was showing me how to bathe my little guy. I still can feel the sun shining through the bathroom window as we held him in the sink and swished the warm water over his slippery little body. Two dark heads bowed and totally absorbed in the new little love of my life. It’s a special sunny memory I pull out from time to time. This bit of wisdom applies throughout their lives. Look them in the eyes and talk to your children. Let them feel your love.

3.  Pray for each of your children by name every night. – I truly believe this is what brought each of us twelve siblings into adulthood with no harm. I remember when mom told me that she and dad prayed for every one of us children by name every night. I also wonder if this helped them to sleep more peacefully. By giving their worries to God he gave them sweet peace and rest in return.

4.  Aquiring material worth does not make one rich. – I remember coming home from a friend’s house to tell mom of all the exotic things their family owned. She told me that owning material things didn’t mean someone was rich, in debt maybe but not rich. Richness, she told me, came from the people in your life and the things you do for others. I didn’t really know what she meant at the time but I have found myself realizing her words so many times as I have grown. I remember being a young single mama and struggling so often. When my babes would fret that we couldn’t buy this or that, I would tell them we were indeed very rich because we had each other and so much love in our hearts. The smile in their eyes always made me know they understood what I meant. I love those kids.

5.  Always wash your hands and face and comb your hair before coming to supper. And no hats at the supper table. – I don’t know why this impressed this little girl so. It instilled respect as I watched my brothers take off hats that seemed a permanent attachment and comb hair that probably hadn’t been combed since supper the night before. Standing around the sink with two or three of my siblings and washing our hands together gave us a family ritual that seemed to bind us together and give us a sense of unity. Such a little thing with a huge impact.

So my list is done. I stop typing to read and reread before publishing. Gratitude and deep love well up for those two gentle people that raised me. I’m sure they were just muddling through life, raising children, loving each other, getting by with no instructions like the rest of us parents. Somehow though with, I’m sure my mother would say, much help from God, they really seemed to have found their way.

My Mother’s Steps

I remember
I heard
And the sound
Echoes still in my soul.

I lay alone then
In a big tall bed
With visions of a surgeon’s shiny knife
Twisting through my head.

I was a big girl
Too big to cry
Too small to fight that fear
Within those clean white walls.

And then I heard
And though I did no see
I knew beyond a doubt
Those footsteps were coming for me.

No one else had such purpose
And I knew by the prideful clips
And the powerful clops
This walker’s destiny was me.

I no longer trembled
My fear went away.
I shall always remember my mother’s footsteps
And the sweet, sweet comfort they gave.

O Brother of Mine

Andy, Me, Peggy, George (4 of 12 sibs)

Hey brother did you know?  I have all these memories of us growing up together? Do you have these memories tucked away too? How magical we were together, o brother of mine.

“Hello little baby, I see you through that old white wrought iron baby crib.” Do you remember that old four post bed with the brass knobs? Maybe I climbed in with you, I’m sure that would be fitting. Maybe I was just impatient for you to hurry up and be big enough to come play. Maybe I already knew the magic we would create.

You see little brother; I don’t have memories of mom bringing you from the hospital or changing your diapers and helping you to walk. Just memories of you and me and the fun we had. Remember that sandbox in your third year? My goodness we spent so many hours there building our bridges and sifting sand! It was there we first met the little boy, Jeffy, our blood brother and constant childhood companion.

I feel the sun of our summers together and see us running everywhere we went, the bikes we rode, ramping everything we could. The old barrels we would stand and balance on, walking them carefully across the yard. Everyone in our town knew of our wonderful bag swing and often would join us. The huge old walnut tree Y’d in the middle allowing us to swing from three levels.  We were acrobats in a circus and we owned the wind that blew passed our ears. The laughter, the arguments and the challenges I still can hear.

The trails, the swamp, the Indian village and the year the Quatman family bought our wilderness and began to build their lumber yard. We climbed and lay in wait on that dirt pile, aimed our toy guns and planned their ambush.  How dare they take over our land! We were too small to understand we didn’t own the trails and the swamp and everything on the land neighboring our yard! We hated them for stealing our world, for tearing down the tree with the grand two story tree house built by our older brothers. We refused to let them stop us. We played around them and knew to hide when we saw them coming.

Our brothers and sisters played beside us, sometimes present, sometimes not. Still, we reaped the benefits. Do you remember those clubhouses they created and the old store Peggy put up in the old chicken barn? Remember that nice old witch, Broom Hilda? Remember the night Jeff and George created the wind sail and we ran along beside that little red wagon as it sailed that windy night?

 Tell me dear brother of mine, where have the days gone, where is that creek we called “Sandy Beach”, the large tubes we lazed on as it took us along? So many memories we created without even knowing.  These memories seep from me and yet no one but you understands the places I have been, the adventures we created.

Love You Still

James on left, Levi in middle, Allison on right

I gave them roots and then they were all gone. Sprouted their wings and took off.  I glance up at the wall in my living room. I silently mouth these words,” loved you yesterday, love you still, always have, always will”. The large photos of my three children hang in a staggered row.  My children are all grown now and have moved so far away.  I love their silly, sweet, playful, vibes surrounding me every day. I rejected the usual poses that so many photographers create. Instead I chose to frame each of them the way I will always see them.

James, my first born, the silly boy with the twinkling laughter in his blue green eyes, always forgetful and procrastinating, yet a joke and a tease for those he loves. This one grew up with his 17 year old mama, even as a teen I loved him fiercely. I still see him as a six year old boy, tending carefully to his two year old sister on the playground. How he would make sure she stayed away from the road and kept the bullies at bay with a big stick. Now a man, I see his care and respect for another wonderful single mama beginning to bloom.  I love them both and the little girl, she brings to our family.

Allison, a sweet little being from the very beginning, always so sentimental and caring and thoughtful, so imaginative and creative, an old soul in a vibrant young creation. My second born loves her mama and calls to chat almost daily. I consider her my best friend and confidante. Sometimes it seems the roles have turned and I find her being my role model.  I gaze at her photo and feel happy to know she now has a sweet dreamer’s shoulder to rest her head upon. She is in good hands with the man she met at 15. Now married and expecting his child at 26, I feel my love for them become abundant and my cup overflows.

Levi, my baby, how to explain my little caboose, so complicated and serious, little chip on his shoulder, frustrated with his disabilities and yet delightful when he wants to be, full of energy and always in search of new friends. Levi who searches for his place in life, at 20, has taken flight to go live with his father in another state. To learn what he can of the man who left his life when he was just a tender boy of 11, to catch up and hopefully heal the soul and begin to melt the chip. This strong young man I love with my whole heart, I hope he finally finds the peace and understanding he needs to lay his burdens down and be happy.

My children, my babies, my life in the blink of an eye time has flown by. I looked again and they are all still there locked securely in my heart. I see the beautiful eyes of my children and suddenly I feel like I am awaking from a dream. When did that happen? When did I create and raise these people, these people who are creating their own memories and lives. I don’t know  but my heart fills and I know for once, for certain, I have done something good and right. No matter what. But WOW! I’m blown away. Rock on kids!

Angel Among Us

I like to think she was a mother to the very end.

Her essence went away to be with our father long ago.

But her shell held on until she knew we no longer needed it.

We never knew we had an angel living among us,

In our life,

Everyday.

We never knew until she flew away.

Her shoes, so soft and leathery,

Comfortable and perfect,

Not one of us ever will ever fill.

But we will take comfort many a time,

When we are weary, when we are sad,

When we are happy, when we are glad.

For we had lived with an angel,

In our lives every day.

We never really knew until she flew away.

Firm and sure, in our hearts,

The images and intuitions,

Planted there graciously by a woman, small in stature,

Enormous in wonderful wisdom and kindness.

And the angel that lived among us

Has kissed our lives, gently.

She’s earned her wings now.

She has flown away.

~Sara Jane~

They Named Me Sara

They named me Sara. It means “Little Princess” or so my father told me once upon a time as I sat on his knee. I don’t know when the memories replaced the years. I don’t know when I became me. At forty some years of age I have begun to awaken. I have begun to look back and forward at the same time. Until now I have been wandering, drifting, floating through life. And so now, I stop. I promise myself that I will make plans and goals. But soon, I save my document, turn off the computer and my real life begins again.

I believe that there are all these minute events and people and situations that come together and form each one of us. Wifts of cigar smoke from a grandfather, smiles of mischievous brothers, big sisters’ tugs on pony tails, best childhood friends, kick the can games, fast bike rides, campouts in the backyard and swimming in the creek. For myself, the creation of a woman began as the adventures of a tomboy.

I am the youngest girl of a family of six boys and six girls. That does not mean that I am the baby of the family. No, my brother, Andy, grudgingly holds that position. Though it seems as though we have always been the same age, Andy is actually two years younger than me. Andy and Sara, some would say, two peas in a pod, childhood companions, soul mates, and buddies. I looked up to him and he always watched out for me. We rose from the earth. Dirty little feet, tangled wind blown hair and the smell of the great outdoors clinging to our sturdy little bodies. Smudges on our faces never matched the one’s on our hearts. We were poor, we wore hand me down clothes and ran barefoot all summer long. We watched our parents and our older siblings struggle and work. We played in the spare moments around life’s hardships. Our pride was strong, our hearts true. We never thought we were poor. We adored our family and defended it with all the innocence of our days. We kept it’s secrets and followed the unspoken rules and expectations that were set before we entered it. “Use your manners” “pass all food to the left around the table” “Eat with only one hand, the other on your lap” “Use Please and thank You when asking for seconds” comb your hair, wash your hands and face before supper and no hats at the table.

Security came in knowing what was expected. Never be late for supper. Evenings were sacred with only one thing to do, gather at the table to partake in our nightly ritual. Twelve children around one table with mother saying grace while dad sat silently. After we were satisfied and the huge bowls of food depleted, dad would take out his cigarettes and shake one from the pack to light. Mom would set the pot on for coffee while the girls would clear the table. Even now as a grown woman, I find myself with a tug in the evenings. When the street is dark and the lights go on in the houses along my neighborhood, I long to burst into our house to have delicous smells fill my soul. I long to slink through the quiet darkened living room into the kitchen full of light and warmth and welcome, to see my dad patiently waiting for us to wash up and know that mom will be busy up until the last child sits, filling bowls and fetching dishes.

And so, I feel compelled to write these words. To let the world know of the life I have lived and the feelings my heart has endured. Please join me as I ride this ride. Follow me as we wander back in time or zip to the present only to float somewhere in between and dream about the future. My blogs are simple musings on childhood and adulthood and life and everything in between. I have been given ROOTS and WINGS by my mother. I simply hope to share my wonderful roots and beautiful wings with the world.

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