Sweaty Grandma & Mom’s Super Power


This is my Mother’s Day post … it’s long, it’s wordy, it’s worth my sharing. Life is hard. It’s not all pretty. But memories of hope can rise up through the cracks of life … take a peek.

I remember my grandma on my daddy’s side of the family. She smelled of leftover soap, and her skin made you wrinkle your nose from the soured mix of sweat from the humidity. Her face shined with moisture from the damp air, even though the wind blew in East Texas. But the air stuck like glue. Her skin was fair. Her eyes were blue.

The front door to her place creaked, the sofa caved in low with dents in the cushions, and the box-sized coffee table with toothpick legs looked like it might crumple to the floor. On the kitchen table were dish towels and they covered homemade biscuits and jellies and butter. I often found a nice snack beneath one of those rags.

The kitchen made an L-shape cut into the wall and at the window the sink collected dishes, but not for long. Grandma’s sleeveless cotton dress hung loose like a dish towel too, wrung out from life, worn and weary, yet strong with a fabric of hope. She smiled. She hugged. She lit up when she looked at me.

I remember her deep bathtub, the hand-made quilts on the beds, the rock she kept by this one door to keep it from swinging shut. And I remember the scruffy way my shoes grated against the hardwood floor, the East Texas dirt gritty and clingy.

She shuffled, and wiggled when she moved, her round body and flabby-armed skin waved at me. It’s as if she had secrets, like life is hard, love is worth it, do your best.

I’m not sure would have said that, except that I remember my daddy’s traits were of such a manner. Thus, I conclude his training took place with her leading, with her guidance.

Now all leading and guiding from our parents will include mistakes, misguided moments, and misjudged opportunities. I’ve got my own rap sheet as a mother these days. But the grace and mercy is wrapped inside those memories, if we’ll take a glance inside.

This brings me to my own mother. A strong woman. Harsh at times. Bold and brave. She cries unexpectedly. She harbors broken stories deep within her wrinkles and her memories. I expect she’s longed for purpose.

And I’m sure she’s gazed into her life with aches of times past, but still, she’s led and loved, and strived and walked. And guided me, too.

Her journey, her own courageous steps are filled with capsules of kindness and strength.

She may ponder the what ifs, as we all do, but she’s the mother who walked to an altar with me when I wanted to trust Jesus. She’s the mother who chased those boys off when they stole my lemonade money from my stand in the yard. She’s the woman who ironed and cleaned and cooked and cared for me, and my twin sister.

So, I remember her today too. She’s the woman who brushed the hair of little sad neighborhood girls whose parents were inattentive. She worked too hard as we grew up, as she rose above her poverty of those cotton fields. But she broke through the humidity of the damp air where life hurt her and she clung on, diving in deep, and she kept walking, kept going, and kept trying. She kept moving.

I do wonder what her wildest dream might have been, or what she’s thinking about on how life played out for her. But I do know this … because of her and my daddy — I’m here! I was born! And yes, I’m serving Christ! Her steps mattered and she’s made mine matter!

And so, the walk continues … and it’s another day to gaze into opportunities to make a difference. Don’t let the soap of sweaty leftover smells keep you from finding joy in Christ! In giving Him glory! He’s the Rock that keeps the door of pain from swooping in and closing out the view of hope in … today!

Besides, I’ve got the best twin sister in the world!! Thanks to my mother and daddy! (Except for when Melody used to hit me with our batons as kids, that did cause me to reconsider her being the best sister.)

So, a mother’s love comes in strands like twisted yarn to make us strong. She imparts things like hope, mercy, love, courage, and discipline. And yes, she leaves those unexpected glances when she smiles and looks at you and her eyes sparkle. When she lights up!

That’s when you linger and capture that nugget inside the capsule of your heart forever! Because it’s the one that really matters in the long run!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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