Have a dressed up day!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

happy birthday, daddy, sleep well

I love my daddy.  

He would be eighty years old today.

Daddy had a favorite joke he told us when we were little about an Indian, a doctor, and a tepee.  This joke has one not so nice word in it and when I was in the third grade I told it to my teacher and class.

If I try hard I can still hear Daddy's laughter loud and strong when I did that.

Daddy had been sick a couple years before he died and didn't have the energy he did before illness attacked his body.  But his spirit was the same for a long time.  I remember a day on my front porch when he did that little wave of the hand and roll of the eye and sound from the throat he did when he spoke of someone and how they ain't got no sense.  

When I looked at my daddy I didn't always see age.  I saw the little boy who was scared of school and beat his mama back home every morning after she dropped him off  because he took the shortcut.

The man who could never bear to spank us, so he didn't.  Ever.  

I didn't see a man who walked barefoot in the snow to school everyday.  Really, Daddy?  Here.  In Mississippi?  

Or a man who lived in a house so bad you could see the chickens pecking underneath through the cracks in the floor  Maybe?  But.... I don't know, Daddy. 
Trust is a little shaky after the snow story.  

Who became caught in the middle of my teenage rebellion with my mama.

And who stayed up all night with me after a hard day of work because my eyes were as big as quarters.

I saw a man who allowed my mama to stay home and raise us.  I'm sure sometimes he thought she raised us alone, but the power to keep us in her loving presence came from him.  

His words were few.  Sentiment crept in as he grew older and he felt the need to love us more.  But that wasn't possible, we  never felt unloved. 

Happy Birthday.  Sleep well, Daddy, in the pure peace and presence of God.  I'll see you soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

letter to my pregnant daughter

Dear Delia,

I think, but I'm not certain, the last time he cupped his chubby hand all the way around my neck- all the way till his hand lay flat right at the center of my throat- was on a walk to the mailbox on a hot afternoon.  But I'm not certain.  Not certain that was the last time.

If I had known it was the last time she would place both hands on my cheeks to tell her story I would have looked closer.  I would have gazed into those great big beautiful eyes and memorized every detail.  I would have asked questions about that story till she grew weary if I had known it was the last time she'd place her hands on my cheeks to spill words.

I don't remember the last time Mamie or Mommy became Mama.  Just like that with no warning or foretelling it just became Mama.  I can't tell you the last time I cut up a plate of spaghetti or chicken breast when I'd never be asked again.  I didn't know the last time was the last time.

The last time I brushed your hair back into half ponytail and held round brush to your bangs was - I don't know.  One day in that eggplant colored bathroom before our world rocked hard.  

But I had no idea I'd never do it again.

How many nights did you crawl into bed with me?  How many nights did your daddy move to the sofa?  Probably way past when most would say it should have been, but not me.

But I didn't know the last time I felt the weight of your body wake me as it lay in the middle it was the last time you'd come.

When he'd never say po-wa-wa again and ask for popsicle next time.

When she'd never turn both feet in as she walked to just one day walk straight.

There's a last time for everything my darlin'.

And it rushes in like an unexpected wind and lifts away childhood one veined heart pounding moment at a time.

Carries it away into a swirling gathering of what Webster calls memories but what your mother calls a slow glorious death.

And only few times will you pause and wonder if it's happening.

Because car seats are heavy and bags are weighted and baths seem unending.  Meals come one after the other till you are weary and papers need checking and teeth need cleaning and you dig one after another after another of something from underneath the sofa and why did the dryer have to eat the very last matching sock when you didn't know someone was drinking the last drop of milk and payday is still two days away so there's too much to think about to think about last times?

You will see.  So listen closely now and take heed my love.

You didn't leave home the day you moved out.  You didn't leave home the day you married that red headed boy of yours.  You still came back.  You still lay with your head in my lap and cried over  problem and I knew you were still my little girl living in a woman's body trying really hard to be a woman. I'm sure you'll probably lie with your head in my lap again and cry - I hope so - but even if you do you'll be just visiting. 

Cause now, my darlin' baby girl,  you've left home.

And I know exactly when it happened.

Now she swells big tiny inside you and you look beautiful and you really do glow as you sit across the room and rest your hand on that spot that aches and now you've left home.

She's the one who has taken you away. 

And it is above all my moments of motherhood with you my love the most amazing glorious take my breath away moment of all.

And I know exactly when it happened.


Read the first letter here.  When I'm gonna be a grandma.

Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12