Image Source: www.quotesandwishes.com
I love you, Mama. We are so much alike it’s scary…but in a good way. Linda Hall, you are my best friend and role model. You taught me to be a good daughter by watching how you loved and cared for your own mother, my Granny Mae. You taught me that a mother-in-law can be a source of joy through the relationship I watched you have with my Granny Brook. I realize that because Betty died so soon after Kelly and I were engaged, I’ve missed having her as a source of strength, example, and faith. Thank you for loving Kelly like he was your own son. You’ve made such a difference in his life.
My children love you. You did the job of two grandmothers because you knew that Betty couldn’t be here to share the task with you. You have offered them your love and advice. The fact that Claire still gets up on Saturday mornings to have her weekly shot of “Grammy” time is a testimony to the great love and respect she has for you. The fact that Steven waited so patiently (okay — maybe not-so-patiently) for your rental house to become available so that he could raise his family in the place where he was raised is a testament to our family’s great love and support of each other. And even thought Martin is still living at home, working on his education, it means a great deal to him to be able to walk over anytime and see you. I know their adoption papers say that they are not blood-related to you, but your spirit flows through their veins and your influence has shaped the persons they’re becoming.
Four Generations: My Mom and Joshlyn (center), Steven (right), and Me (left)
Photo Source: Sandra Hall Rosser
I’ve watched you struggle with eyesight issues all of my life. Of course, I didn’t know you were handicapped until I was in high school. You could do everything, except drive, and I just thought Granny Mae drove us everywhere because she loved being with us. You play the piano like a professional and have been the pianist at Judson Baptist Church for fifty-four years. You worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Cumberland County Schools and touched hundreds of children’s lives with your love and Christian influence.
You’ve seen me through bad choices, rough situations, emotionally crippling times, and countless other faults and sins I’ve endured in my fifty-one years. Although I didn’t always appreciate your advice when I was younger, the older I get, the more I realize that you were right more times than you were wrong. Even when you were wrong, you admitted it, and that made an impact on me. As a parent, I’ve made countless errors, but I always admit when I’m wrong because it lets my kids know that I am human and need forgiveness. I’ve even begun to hear that phrase that is music to my ears: “You were right, Mom!”
In wishing my Mama a happy birthday, I have to acknowledge two other very important women who added to my spiritual and emotional education: Eula Mae Carter (my maternal grandmother) and Mary Alice Westbrook (my paternal grandmother). I lost them over a decade ago. Granny Mae’s birthday would have been on September 5. Granny Brook’s birthday would have been on September 7. I believe that I have received wonderful traits from my “September Superwomen.”
She watches over her family
and never wastes her time.
Her children speak well of her.
Her husband also praises her,
saying, “There are many fine women,
but you are better than all of them.”
Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you,
but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned;
she should be praised in public for what she has done. (Proverbs 31:27-31, NCV)
My Granny Mae was a woman after God’s own heart. She lived right beside my family as I was growing up. My greatest memory associated with her is that she always had her Bible on the kitchen table and open to whatever she was studying. I had the great privilege of having her as my senior high Sunday school teacher. She lost the love of her life in her fifties and never re-married. She worked hard all her life. She loved me unconditionally but she never minded telling me when she thought I was wrong. She was a woman who kept her opinions about other people close to the vest — not much of a gossip. (Sorry, Granny Mae. I’m striving to be more like that daily.)
Three Generations: Granny Mae (center), Mama (right), and Me (left)
Photo Source: Reflections Photography/Diane Atkinson
She was the reason I was able to participate in any after school activities. Because my mom was visually impaired (and I was not aware of the ramifications of this until I got my own driver’s license at sixteen), she and Granny Mae made sure I could stay for chorus, cheerleading practice, and any other activity where the school bus couldn’t take me home. I cherish those times — the three of us coming home from school, sharing what kind of day I’d had with two of the three most important women in my life.
The thing I’ll never forget about her is that when Martin and Steven first came to live with us, she started making breakfast for them on Saturday mornings. “I don’t know how long they’ll be with us,” she said. “But we’re going to make memories while we can.” When we found out that we could actually adopt them, the Saturday morning breakfasts continued and family from all over the neighborhood began to show up. It was like a having mini-family reunion every week. I miss that.
My Granny Brook was also a woman after God’s own heart. She did not believe in mincing her words — you knew exactly where you stood with Alice Westbrook. She lost her first husband when my father was two years old and married my Granddaddy Percy, who loved my daddy like he was his own child. Living directly across the street from her while I was growing up meant that I could visit anytime I wanted. She always had a garden and the best-stocked freezer! Summer corn and butter beans in February was always a treat. My husband says she made the best fried chicken, corn, and butter beans ever cooked on this planet.
Photo Source: Sandra Hall Rosser
The thing for which I’ll always be grateful is that she lent me the money to go college. My tuition wasn’t much by today’s standards, but it was more than I could manage without a loan in 1980. She loaned me the money, interest free. She was proud that I would be the first college graduate in our family and that I wanted to be a teacher. She loved my children and they loved her. Martin and Steven got spend more time with her because they were ten and eleven when she died. She and my grandfather used to take them to the Autryville Cafe for lunch. Steven always called it “The Chicken House” because he always got a chicken leg and french fries for his meal.
Claire was only four when my grandmothers died. Her memories are sketchy, so I always tell her stories. My Granny Mae and Granny Brook considered her their “little princess” and no great-granddaughter was ever loved more. I remind her that her middle name, Melinda, is a combination of her grandmothers’ names: “M” from Mary Alice, “E” from Eula Mae, and “Linda,” which is my mother’s name. She carries a huge legacy in that name and she is proving to be a smart, strong, God-fearing young lady.
It’s my mother’s birthday. I want to have her around for years to come. The song I’ve chosen today is not necessarily sacred on face value, but the underlying meaning is sacred for me. It’s generational in nature because I am what my mother is because she is what my Granny Mae was.
Happy birthday, Mama. I don’t mind being told that I do things “like my mother does.” It’s a great compliment. I hope I make you proud.
“Like My Mother Does” (Lauren Alaina)
- Why Grannies Give Much (apolbeautifullybrokenblog.wordpress.com)
- Happy Grandparents Day! (cheekslittleboutique.wordpress.com)
- What to Name the New Grandmother: A Newbie’s Dilemma (grannycentric.com)
- I’m sorry about this. (verymuchacoward.wordpress.com)