Monday, September 5, 2016

On My Momma

There isn't a number for the amount of phone calls she takes in which a shaky voice on the other end whispers, "I need to talk to you about something. . ."

I can't imagine the fear that likely swells in the walls of her heart - wondering what the green eyed girl will share with her this time - in what ways might both of their worlds shatter or alter, skip necessary steps or pull back in a reversal that just shouldn't be.

She always takes them with stride, though. Her reaction - I've memorized it along with the smell of baby powder and gardenia that immediately helps me understand her presence in the room. A deep, belly-deep breath in and she calmly says, 'okay. go ahead.'

And she always has an answer, a solution. She always knows the next steps to take. She always does.

There is no calculable measurement for what I owe her - monetarily, but also with time. The amount of crises she detours from hitting me, the tears she patiently wiped when I, yet again, trusted a sneaky eyed boy with my heart and was given mere fragments back when he chose the blonde over me.

No prose in the world will properly encapsulate the times she came swooping in - a super heroine who never wanted recognition or title, but to simply be called momma and be loved deeply.

She is both of those things. But she also has the full capability of changing the world. She's certainly changed mine.

Recently we were discussing how much I've changed in recent years. I recall a time when powder pink was my entire universe - all the Barbies, all the Barbie homes, all the Barbie limos - and I was unapologetically GLEEFUL over the sparkle of the world she created for me.

And when the Barbies took a backseat to first kisses and holding hands with the tall, blue-eyed athlete, she did what she could to let me tip-toe into maturity, but she was always there. She was the ever watchful eye I resented up until the day I realized just how much I needed it to survive in a world designed to break me.

Of late, I cannot formulate, in words, the degree of panic she has probably felt over the questions that have traveled from my lips, through the phone line, to reach to ever bending ear.

"What if I moved to Dayton?"


"What if I took a job in which I had to create a ministry team?"

 "What about a longer stay in India?" 

"Could I spend Christmas in India?"

She listens patiently - never hesitating to lay her fears, her concerns, on the table before me. But don't be mistaken - she never once utters the word no. She never thinks to close a door on the frightened whisperings of an over feeling heart.

As I collect years and become more acquainted with this woman God wrote a story for, she watches her little girl grow and make mistakes. She holds her when life is too much or the darkness grips too tight. And she is the first to squeal through the phone is pure delight over something beautiful on the page.

As I collect years and become more acquainted with this woman God wrote a story for, she stands firmly in the corner of her girl who, surprise, surprise, loosens the roots of those corn fields a little more each day. She backs every decision made to get on a plane - even if the destination haunts in its mystery. She maintains her role as loudest supporter as her girl falls in love with a land, with a little boy, with a culture far from where she originally raised her.

As her girl cries for more room, lets loose her lengthening hair, and slowly unwraps from the binding anxiety who has riddled every movement of her adolescence, she gets out the watering can and, with tears rushing down her face, pours life back into the dry places so the green-eyed Coco can flourish as she was designed to.

No essays or books or poems could encapsulate a love that continues to grow like a weed. I watch her be a momma - she is a momma in the ways I imagine her momma was to her. She is strength - visceral and innate. She is a warrior - standing tall and speaking firm. She is unconditional love - her wild children push their limits, test the boundaries of a world counting on them tripping up - and she remains the warm embrace, the tender answer, the landing place.

She watches as I refine the wildness within me - unapologetically testing patience and seeking out passion - and she never once considers stifling what is within me.

She is cultivation personified - harvesting the wonder and intensity inside and wrinkling up her beautiful nose in joy when I, by God's purse grace, get it right.

She is my momma. She feeds the luxuriant. She loosens the free. She ruffles the skirt of my natural. 

She waters my wild without hesitation and still allows my return when something goes awry.

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