Thursday, August 21, 2014
Who Is Your Role Model?
My role model was a homemaker. A mom. A wife of 53 years. A Christian. My "adoptive" mom who stepped into the empty spot my own had left when she walked away.
She took me under her wing when I was an awkward 12 year old. My home life was a wreck, as my parents fought constantly, had separated, then gotten back together because of me. Life was miserable. We had moved around a bit, and landed in Missouri after leaving the only life I'd known in southern Oklahoma. My dad moved us to the same town his sister (my aunt) and her husband lived in, and I met my cousin Anna. That first summer in Missouri, she offered to have me come down for a week's visit at her house just outside a larger city in central Missouri.
Anna was just a little bit younger than my biological mom. She and her husband had a beautiful old home on the outskirts of the city, a bit of acreage. I can remember first walking into her home and being in awe of all the wonderful antiques and collectibles, and being so afraid to touch anything for fear I'd break them. I was so nervous and awkward, never the social person then or now. She made me feel so much at home then, as I was family, but she also made me feel loved.
The summer before I turned 13, she started having me come stay a week at her home. She made me feel special. I'd save up money and she'd take me to the mall, have my hair done, and for a short while let me get away from all the yelling and fighting and stress that was my home. This tradition continued for a few years. She and I wrote letters back and forth, she listened to my dreams of playing music, of being a writer, of doing so much, all written from a little farm house in northern Missouri. She would encourage me through the letters she wrote in return, she breathed life into me that was lacking so much at home. When I was abused and broken within my home, her kind words helped sew back the pieces and made me feel a little closer to whole.
Each summer I spent there, I watched and learned from her. I took in how she kept a meticulously clean home, with dishes always done, beds made first thing, laundry going, floors kept nice and clean, and seldom a speck of dust. I adored how she decorated in Victorian styles, with lots of laces and frills, how she and her husband did so much to make the house such a beautiful home. She made many of her decorations, she painted and papered, she purchased fine antiques to decorate with, she worked hard to keep her home nice. She worked outside, keeping beautiful beds of flowers, so many varieties one would lose count. One year, she built her own water and rock garden to place her herbs in, complete with arbor covered in clematis. It was such a pretty scene to see when arriving at her home. She and her husband built a big greenhouse to supplement the starts for their overflowing garden, and they worked together in the garage-turned-workshop meticulously refinishing antiques and reupholstering furniture.
She worked hard, with her hands, with her love.
She was a homemaker, tending her husband and children, and when they were grown and on their own with families of their own, she still was close by to help. She was there to make home cooked meals, always had time to brew a fresh cup of tea or hot chocolate, she made you feel at home no matter the time of day of what she was doing. She always made you feel she was glad to have you even when she was dead tired.
She was there for ups and downs with her children and grandchildren and loved on them no matter what.
She did the same for me as I grew up, as "one of her kids". I wanted her to be so proud of me, I wanted to show her I could make something out of myself. It wasn't to my own mother that I ran to when I was in an abusive relationship with my son's father and had to leave it running with a special needs child in tow. It was to her. It was her strength and discipline that helped me get back on my own feet, stronger and a bit wiser, than what I'd been before. She helped teach me to face my worst nightmares head on, no matter if it meant possible hurt, to do what was right before the law. Her discipline in holding me accountable made me grow up from the scared single mom into a hard working determined to stand on my own feet mom willing to sacrifice my comforts for my son.
She was the mom I had needed, long after my own had left.
It was to her I look up to for homemaking skills, for learning sewing skills and the desire to make things to build my home. It was to her that I asked advice on canning, cooking, gardening. After I married, it was to her that I sought out the more home building aspects. My husband appreciates the things she taught me via internet, as well as when I was younger and in her hands.
She also showed me the need for salvation. I had no idea that I needed Christ, not until she and her daughter showed me as a 25 year old adult. She and her daughter made sure those seeds were well planted, watered, cultivated, and they took root.
There's so much more I could say about my role model, but not near enough space inside a blog's allotted memory space to write it.
My role model, my cousin by blood but mom in so many ways, passed away this week. I miss talking with her, with asking her how she's doing and how the garden's coming along. I miss hearing her adventures in canning her yearly quarts of V8 juice for the winter. I miss her encouraging words so much.
She fought a hard battle with cancer, but she fought with her head held high. She didn't complain when the pain was more than she could bear. Instead, she worried about others, all the way to the end.
She was married to her high school sweetheart for 53 (or 54, I forget) years, a loving wife, mom, and grandma.
And my adoptive mom..and role model.
Who is your role model?
Lovingly shared with: The Modest Mom, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, What Joy Is Mine, A Proverbs 31 Wife, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions
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