As a mother, I feel constantly like I have a direct impact on the life of my tiny son. But it took today for me to see that I will not only shape his life, but I will shape the lives of many others by my actions.
Mothers, in words, thoughts, and actions, touch generations and generations of people.
My great grandmother, Sammie Patterson, passed away at 10:30 this morning. Being a writer, I have to discuss a woman as beautiful and pure as Grannie Sammie, because her inner beauty influenced the lives of countless children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. That inner beauty will touch many more in the generations that follow.
In the last 96 years, Grannie experienced famine, war, and prosperity. She saw America in all of its glory, and all of its ugliness. But despite all her experiences, she never quit her endless faith in Christ or her softness of spirit.
She once told me a tale about her younger years that I believe shows her spirit better than any other story.
She explained over a game of Scrabble (of which I was losing miserably) that when she was a young girl, she had heard a dirty word and wanted to see how it felt to say it.
Mischievously, she grinned at me as she recounted her youthful actions.
“I went into the bathroom, shut the door, and said ‘Durn! Durn! Durn!'”
Even as she was telling me her story, she lowered her voice as if it was the dirtiest word in her vocabulary.
“I felt so awful after I said it, that I never said it again. It just wasn’t part of me.” As she spoke, her smile deepened the laugh lines on her face. And a since of mischievous beauty made the smile contagious.
I giggled at her silliness.
Only a soul as beautiful as her’s can feel horrible after saying such a word. A word many, including myself, would hardly consider “dirty”.
Grannie was not only soft in spirit, but humble graciousness filled her soul.
I have, in my lifetime, been gifted with $270 from Grannie Sammie. That would be $10 for every birthday I’ve ever had. And I’m only one of dozens of great grandchildren.
Sometimes the card would be a month or two late with a scribbled, “I’m sorry this is late…” But it was always in my mailbox. It made it to my mailbox as a child. My mailbox at college. My mailbox in Dallas at my aunt’s home. And my mailbox in where we lived for the last five years.
Boy will I miss that 28th birthday card.
I don’t know how she always found where I lived, took the time to gift me with a card and check for $10, and still make me feel special miles and miles away, but I know that it brought a smile to my face every year to know that I was worth the effort.
And this effort wasn’t lost on her other descendants.
Grannie has, at this moment, 22 great-great grandchildren.
TWENTY-TWO GREAT-GREAT GRANDCHILDREN.
Let that sink in.
Her influence as a mother will directly touch those twenty-two individuals, their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and great grand mothers and great grand fathers. That’s a lot of people.
What makes Grannie Sammie even more special is this: She was so very proud of every, single one on her descendants. Not for a moment, not even a second, did she not remember and love each individual.
The last time I spoke to her, she proudly told me about how many great-great grandchildren she had. She began naming them, and telling me about each family unit. How they were doing, where they lived, and who just had babies. I was blown away by her ability to remember so many names and locations, but I was also amazed by her obvious love for every member of her family. No one escaped that love. It reached across states and back into her heart. Her family was the joy of her life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with it’s passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.”
I cannot think of a verse that better describes Grannie Sammie. No one will ever say of her that she did not walk in the Spirit. Her fruit showed every day of her long, blessed life. It shows in her children. Her grandchildren. Her great grandchildren. And it will continue to show in the generations that learned to live their life all passed down from one classy lady.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus smiled at her this morning and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
And she probably answered him with a soft smile, and grabbed his hand gently in joy as he led her through the gates to meet those she loves that went before her.
We love you, Grannie Sammie. And your life will not be lost on the generations you graced the world with. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your inspiring life of love. Thank you for the generations of influence you left on us.
To the rest of my readers, remember that you will have a legacy one day. What you leave behind is the most important gift you give the world. Large amounts of money leave grief, large plots of land leave feuds, but a beautiful life leaves a legacy.
This post has received so much love! Over 150,000 views and still going strong months later! I’m so humbled by all of you!
To the Father of My Son,
I know he’s hard to handle right now. You can barely deal with him long enough for me to wash my hair.
“He hates me,” was your response as he screamed at you. “He hates me.”
And yes, he’s better for me because I have boobs. Thank the heavens for boobs. He would be impossible otherwise.
But “better” doesn’t mean he’s easy for me. Nothing in the whole wide world is easy about this job.
If I could paint a picture, it would show me with our child straddling my back while I dog paddled into a hurricane. Because honestly, that’s how I feel some days. Like I’m dog paddling into a hurricane with a kid on my back.
I spend my entire day teaching him rhymes, tickling his tummy, teaching him to sleep, helping him eat, making sure his diaper is clean and dry, trying to keep the spit-up to a minimum, worrying about his mouth, worrying about that stuffy nose, worrying about the dogs, worrying about anyone and everyone who looks at him, trying to keep the house as clean as possible, forcing myself to let him cry just long enough for me to scarf down some semblance of lunch or use the bathroom.
Then I find myself wondering if he’ll recognize everything that I’m doing when he’s an adult, wondering if his girlfriend will have a clue or if his wife will know, knowing she won’t. Knowing I’ll lose him to her.
This. Right now. This is truly all I have.
I spend my time snuggling him. Oh the snuggles. The sweet, sweet snuggles. And I give him every piece of me because babies don’t keep.
They grow up. They won’t be like this forever. Or for long. And when he’s an adult I’ll miss his baby feet. I’ll laugh at the way he hated naps. I’ll tell him about how he rolled over when he was two weeks old and scared me to death. Or about that time he spit-up all in my hair and I was so exhausted that I wiped it out with a damp cloth and didn’t find a moment to wash my hair until two days later.
I’ll lose him to you, too. He won’t want his momma when Daddy teaches him to cast a line. He won’t want his momma when his daddy gives him a rifle for Christmas and takes him out that evening to learn how to use it. He won’t want his momma during the following October, November, December, and January. Or during the rest of the year when it’s this season or that.
Well, at least not like he wants me now.
I’ll lose him to you when you take him to the lake. I’ll lose him to you when you teach him to shave. I’ll lose him to you when you tell him how to treat a woman on his first date. I’ll lose him to you when you talk about manly things in the truck.
Love, I’ll lose him to you, first. Then we’ll both lose him to his wife.
It’ll happen slowly, then all at once. You’ll see.
We have right now to teach him to love. That’s it.
He has to love us the way he’ll love that woman someday. That woman who will no doubt be the luckiest girl in the world, because he has two parents who taught him in the best way. By loving one another so very deeply.
So be patient with us, Love. You’ll have the opportunity to steal him away soon enough. He doesn’t hate you. I promise.
Right now he’s Momma’s baby. But tomorrow he’ll be Daddy’s son.
If you enjoyed this post, check out A Letter to my Unborn Son.
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Anyone who’s hung out with a baby for more than a few minutes learns one very important thing: they know what they want and aren’t afraid to wail for it.
Not only are they willing to wail, they will continue to do so until their “needs” are met.
Here are fifteen of those needs that babies are 100% certain of.
1. When they’re hungry, they’re starving to death.
2. Cribs are obviously made of molten lava.
3. Moms are made of all that is right with the world.
4. Baths are only fun if you can get ALL THE THINGS WET.
5. Pooping is best done at a squat while mom holds you.
6. Slobber and spit up are the prettiest accessories to any outfit.
7. Dad is not mom.
8. Strangers are not mom.
9. Grandparents are not mom.
10. Nobody but mom is mom.
11. When mom tries sitting down stars collide and threaten planet earth. Mom must never sit.
12. Moms really only need one meal per day. Usually breakfast.
13. Grocery stores are really boring. Liven them up by screaming.
14. Peeing is most fun without a diaper.
15. Babies really love their mom.