Confession: I am a hoarder. I have at least fifteen Sticky Notes on my computer filled with random thoughts I cling to. I’ve written various paragraphs about experiences I barely remember but fear letting them go. But I have a blog now! A virtual scrapbook of sorts! So I decided to let go of some of my writings just because. So here’s one I wrote about a year and a bit ago.
I sat wrapped in a blanket, not in the circle but not quite outside. Surrounding me were my great-aunts, my grandmother, and my mother; a semi-circle of strong women who seem to clasp hands and wine glasses in the light of earthly darkness. I watched them with the eyes of a youth, knowing that my perspective today cannot last until tomorrow.
We sat in my grandmother’s living room with the screen door and window open, huddled underneath throw blankets. My great-aunt Jackie, who has the regal air of a beauty queen but who has also completely retained her amiable features, was on my immediate left. She always speaks with such calm knowledge but also sass. My mother was next to her; a generation underneath them all but somehow one of them, as her years of hard expertise in all things woman and mother of six inducted her into their Hall of Fame. Next to her was my other great-aunt, Judy, whose curly hair and light brown skin have a way of making you want to hug and laugh with her. And on my right, was my grandmother, Linda, the oldest sister as always, who managed to keep her voice of authority even though little sisters have a sneaking way of not always staying little, whose Sally Fields smile is ageless.
I listened to them talk about topics which had a new effect on me, like I was mesmerized. They spoke of spirituality, of religious heritage, of wayward children, of sorrow, of motherhood, of being children, of the Holy Ghost and unbearable questions. They were vulnerable and strong. Together, they were so accomplished and wise in their years, but now reached a new stage where they are very much children again, making heavy decisions without the guidance of their parents as they are now the ones who decide for them.
While I observed, enraptured by what could only be described as a sisterhood and legacy of godly, strong women, I realized that this was my torch to bear, to follow them as mothers, wives, and women, to pass on their knowledge and heart and ambition and passion. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready but I do know that I am capable.
This is aging, not the terrifying illusion I had in my head of wrinkled hands, forgetfulness, being forgotten, and left. As I looked around, I saw beauty because I saw strength.
You can always know a person by the role models they keep. And mine are profoundly superb.