This weekend the boys and I went to my parents home to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Also I went to get away and to enjoy a little time off from my role has Head Female in These Parts. I needed to go be a little lower on the totem pole. To be a daughter, not just a momma. To be the one who needed a snuggle, a hug, a kiss on the forehead.
Recently our friends Ian and Jenny were back in the States, visiting from Swaziland where they serve HIV positive women and children. Out of all the facts and figures and personal stories that they shared the one that planted it’s roots way down deep in my heart, was the one about how kids as young as 5 years old look after their own medical care, and often their own meals and laundry. If they are thirsty they have to go down to the predator infested river to fill a bucket. If they need a clean shirt they have to wash it in that same river, risking a limb or their life. And when it is time to go to the clinic or the hospital for new meds or a shot, they are responsible to get Ian and Jen when it is time to go. No one reminds them. Their parents don’t ride the van to the hospital with them, holding their hands, saying prayers for healing, kissing their foreheads, wiping away the worry.
I am 37 years old and my mother will come nurse me if I am sick and I ask for her. She prays for my healing. She will hold my hand if I am scared or nervous. She helps wipe away my worry.
How spoiled I am. How privileged. How blessed. How unfair this seems to me, that this is my life and not theirs. How grateful I am for Ian and Jenny and the work they are doing. How grateful I am for a mother who cares, still.
How grateful I am for my whole nutty family. The kind of family who will stand around and oohh and ahhh over a porch floor.
On Saturday my sister Judea, my brother Joshua and my grandparents joined us for the day and the first order of business was to check out how my mother -with help from my artist and mathematically minded brother- had stained the floor of her front porch.
I love this picture because it captures multiple interactions and personalities so well. Such a fly-on-the-wall moment of my family.
There is 65 years of marriage on that swing.
Crazy beautiful tenacity.
Tenderness. Endurance. Laughter.
Coffee time. This family cannot function without coffee.
The artist striking a pose.
I bet you can’t guess who he takes after in personality & looks can you?
So there you have it – my momma’s new porch floor and a glimpse of our morning on it.