The other morning my television screen flickered with images of a very old classic movie. The story was about a young pioneer woman about to head west. She was excited to start a new life with the man she had just married, but just before she walked out the cabin door to climb up on the covered wagon, she realized she most probably would never see her beloved mother again. The mother who had been sitting in a rocking chair, pulled her grown daughter on to her lap, and rocked her as if she were a small child. She kept telling her daughter how much she meant to her, and how she had a similar experience as a new bride, leaving her own mother. She reassured her daughter that they could never really be apart as long as they each had the other in their hearts. That same heartfelt love and wisdom that has bound mothers and daughters together over the centuries has always been shared between me and my own dear mother.
My sense of worth was instilled in me by a mother that has always given generously of her love and has always kept me close in her heart. From the time I was a little girl, she was my biggest cheerleader. When I was a child and belted out God Bless America, missed verses and all, she would clap with such conviction, that I knew I must have the voice of an angel. When I spun myself in circles haphazardly across the kitchen floor, convinced I had a career in tap dancing, my mother told me, “of course, you a have rhythm unusual for a child your age.” I knew I most assuredly must be the next Poet Laureate because when I strung a line of adjectives together, my mother would tell me no one could express themselves like me. And each time I looked in the mirror, I knew I was as beautiful as any Hollywood starlet, because my mother said so. In fact, I grew up thinking I was just about the best thing since “sliced” bread.
I remember when I was about to marry my military husband to be, my mother explained to him that it might be difficult for me to move away from my family. She was right; it has been difficult at times. Military spouses must often leave their homes and the people they love, and forge their way to new destinations. Sometimes it feels like a journey on a trail I don’t necessarily want to blaze. When I was a young mother, I would often see what so obviously appeared to be a grandmother happily bouncing her beloved grandchild on her knee at the local eatery. I would long for the opportunity to call my mother over for a cup of morning coffee, or have her stop by to hand out sage advice on how to deal with diaper rash, or teething children. I sometimes felt cheated because my mother was living in a different place, away from whatever obscure land my husband took me in our “covered wagon.”
But, unlike the pioneer mother and daughter, we have been able to visit with one another after my initial departure from home. Granted those visits have often had to be by phone, texting or snail mail, and we have had to make our own long cross country treks to see one another over the years. When I called my mother yesterday to wish her a happy birthday, it didn't surprise that she would bless me by telling me I was a gift to her. She always gives of her heart. Because of my mother’s love, enthusiasm, and generosity of spirit, I have been able to forge new paths, and embark on long journeys with the sure knowledge that we could never really be apart as long as we have each other in our hearts.