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Wednesday Wind Down: Matri

Happy Wednesday, Family!

Mother’s Day is near and I’ve been reflecting lately on lessons I’ve learned from the matriarchs in my family. Before I dive into that pool of goodness, I must acknowledge the mamas in this virtual living room and those mourning their mamas. I love you all and I see you. I appreciate you and I’m hugging all of you right now.

April is a reflective month for me because two of my late grandmothers’ birthdays are in that month. When May comes, the flutter of mother’s day rests on my heart in the same sentimental space. It’s a peaceful area. I feel the spirits of my matriarchs everywhere and their wisdom wraps me up and steadies my seas. Below are four lessons that steer my life to this day.

Photo by Timothy Paule II on Pexels.com
  1. Keep your mind sharp.
    When my great-grandparents drove down from Ohio to visit us in Alabama, it felt like Christmas morning. Not because they had a bag of presents, but because Great-Grandma Coffee was my mental playmate. I was nerdy elementary kid and she reveled in it. A few books of word search puzzles was always in her bag and my eyes lit up every time she held it in her hands. When she calmly pulled out a pen from her purse and rested her knees in that rocking chair, I knew what time it was. The challenge was on to see who could finish a page first. We could go through 50 puzzles in a matter of days. She had a head full of trivia. If I beat her, it was a miracle. Our word search battles were the stuff of gladiators. Her daughter, my grandmother, was the same way… always stretching her mind. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy were constantly playing on the television and I loved it all. Thank God for matriarchs that weren’t afraid to show their wit.
  2. We are stewards of the Earth.
    My paternal grandmother taught me early that God gave us a divine charge to take care of this planet. Recycling was non-negotiable and eating fresh foods was normal. She read every label and screened every meal to ensure it was nutritionally balanced. Aloe plants thrived in her apartment It’s because of her that I only purchase 100% juice and that I can tell you which vegetables contain certain vitamins. She’s why I eat broccoli like candy and monitor my fried food intake. Her mantra was that we were made from the Earth, so She had everything we needed to survive. I loved that about my grandmother and I appreciate her wisdom in marrying our faith to Mother Nature.
  3. Do it well or don’t do it at all.
    One thing about my grandmothers and my mother, they were/are notorious perfectionists. My aunts are the same. What you could not do was do something halfway and they find out about it. No way. Make that a hell no with stadium lights around it.. My grandmothers could dress to the nines and could organize an event better than any professional planner. They stressed that the only thing you truly own is your name and is imperative to keep it intact. Whether it was re-applying the crooked stamps on the envelopes or making sure my choir robe was pressed, everything has the stamp of your name on it, so care about everything that leaves your hands.
  4. Serve from the heart.
    I watched my matriarchs serve people from all walks of life when they needed Love most. Their hands were extensions of God. I saw grace with my own eyes from elementary school onward and it germinated grace in me. My mother called the parents of her Sunday School students every Saturday to ensure they were coming the next day and to offer a ride if they needed. The little brown Chevette carried a caravan, you hear me? Every week, she picked up youth choir members and anyone who wanted to go to church. That single mother on a shoestring budget made several trips if necessary. My mother. Every week. Rain or shine. My aunt wakes up asking God to show her who to help today, then… she actually does it. No matter what it is. When you serve others, you do it from the heart of God, or don’t do it at all. Period.
Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

None of my grandparents are living, but they live within me. Their wisdom stands around me when life gets rough. I appreciate everything they instilled in me and all that my mother still pours into my soul. It’s a priceless gift.

I pray that you are surrounded by maternal wisdom from surprising places if you’re not able to retrieve it from your family. Matriarchs are all over the place – in your community, your church, your neighborhood senior living center or retirement community… anywhere. Reach out for it and be amazed at the richness you’ll find.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Family. I love you and stay well out there!

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #13

Dear Children That I May Have,

The first thing I want you to know is that I love you already. By this time in my life, I thought there would be two or three of you bugging me about our next family trip or having a dance-off in the living room. Since you’re not here (possibly yet or not at all), I’m having enough cool experiences to share plenty of memories with you.

Let me be clear — I didn’t wish for you when I was child playing with dolls. I didn’t pine for you to be here faster because I couldn’t live without you. There will never be a lie between us (that’s how my parents raised me, so, you’re stuck with that), so I won’t start with those. I did know that if you showed up that I would welcome you with an open heart and my love would pour all over the place. That’s just how I am and that’s probably how you will be too.

Thank you, Desiree Danielle Beauty & Photography. You always slay.

You have a dope mom. Yep, I said it. It’s OK… you’ll find out if you get here. I learned to be a strong woman in the midst of adversity yet soft enough to listen to your spirit. I learned to encourage myself when no one was around and I learned to lean on Jesus for my Peace of mind. I pray that is passed down to you as well. Your mother is a survivor and you will be too. I’ll do everything I can to help you, but I won’t coddle you one bit. I give you my word that I will laugh at you when it’s funny and hold you when it’s not. I’ll have your back and your front. No matter what gender you are, I’ll remind you it’s OK to have a sensitive heart and a strong will. Both of them can co-exist.

You’ll be amazing humans that will find your own way. You will grow up in a loving environment with plenty of culture and dialogue. It won’t be perfect, but it will be healthy… and I promise to let you and God have your own relationship. Period.

I hope you make it here, but if you don’t, your mom loves you and I’ll see you when I get up there.

Sincerely,

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #6

Hey, Sweeties!

You already know that I love you to the moon and beyond. I think all of you are absolutely exceptional. Your minds work so fast because you grew up in a world where it had to. Your creativity is so diverse that I’m just grateful to have a seat in the audience.

Unbeknownst to you, I loved you before I saw you. For real. In most cases, I was with your mother and/or father up to the final hours before you graced us with your presence. It was so cool to stroll down the memory lanes of our friendship as I held you for the first time or shared our first conversation. It was official — you were an addition to my village too. It’s difficult to fathom, but your parent(s) actually had a different life before you got here and I was in it, so by default, you’re part of a tribe. A loving tribe.

Let me tell you some things that you may forget later.

First, the world owes you nothing, so do not hold back who you are. Do exactly what you were born to do — no exceptions. If that’s being a mechanic, you better shine doing it and let me book a service appointment. If that’s being a fashion designer, you better throw your whole self in it and let me buy one of your pieces. Remember that you will always have access to me. Some of you already have proof of that as we’ve laughed, learned, or navigated difficult conversations. Others have yet to redeem that perpetual offer, but you know it’s there. Either way, you have a support system, Love… a whole tribe. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel alone.

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Next, work smart and play hard. Laziness will get you nowhere and you know I will call you out on it, so don’t slip. I’m hard on you because I know what you can do. I know the stock you came from. I know how serious your parent(s) was about your health, safety, and education before you were a teenager. I know how hard they studied in school. I know how many times they picked themselves up after being knocked down, so I know what’s in you. I accept nothing less your best.

Lastly, I hope you soar beyond thunderstorms of negativity and that every word against you bounces off your Loving armor. Trust me — more clouds are coming but they don’t have to be gray. The lightning bolts of unexpected failures don’t have to take you out of the game. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that moment is just a blip on your life spectrum. It does not define you and it will pass. I promise.

I’m so proud of you already. You are exquisitely created to go beyond this generation into the deep waters of progress. Move forward and know that I will always have your back.

See you around,

CJW

Wednesday Wind Down: notre petite fleur

Hi, Sweethearts.

This one was a difficult piece to begin writing. My heart is still aching over the dismal news of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney and 5-year-old Nevaeh Adams. While in different states, both were found dead and discarded like trash this week (Kamille’s body was in a dumpster and Nevaeh’s body was in a landfill).

Both cities are in mourning and our communities are hungry for clarity and directional blame, yet this isn’t a soliloquy of how disgusted I am over this tragedy.  In the meantime, I’m at home sifting through a few questions that are also on the table — what do we do now? How do we still pray when such indignant evil deeds run rampant? What do we do with the anger and despair? How do we prevent this from happening again? 

The truth is not pretty, but I don’t know any other way to say it — There are evil people in this world and there’s nothing you can do to eradicate them. It’s sad and repulsive; however, as long as there is free will, evil will be present. People decapitate others for religious beliefs. Humans mutilate fellow humans because of their sexual preferences. Abusers beat their spouses to the brink of death. Corruption begets embezzlement. The current dose of diabolic behavior makes my soul hurt for those innocent babies. Our babies. It was enough to make me reconsider birthing life. I had to ask God what to do with this sickening feeling since Tuesday’s press conference. Here are two steps where my faith walk has taken me so far.

  1. I can’t blame God for everything. It’s difficult, and trust me… I’ve been tempted to do the same, but I have to still believe in the Good. The fact that hundreds of planes fly over my head without crashing every day provides a drip of faith into my spiritual IV. Witnessing a stranger help another at the grocery store yields another drip. Benevolence. Love. Camaraderie. Drip. Drip. Drip. The crimes are horrible, but I can’t place blame where it doesn’t belong.
  2. I must continue to be a support system and advocate for children around me. In a world of pedophilia/ephebophilia, sex trafficking, and abuse, it can be difficult to trust anyone with your child.  Regardless of these realities, there are people like me that have integrity. The hope is that we minimize these tragedies by planting and watering seeds needed to grow healthy adults. We’re in the business of empowering others. With this in mind, parents must be vigilant but not paranoid. Everyone doesn’t want to harm your child. We’re your educators, volunteers, counselors, coaches… we’re your village. So, let’s act like it. Let’s work together instead of against each other.

When I began this post a couple of hours ago, I didn’t know how long it would take to release my words from captivity, but I did pray for a shortstop. Drip.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I appreciate you and let’s keep going.

Wednesday Wind Down: I Love You More

A short stop for your week

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. *insert shiny confetti here*

While we were on the phone last night, saying our usual benediction of “I love you” and “I love you more,” I told her that she got me on that front. There’s simply nothing I can do to love her more than she loves me. Why? Because she loved me first. She knew me before I knew myself.

That’s a good reminder as your day may be coming to a close or as you’re preparing for a night shift. God will always love you more than you love Him. You can pour your heart out on a plate of prayers and benevolence and serve it to Him with the utmost sincerity and He will still love you in a way that is unmatched. He knew you before you got here (Jeremiah 1:5). Before you had a car, a degree, a child, an eating disorder, a panic attack, or an addiction – He loved you. So, that means whatever state you’re in, He will continue to love you. You are His and no one can change that. He will always say “I love you more” when you mess up, disgrace His name, and fall short of your promises to serve Him wholeheartedly. That’s the beauty of his Love. It’s all-inclusive and lasts forever.

So, needless to say, my mother will always 1UP me in this department. And God will always supercede her. And I’m loving that truth.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 15 – WAWG

Couple
Photo courtesy of newhdwallpapersin.com

 

Fall is here and that means family time is here as well. There’s a perfect short stop for that.

I would love to think that everyone’s holiday season brings laughs, love, and bountiful blessings, but I know it doesn’t. Some family ties have turned into strings that choke out the possibility of beautiful moments. Adults that were best friends as children all of a sudden can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. Siblings live in silence across state lines. Parents and children holding on to wounds of old.

Let me tell you something.

“We’re All We Got.”

There’s enough division in the world. We don’t need to multiply it with broken families. There are plenty of sores that need to be healed and broken hearts with shredded band-aids holding them together. I will never trivialize the pain that has created those rifts; however, for today… this season… this life… all we have is each other. Maybe that person is not designed for the permanent prime real estate in your heart, but someone is. At least you have someone to be angry toward or someone to kiss goodnight.

For the family that is alive and sitting around you and to the family that is in a nursing home or prison, remind them and yourself that you were born to each other for a reason. Perhaps you’ll never know what it is as you fight over past sins, but nonetheless, the fact remains. WAWG. Just slip them a handwritten note and a smile. At least you sent the reminder. That’s all you are responsible for.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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