Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mom, I love you.

All of us have that guilty pleasure.  Whether it is watching Ellen or Maury, or reading bodice rippers, or fixing key lime fudge just to eat by ourselves, there is always something that we do that just gives us a little thrill - something that is not part of what we would willingly share with the world.

I have a number of guilty pleasures, but one of my regulars is reading the Postsecret blog.

For those five of you who don't know what Postsecret is, it is a website that updates every Sunday, providing anonymous secrets that people mailed in from around the world.  The idea is that nobody will know it is you, and that there is something quite liberating to give up the secret.  It also provides a voyeuristic thrill to read other people's secrets, and let you share a little bit with people you don't know. Somehow, it  seems to make the world just a little smaller, and more likeable.

Last night, I was working on some classwork, and midnight passed; to celebrate, I opened a window to the website.

It is Mother's Day.  And people share some of the most heart-rending, saddest, happiest, joyous postcards ever on Mother's Day.  Common themes: Mom, I forgive you; Mom, I miss you; Mom, you are my heroine; Mom, please get off of heroin.

And this one.

This one resonated with me.

Let me tell you about my mom.  Patty Lawton is a caretaker.  She is a facilitator.  She is an enabler. She is a cheerleader.  She is a lover, and a fighter, and is devoted beyond all imagination.  She gives of herself, and loves with a fierceness that I have never seen in anyone else.

When we were in Brasil, I fell off the boat.  Mom, hearing my screams (I couldn't swim) woke from a dead sleep and dove over a four-foot rail straight into the Amazon River to save me. I knew I was saved, and stopped yelling (which was unfortunate, because she could no longer see me because of the glare.)  The she-bear instincts were strong in my mom, and she rescued me.  (Little Bear got his bottom warmed after that incident, but it was done in love...)

More than anything, Patty Lawton believed in those of us that she called her own.  She never doubted for a moment that we would do it all.  And because of that belief, we believed.

I believed.     And still do.

I believe that being a good person is greater than financial success or power.  She taught me that.

I believe that power is seeing something that needs to be done, and making it happen.  She taught me that, too - that service in support of others is the only way to happiness.

I believe that babies are special, that April Fools' Day is a gift to be treasured, that sometimes the guilt garden just won't grow, and that talking story until the wee hours of the night is an investment that pays for itself again and again.

I always, always ALWAYS wanted to emulate my dad's voice, but I believe that my song is worth hearing because my mom loved to hear me sing.  And encouraged me at every step.  And still smiles with a huge grin whenever she sits next to me in church, singing hymns.

I have pride in myself because my mom was proud of me.  I work to make her proud, but she gave me that gift first.

I love others.  Because I learned to do so when I was in her arms.

I love my Creator, having learned that in the same place.

Because of Pretty Patty Petunia Parker Lawton, I have an open heart, a love of others, a desire to protect those who cannot do so for themselves, and a love of my God that calls me to serve.

I love myself, because she did it first.

Tag story:

I have always told this story as a self-deprecating story of how badly I perform in interviews.  This time, however, I see it a little differently.

On the worst interview of my life, I got rattled in the first of six half-hour-long interviews for grad school at the Institute of Textile Technology.  Each successive interview got me more shaken.  And my answers got worse and worse.

It was awful.

After two and a half hours of deflation and dejection, the interviewer asked me a question.  I knew I was done, and that grad school in textiles was simply not going to happen.  I have no idea what the question was.  My answer, though, was classic:

"My Mommy loves me."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I said, 'My Mommy loves me.'"

Interviewer frowns, notes something in the notebook, but he has already moved on.

In the worst moment, at a time when I was struggling to find self worth in anything, when the flurry of punches just seemed never-ending, I held onto the one thing I knew was true.

My Mommy loves me.

I know now that I can always hold onto that.  Because she does love me.

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