To my Mumsy, and to all of the diverse representation of females in my life who have allowed me to see their strength in person. Women who are proud and expressive, who run their lives more masterfully than they may even realize. I see them. To the mommas who are not mothers but hold gracious authority with their people, to the mommas who put their needs first knowing their own success will impact the strength of their families. Sacrifice comes in many forms. Mommas teachings are in everyday, she sees me first and tucks me in last.
I feel the gravitation towards female empowerment, to be strong and confident in my female form. My composite is in large part due to the women who have been in my life at different points in time. My momma, the life giver, has allowed me to grow through my own bed of weeds. She has allowed me to make mistakes and stumble into messes, the best way a girl can learn! She taught me to let the baby buds grow and blossom into something magnificent. I am continuously surprised by this wisdom. For I witness beauty all around me and I touch the buds, with gratitude and with excitement for what they will become. Momma taught me to be diplomatic in the court room, to nestle the emotions below my gut and let the confident woman arise when necessary. She showed me that it's good to be raw and real but there is a place and a time for emotions to flood the walkway and when you are trying to rationalize with your credit card company and fight the toll roads and exchange a broken blender and prepare for an interview, the conversation should stem from confidence and be fastened with an attitude of will power. I am still learning this, still coddling my emotions while asking for what I want.
Momma ignited my fire with the wick of her touch, a woman of intensity. Her mother bred her that way.
She cooks clam chowder and roast beef and sautés vegetables with varietal herbs. She does this with innate creativity. I still am in awe as she feasts over the stove and always serves us first. Her instincts born from maternal cloth. Her holiday pranks and April Fools enthusiasm were executed with genuine laughter. We tucked the sheets up too high so when Dad got in to bed he would find himself trapped by cloth, we laughed until it hurt. She sent us off to school with chocolate pumpkins on Halloween and turned us into clowns, and hippie witches and the statue of liberty, always the night before. Moving with her girls as we itched in angst and changed our minds at every turn. She decked my sister and I out in floral and lace on Easter morning posing for iconic photos of a mom with her babes. She let us turn our fingers through the mud and picked ticks off our legs at dusk in the New Hampshire woods. There was always room for playtime with mom and dad. In the fortress of our attic where pillows and foam held our secrets, in the basement wood-shop where we colored for hours and stacked building blocks made by dad's strong hands.
Her olive skinned calves stretch over the tree trunks in the redwood forest while egg shell smoke from the vapor caves at Geyser national park filled our senses. She turned every overcast day into a chance to explore the shadows in the woods and deserts we traveled through on summer vacations. She catered to our families needs, aged between 4 and 45.
Momma knew when I was ready, pushing me into college with a force of love and trust. She knew what environment I needed to feel safe yet exposed, supported and equally challenged. She held my hand until she knew it was time to let go. Momma took my calls late at night to talk about my first love and listened to my sobs when things got fucked up. Momma put her smile in the mail and sent me love when I needed parental reassurance. She kicked back a shot with me when she wanted to tell me she was 'chill.' I saw her for the first time in years after I left for college. After space let our wounds heal and distance let us grow from mother and daughter into woman to woman.
Momma wasn't scared to ask the questions I so desperately avoided. But once she cracked me the truth was all I ever wanted to tell her. To this day I can't hide from her. She always knows I will tell her where my heart lies, but in my own way, on my time. I know she will always be there, waiting, when I am ready.
At the end of the day, we sit on the bed and she combs my damp hair.
Tendril after tendril.
She kisses my earlobe and tells me to pray. Palm to palm, we say our thanks. I wake up with an imprint of wet hair on the pillow and mommas diamond earring in the fold of the sheet. I turn to see her coffee mug on the bedside table, the red lipstick gives her away. She came in sometime before we awoke to watch us sleep, rag dolls wrapped in quilts, her girls not yet women.