When I was a little girl, I would run up to my Maw Maw and wrap my arms around her legs. I would hold my head back and look up at her so long that the blood would start rushing to face.
Maw Maw would rub my hand and smile. Shuffling her feet, she would lead me to the chair and push me under the kitchen counter, where I would wait with my hands slapping the laminate countertops.
With her hair in still in velcro rollers, she would make me a milkshake first thing in the morning. Before she got the frying pan, a pound of bacon and coffee going, I would get a fresh milkshake.
It didn’t matter what she was doing or what time of day it was. When I asked for a meal, I got a feast set before me.
That’s just what grandmothers do.
When I was a little girl, I would sit in front of my Aunt Alice’s vanity. It reminded me of something in a Doris Day movie, with splashes of pink and plastic hairbrushes.
She would braid my hair and hum songs. Gazing off into the mirror, I would see her look back at my reflection. She would cast a smile at me and tell me that I was pretty.
Being a tomboy, I would sometimes get teased by the other kids at school. But my Aunt Alice would make me feel like a old Hollywood movie star with a new hairdo and a kiss on the cheek.
That’s just want aunts do.
When I was a little girl, my Aunt Sonya would load me up in her old Lincoln town car. It would be a hot, steamy summer day. My fair skin would turn red from the blistering leather seat that would burn my legs.
Blaring Elvis Presley on the radio, she would take me to an old swimming hole near the cotton gin. I was so afraid of water, and I couldn’t swim. But I was so excited at the same time to be heading to a water paradise.
There was a section of the old hole that was pretty shallow. You could sit in it and splash around while tadpoles and other small fish crept closer to you.
Sitting on a log near the edge close to me, my Aunt Sonya would tell me not to tell my Momma that she let me get in the water.
I smiled at her and told her she let me do more things than anybody ever did. Snapping the top off of soda pop, she winked at me and told it was part of being of a kid.
That’s just want aunts do.
When I was a little girl, I would sneak into my Momma’s bedroom. Easing under the covers as she read a book, I would tell her the bad weather scared me. I didn’t want to sleep alone in my bed.
She would hold her arm out and let me snuggle up to her. Putting her book down, she would turn the television on at a low volume as the wind howled outside the window.
With the black and white glow of I Love Lucy shining against the wall, the storm outside seemed like nothing in my Momma’s arms. And I wasn’t afraid as I drifted off to sleep.
That’s just what Mommas do.
Now that I am a mother with children of my own, I often look back at those younger days of my childhood. It dawned on me the number of precious memories I have of the women in my family.
Sure, when I got older, we may have had our differences like most females do. But there are those brief times in your life when all was well. You often find yourself trying to get back to those times.
Maybe it’s the security, or maybe it’s the innocence. But the memories of those times mean so much.
The women of my childhood were my mother, grandmother, aunts, providers, protectors, accomplices and friends.
And with each passing Mother’s Day, I smile when I think of the different relationship I had with each one.
I have celebrated a few Mother’s Days of my own, and I am looking forward to many more in my future. For me, it’s a holiday every day.
It’s that peck on the cheek before bed. It’s that wet floor after bath time. It’s that worn out book shoved in your hand. It’s the basket full of toys next to the television. It’s that lost sock you find behind the couch. It’s that Kool-Aid flavored kiss on a summer day.
It’s that early morning wait at the toy store. It’s that smile on a Christmas morning. It’s that wet shoe left by the door. It’s that muddy trail on a freshly mopped floor.
It’s that tight goodbye hug on the first day of school. It’s that rip of a bandage after a ball game.
It’s that tea party in the back yard with Barbie and her friends. It’s that truck show on the dining room table.
It’s so much more than you can put in words.
It’s a feeling of instant love, friendship and respect.
It’s just what Mommas do.