Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Legacy (Another Hero's Tale)

For Mammy... 
(This is a repost of a blog from May 15, 2010)

I  want to leave a legacy

How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you
Enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering...
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy...
 ~ Nichole Nordeman

It seems I've sung this song a bazillion times... But each time it's like a prayer. And as I sing/pray, I typically begin to think about the women (and men) in my life who have left such a legacy for me.  One such woman is my Mammy.

Years ago, we affectionately dubbed her "The Matriarch" of our family, and as my sister so aptly defined on her Facebook page, Mammy suits the definition to a "T":

Matriarch : a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state; specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants - Tomorrow my family will be celebrating 85 years of life with the Matriarch of our family, my Mammy! A woman of great faith, wisdom, love, full of humor, and never lacks for words, and to be able to share this day with her is truly a blessing for us all! I love you Mammy!!!

Ever since I can remember Mammy has been a woman who is full of love, life, and laughter. (And cook??? The woman simply has to TOUCH a particular dish or recipe in progress to ensure that it will be mouth-watering!)

Up until a few years ago, she would accompany my family on our yearly vacations, and in her own words, we would "frolic" all week. :-) She kept a journal each year, of the daily ins and outs of our family whereabouts, who was in attendance, specific adventures of said attendants, and NO LACK of her personal commentary on each of the aforementioned! Some of my fondest memories of these include the times that (a) my brother Phillip commandeered the thermostat and froze our bums each night (she has YET to let him live that down), (b) she beat my Daddy in spades and caused such a raucous that a particular "suit" was brought before the "family court", and (c) the time that my youngest sister Karen and one of her friends got lost, and Mammy wrote an "Ode to the Missing".  See what I mean about laughter??  She kept (and still keeps) us in stitches!

Mammy is also a woman of fierce devotion to her family.  Her home has always been a place of refuge and love for her children and grandchildren alike.  During our college years, Betsy, Phillip, and I each took a turn living with her for several months while attending Francis Marion University.  She never failed to assure us that we were loved and welcome and that a home-cooked meal was waiting for us whenever we wandered back in from our studies or social gatherings.  When things got tough, she told us that she believed in us, and encouraged us to keep trying because we could do anything we set our minds to.

After I was married, and began to start my own family, Mammy would keep my babies for me (Emilee and Jacob more than Sam, although he got plenty of cuddle time, too!) in the afternoons, long enough for me to tidy up the house and start some dinner. She was truly a God-send during those infant and toddler years. (Mammy has NEVER met a baby she couldn't charm!)

Other than my own mother, Mammy is the person I have turned to most in asking advice during this journey of motherhood.  From when to start them on solid foods, to potty training, to the best way to treat colds and fevers, she's always been an encyclopedia full of knowledge on any subject I would broach. She has been particularly helpful in the area of discipline. Raising five children of her own, she has plenty of examples to share, and has shown me how to discipline in LOVE, and have patience with my children as I teach them how to navigate this thing called life.

Mammy is also a woman of deep, abiding, faith.  She's seen her share of heart-break in life, and her faith in Jesus is what has sustained her through it all. When you walk into her house these days, you'll find her seated in her comfy blue recliner, and beside her on the table you will see her well-worn Bible.  She begins every day with devotions and prayer, and I can recall numerous occasions in which she has shared the lessons she's learned in those times with me.

In short, Mammy is my hero.

Today we will celebrate her 85th birthday with family and friends.  She is not at all happy about the fact that we are "making a fuss" over her, but you tell me... how can we not??  How can we not celebrate this beautiful woman who has truly left a legacy that will continue on beyond her years on this planet??

I, for one, - and I am sure I am not alone - desire to continue this legacy in my own life; to build a home full of love, life, and laughter for my children, their friends, and eventually some grandchildren of my own.  Mammy's legacy will live on in me, and my  sisters, and cousins... it will continue to touch lives for generations to come!


Thank you for all you've done to influence my life... for being a role model and friend.  For living out the statutes of the Bible and your faith.  For showing me in bodily form what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like, and more importantly acts like.  And though, I've tried to express it here, I know I have fallen short, because I love you more than words can say!!


Our precious Matriarch left us yesterday... 
She will forever be with us in our hearts.
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