Mamaw

December 16, 2009 at 5:05 am 9 comments

I’m sure there is a better title for this post. But my heart and mind are so full of her, that just her name is enough right now.

And this isn’t her name, of course. To many, she’s Lucy, Mrs. Lucy or Mrs. Rives. To some of her precious family she’s Aunt Lucille, or Lucille. To her three kids she’s Mama. To the seven of us who are lucky to call her this, she’s Mamaw.

She’s been one of the biggest parts of my life. As far as adult influence goes, after my parents, there is Mamaw.

She never missed anything. Every dance recital, piano recital, school program, ball game, before prom pictures in the yard…she was there. I always felt really sad for my friends who had to go out of town to see their grandparents. I saw Mamaw and Papaw almost every day of my childhood, and I knew they loved me. She loved being with her grandkids so much. We shopped until we dropped on countless Saturdays. If I had an event coming up, she would get me from school and we’d hit the MetroCenter. When my cousins were in town, we’d all go together, then eat a big lunch of Krystal hamburgers.

I remember going shopping with her one evening when I was in college. I was 20 years old, and planning to go to Memphis for New Year’s Eve with Michael. I wanted something cool to wear, and so I took Mamaw to Express. I tried on these faux leather (or pleather, if you will) pants and a pretty black velvet V-neck top and fell in love. I wanted this outfit, but knew I was shopping with the woman who bought what SHE liked, not necessarily the other way around. I told her, “Mamaw, I LOVE these pants and top.” She said, “I like them on you, let’s get them.” I did a double take and said, “Huh? Mamaw, I look like I want to be a rock star!” She told me they were cute and on sale and let’s get them and go to Morrison’s Cafeteria before they close.

I still wear the top, 12 years later, and wore the pants until it was just not respectable to do so, and I think of her EVERY time.

She wasn’t just present in body at all of our many functions and events. She wasn’t just a provider of awesome pleather pants. She was INVOLVED in every way. She asked me regularly, up until a few months ago, about each of my friends, and who has had babies, and who married whom, and where do they live now, and all of the crucial information she needs to know about people she has met just a handful of times.

She knew about every boy I ever went out with. She was aware of every date, and where we went, and if I got home on time or not. She immediately loved my Michael. She knew him when he was my friend, but when we became more than that, she always treated him like he was her own. He loves her like he is her own, and tells me often that I have many of her mannerisms and ways of saying things.

Lucky me!

She would get angry when friends would hurt me. She would get furious when referees called against her teams. She was fiercely loyal and stuck by her children and grandchildren, no matter what. Her expectations were high. She didn’t just want an A on a test, she wanted a 100. But with the high expectations came the knowledge that she only wanted that for us because she knew that’s what we were capable of. It took me a while to realize that. What I thought was pressure was really pride in her family. So I did whatever I could to make her proud.

She called all of the grandkids “Cats Britches”. I have no idea why.

Molly asked me tonight what kinds of things did we do at her house. When Papaw raked the leaves, we jumped in them. We would jump off of the low brick wall into the leaves. We would swing on the “big swing” which hung from a high branch in the backyard. The rope was long, so it went high. My cousins, Sarah and Jenni, and I would hide in her linen closet. It was filled 3 feet high with quilts. We would cozy up in there and talk for hours with a flashlight and a bag of peppermint candy. We dressed up in my aunts old formals. We would pack the old suitcases and pretend to be going on an adventure of some sort. We would sit on the floor with a bowl filled with water and dish soap and use Mamaw’s old manual egg beaters to make bubbles. She would let us go down to the “shop” and clean it. We would spend the night and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Christmas was always huge. My cousins and I are about the same age, so we always got gifts that were the same, but in different colors. One year was monogrammed sweatshirts. One year was painted sweatshirts with jewels on them. I remember those, because mine was black with silver, pink and purple paint. You never forget a shirt like that.

She is getting very close to the end of her long, wonderful, love-filled life. I already miss her, because she hasn’t been who she was in a while. I miss being able to call and ask what she’s reading, because we would recommend books to each other. I miss telling her about my kids. I miss her answering the phone and hearing, “hey sugar!”

4 years ago, we moved in across the street from her. She and Papaw were gracious enough to rent us a house when we needed one. I remember her calling me and saying, “Hey Annie, would you like to live across the street from your old mamaw?” And then we both burst into tears, we were so excited.

During that year, I went over every day to read the paper and let Molly play with Mamaw’s plastic rollers. Molly would take them apart and put them back together. She was not quite one year old. She and Mamaw bonded over those rollers and now Molly still talks about them. I’m so glad we had that time. My kids are young, but I hope they will remember her, just a little bit.

I know this has gotten long, and there is so much more to say. She was more than a grandmother. She was an inspiration, a motivator, an advice giver, a hair and skin consultant (I hope my cousins smile when they read that), a teacher, a leader, a giver and a friend. She is beautiful, inside and out. She makes me proud.

She told me in high school, and I’ll never, ever forget it, when I was upset about something, “Annie, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grown strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

And now I’m falling apart. I want to sit for a while and imagine my precious Mamaw in the light of Jesus’ glory and grace. I will miss her so much, but I want her to be whole again. I want her to be able to walk and have perfect skin. I want her to run to Jesus and let him hold her. She no longer belongs here, as hard as that is to say. She belongs in heaven. She knows the only way to get there, and because of her, I do too. She will see him and her faith will become sight. I want that for her.

Everybody grieves differently. I have moments, like now, where the tears won’t stop. But I have good moments too, where I can think about other things and go about my day, because I know she is safe in God’s hands. We each process this differently. But one thing is the same for all of her family and friends: we have been in the presence for the last 85 years of a great woman. She has impacted us profoundly and things will not be the same without her.

Thanks for reading this, in all its wordiness. It’s part of the healing, I suppose. Pray for my family, for my Mamaw’s three children and all those that belong to them. Thank you. The friendship and love we receive are priceless.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

“Tap, Tap, Tap…Is This Thing On?” Home for Christmas

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nicki  |  December 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    So very precious! What a wonderful tribute to what sounds like an amazing lady. I’m sorry I didn’t know her. Obviously, my life would have been better. She must be so very proud of you. Prayers and hugs for you sweet girl!

    Reply
  • 2. Jennifer  |  December 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I remember the “warmth” of her home.:) not only the temperature inside but just feeling welcome every time I was there. How she always asked about my family and genuinely cared what my answer was. Love you and I’m praying.

    Reply
  • 3. Allison  |  December 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I loved reading this, Anne. It reminded me so much of my grandmother..and the feelings I have had over the years. Mine was named “Grace”..and I’m sure you met her..as I know I met your Mamaw. I always thought what a perfect name for Grandmother…Grace. She was so filled with God..yet also so filled with mischief….she died in 1995..sophmore year of college…hardest day of my life..September 26th..will never forget it…yet as the time passed…my sad memories were taken over by the good…all the funny stories (especially this time of year..Grandmama LOVED Christmas)…all the little things she would say. She would also answer our door this time of year…she loved it…we had church members to come bearing gifts and she would always greet them…but before she answered the door..she had to straighten her hair and take the corner of her blouse or apron to wipe the corners of her mouth..even if she had not just eaten! So many memories…and I am here to tell you..that you will always feel Mamaw with you…sometimes just in your heart…but other times in the wind…and through the scent of flowers…I see mine in my nieces eyes…she is the only person in our family with brown eyes…just like Grace. My heart both aches and rejoices with you right now…I know you don’t want to let her go…and will never stop missing her…but what a gift these ladies gave us! And their legacy lives on and on…..
    I love you friend…and I will be praying for your sweet family.

    Reply
  • 4. LYNN WOOD LEE  |  December 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I DO BELIEVE JUST AS I TOLD YOU ON YOUR MOM’S BIRTHDAY THAT YOU ARE SO MUCH LIKE CINDY, AND YOU BOTH HAVE SO VERY MANY OF LUCY’S TRAITS…WHAT A BLESSING….THIS WEEK I HAVE TALKED TO JO CAROL AND DELMA ABOUT OUR DAYS IN LUCY’S SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS AND WHAT ALL SHE TAUGHT US ABOUT OUR FAITH, MARRIED LIFE, BEING WOMEN OF POWER, LOVING OUR LORD, OUR CHILDREN, ALTA WOODS BAPTIST CHURCH, AND EACH OTHER. THE LOVE SHE HAS FOR BOOTS, STEVE, CINDY, LISA AND THEIR SPOUSES, AND THE LIGHTS OF HER LIFE! THE GRAND CHIILDREN…..SHE WILL TAKE TO HEAVEN, BUT SHE WILL LEAVE SO MUCH HERE WITH ALL OF US THAT KNEW AND LOVED HER….THANKS FOR YOU WORDS AND FOR SHARING THEM WITH US AS WE ALL PREPARE FOR HER GENTLE HOME GOING INTO THE LOVING ARMS OF HER LORD AND SAVIOUR. NOT TO HURT ANYMORE, BUT TO WALK THE STREETS OF GOLD AND WAIT ON ALL SHE LOVES TO JOIN HER ONE DAY. MUCH LOVE TO EACH OF THE RIVES FAMILIY AND MAY YOUR FAITH CARRY EACH OF YOU THROUGH THE DAYS TO COME.

    Reply
  • 5. hannah  |  December 17, 2009 at 3:40 am

    i had forgotten that we have your mamaw to thank for the pleather pants! she is one great lady. i’ll be praying for her, for you, for your sweet family. lots of love.

    Reply
  • 6. Steve Wilson  |  December 17, 2009 at 4:29 am

    I was assigned to her class in the 10th grade. I requested to be in her class in the 12th grade. She was the embodiment of a Christ-like teacher. God made her to be a teacher, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a gracious, Christian lady. She excelled in life because she embraced the roles for which God created her. She will be sorely missed, remembered fondly, and never forgotten.

    Reply
  • 7. Carly Winborne  |  December 18, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    what a sweet post. she is a dear, dear lady. i know the angels are rejoicing, even as you grieve.

    i think of you often and am praying for you.

    love,
    carly

    Reply
  • 8. carriemclean  |  December 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    this was the sweetest post. i’m so sorry. i love that you were so close to her. makes me miss my grandma more.

    Reply
  • 9. jo  |  January 5, 2010 at 1:53 am

    This has got to be your best post yet. Everything you say is true and written beautifully.

    Reply

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