Our library books are late and still sitting on top of the piano. The dishes in the sink are rising. My bedroom is in its usual state of upheaval. The stairs need to be vacuumed and the plumber needs to be called. If it’s one thing becoming a mama has taught me, it’s this: There will always be a list of things to do. Yet, somehow, the things on the lists will always get finished… eventually. In the harder times of life, like this, we become like gears behind the clock face, clicking over and over and over, a counted rhythm to walk in the darkness.
After the loss of two strong and wonderful women this year, I am learning what others actually remember and value about a life well-lived. People remember the small things. Little actions of giving become mountains of hope for others. I want to become more like the women who came before me: more gentle, more willing to lean into the needs of others, more willing to share a meal around my dining room table.
“I would do anything for you if only I knew it.” This phrase has been playing in my head for days now. It is something that Sean’s grandmother used to tell her daughter. A lesson of selflessness and gentleness that I cannot forget. Sometimes I find myself so selfishly overcome with the tasks of parenting and with handling the emotions of my own daughter; a trait I dislike of myself and something that I am working to improve.
The day that June turned two, we said a hard goodbye. I will always remember this turning of time. With the loss of one beautiful matriarch, we celebrated the coming up of a new, strong girl. What will we tell our young daughters about the women who made them? I find myself grasping for details and stories, holding on to lessons that I will share with June. She is born from a tapestry of brave women. And now, this year, her second year, the light has been passed to both of us. We must become the women we want to be with the guidance of those before us.
I think of the wet laundry sitting in my washing machine, waiting to be completed. I have been taught to carry on and so I will. I will change the laundry and cook dinner. I will give advice and comfort. I will become a pillar of strength that my daughter can depend on. And, one by one, I will begin to cross things off my to do list. This is what I have been taught to do– the small things, again and again until at last peace finds me.
The memory of these women clouds my waking moments, reminding me that I am still here. I have a job to do, a legacy to proudly bear, a daughter to raise up in the memory of the women we’ve left behind this year.