There is no 92-year-old woman I love more than my Mema. She is the perfect combination of sweet yet feisty and quite hilarious. No trip home to LaGrange is complete without a trip to her clutter-filled, always hot, but always stocked with chocolate apartment. She sits in the only open spot on her couch, nestled between her beloved newspapers and magazines, while I take my place in the chair; I take hold of her hand while we catch up on life. She fills me in on the drama from the latest Food Committee meeting, any recent visitors, the happenings of the local birds and hummingbirds that frequent her corner apartment, the score from the latest Braves’ Game, and of course, she enlightens me to any important clippings from the LaGrange Daily News. I fill her in on all of Micah’s new tricks, any important happenings from our crazy family, and often lament on the challenges of bring a wife, mom, and teacher. She always pats my hand while reminding me, ever so sweetly, that “it will be alright.”
I’ll never forget the trip John and I made to LaGrange soon after confirming our first pregnancy. Oh, the excitement to finally tell Mema about our first baby. The tears in her eyes, the joy on her face, and the way we held hands for the longest time will be a memory forever etched into my heart. Her wrinkled, weak, arthritis filled hands. The same hands that stood at an altar and vowed to love my Deda through good times and bad, sickness and health. And did she ever live up to that commitment as she loved, cared, and fought for her husband as he battled against Alzheimer’s. Those same two hands that loved four children, a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and transformed a little white house into a comfy home. Speaking of which, she and my Dad, her youngest son, raised a duck in the upstairs bathroom unbeknownst to my grandfather. Yes, a real, live, quacking duck. To this day, my Dad gets the biggest grin on his face when he retells this story.
The list goes on and on. She is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is a teacher, an artist, a hard worker, the best-bread-maker EVER, a wonderful listener, a generous giver, and a fighter. But most of all, she is a difference maker. She has made quite the difference in my life. Can’t wait to see her soon and hold those precious, tired hands.