Madres Especiales (Special Moms)
“It takes someone really brave to be a mother, someone strong to
raise a child and someone special to love someone more than herself.”
This post is one that is going to have a lot of emotion attached to it. The topic of mothers and mother figures has been what has helped to shape me into the being that I am. There’s a lot of happiness, laughter and tears associated with each name. So, instead of just talking about being a mother, I thought I would share a little bit about some very special “mothers” that have influenced my life. I would like to say that every woman that has been a ‘mother like’ figure to me in my life cannot possibly be written about in one blog post.
Let’s start from the very beginning and get the topic of my birth mom out of the way. Her name is not worth mentioning so, I won’t even bother. As much as I would like to say that I despise every part of her being, which in a lot of ways, I do, and I also must give her credit for giving me life. She was the vehicle by which I entered the world. Once I met her and was able to comprehend the fact that she wasn’t just a teenage girl that got pregnant and couldn’t take care of a baby. Rather a very self centered woman without the capability to love a child in the way that a child deserves to be loved….I was able to move forward. Sorry, Lifetime, the stories are sometimes just fairy tales.
My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Susie Antonia Barbour Kendrick, was a woman who was truly one of a kind. She had 10 children. Her mother had 10 children. And her grandmother had 13 children. So, it’s very easy to be a part of this family and not know all of my relatives. I never heard a cross word or any type of negativity come out of her mouth. She was the child of a preacher and has many possibly a hundred or more decedents that are directly from her. This side of the family is the much more conservative side but I love them all. Even in the depths of fighting cancer and the anguish both physically and mentally that go with that process, she always had a faith that was unwavering. Her faith was so strong that even in the latter days of her battle while she lived with us, while I was still in high school, she prayed for a washcloth for 8 hours straight. She also told my dad at some point that when he was a child that he ran down the aisle of the church and threw mud at the preacher. People that know my daddy might say that that was very possible scenario. While I know that this behavior was the result of the progression of brain cancer. I chuckle at some of the things she said and did that were so out of character for such a sweet and very mild mannered woman, but she was my mamaw.
My maternal grandmother, Alma Rebecca Howard Buxton couldn’t have been more directly opposite. My Nannie was one of a kind as I have mentioned in an earlier post. When she moved to mom and dad’s house, she and mom would sometimes argue like teenagers. Honestly, there were times when I would have some good ole belly laughs from watching them both interact and the childishness of some of their arguments most often instigated by, you got it, Nannie. However, she would always say it was because of momma’s smart mouth. True as that may be, momma had to learn from someone. Momma had become very frustrated one of the many times with Nannie and I simply told her, “Momma, one day, you’ll give anything to have one more argument with Nannie.” I can’t speak for my momma today, but I bet since the day Nannie died January 2, 2006, the day of wishing she was arguing one more time has come by to visit her many times over.
I have mentioned and will continue to talk about and refer to Sarah Garner Pardue as a mom. I think it’s pretty clear from earlier posts what type of woman she was and how she influenced and continues to influence my life today. I seem to shed tears on a daily basis for this beautiful angel that now gently brushes me with her wings to let me know she’s still near me. Wow, even now I tear up. She was one of the few that actually saw all sides of me and loved me unconditionally anyway. I can’t say enough times that there are just not many people still out there that I’ve encountered that can still manage to do that without ulterior motives. Through all of our hours of conversations and trials that relationships can bring, the one thing she always wanted for me was happiness, serenity and contentment. Some people may not ever understand the relationship I had with she and Doug and that’s OK. Even now, I don’t know how to fully explain what the relationship was, it was just special. And I will always feel blessed to have been in the room at her feet when she took her last breaths.
The above people have left treasured marks on my heart that I will take with me to my grave. The next person is in a category of their own. My MOTHER, Margaret Pearl Buxton Kendrick. To me she is special not superficial means but in character. Even with the very special relationship that I had with Sarah, momma never once seemed to feel threatened or jealous because she has always known that she’s my momma. Everyone has one true momma whether she is good or bad. My momma stayed up with me rubbing my legs from horrible leg cramps as a child. Cleaned up shit, pee and vomit in the middle of the night. Waited for me to come home often high or drunk. Watched from the sidelines with tears in her eyes as I battled the depths of drug addiction, domestic violence and demons that she knew existed but didn’t know their names or faces. She has sat with a broken heart, at times, trying to fully comprehend the word ‘powerlessness.’ She has watched her children suffer heartaches and cried with them. She has watched countless hours of Little House on the Prairie and cried about the woes of the Ingalls’s family’s crops being destroyed after a hail storm. She cried when Mary Ingalls lost her eyesight. She would sing the songs, in the living room, with the congregation in the one room church on Little House on the Prairie like she was a member. She has rejoiced with her daughter in the excitement and trials of being an athlete. She has watched her oldest daughter’s soul be cracked and broken from abuse that she sometimes knew nothing about. She has watched as her daughter’s once beautiful and childlike forearms metamorphosis into graffiti like battle ground full of 20+ years of self inflicted scarring. She has seen firsthand how powerful a man’s words and actions can destroy the beauty that was once encapsulated the essence of her daughter. She has watched her daughter slowly melt away from an eating disorder at a young age. She has watched and heard her daughter’s reputation be destroyed by lies while knowing the truth. She’s watched as her daughter has shed tears and learned some very difficult lessons in friendship which she knew would lead to internal growth. She has also watched a daughter find the love of her life and become a parent in a non-traditional way with all of the naysayers at her back. And today, she watches as her daughter, once again, is knocked down by a mental illness that she fights every single day to emerge as a Phoenix rising from the ashes of despair. That my friends, is a very selfless mother who puts her children’s needs before her own. She took this baby that was unwanted and raised her as her own with the help of her faith and a God fearing man that I also call my daddy. And that is something that is priceless and that can only be repaid through example for my own children.
One day, such is the circle of life; I’ll be in the same position as my mother. I will one day sit and wish I could have just one more argument with her. My wonderful wife will be here to comfort me when I’m in need. But as long as I have the sweet memories of my momma, I’ll always have something beautiful to write about.
On this Mother’s Day, I can finally say, “Mom, I get your sacrifice and the level of love that I was told I wouldn’t understand until I had my own child.” You didn’t carry me under your heart, but in it. Because of the example that you have set for me regarding family, sacrifice and love, our sons will also be blessed.