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Aleisha from She Calls Me Mama Leisha

August 09, 2012

This is my great-grandma, Grace.  She is a part of me and my precious ancestry.  Isn't she dreamy?  (And isn't her hat utterly fantastic?!)

I never knew her as an aged and timeworn woman, as I did a couple of my great-grandmothers.  Grace died when she was 32; haunting and profound when I consider that that is the age I am now.  A blood clot killed her instantly, just three days after giving birth to her second child.  Tragically, she left behind a four-year-old boy--my grandfather--and a tiny, newborn baby.

This is my favorite picture of her:

Just look at her!  Look at her beautiful face.  She is so radiant; frozen forever in that moment.  She looks happy.  She looks joyful.  Clearly, she derives so much pleasure from her little son...who appears to be terrified standing atop that fence!  (Bless his heart.)

I love looking at this picture.  I've spent a great deal of time staring at it; wishing I could somehow transport myself there to her, next to that fence.  I find myself longing to have a conversation with her, to spend an afternoon with her.  I have many questions.  What do you do when your baby is teething?  What do you worry about?  How do you get your toddler to stay in his “big boy bed” at night?  How do you stay positive when days are long and difficult, when you become overwhelmed by your responsibilities?  How do you soothe a sick child?  Do you sing lullabies?
Most of all, I would want to ask her:  How do you feel about being a mother?
I have a feeling she'd answer, "I love it."  (I mean, just look at her!)
The love we feel for our children, the joy that sends our hearts soaring when we gaze into their eyes or hold their chubby hands, is trans-generational.  It's timeless.  It is an unseen bond that women and mothers share.  It enables us to relate, commiserate, support, and sustain one another--from one generation to another.  If Grace were alive today, I know we'd have much to talk about, simply because we have something important in common: motherhood.

The world I'm raising my children in is most definitely different from the one she knew.  But I believe we'd share mutual wants and concerns:  A desire to raise honest, upstanding citizens.  A desire to raise respectful boys and virtuous girls.  A heartfelt desire to instill in our children a strong work ethic and the value of integrity.  A desire to teach them to know God--to love Him, praise Him, and trust in Him.  We would share similar concerns about the future, about giving our children the best and the brightest opportunities for growth and success.  We'd whisper our worries about a day when we would no longer be needed.  We'd mourn the thought of a time when they'd leave us.

But most of all, I believe we'd praise their accomplishments and express our deep love for them.  I believe we'd talk about how proud we are of milestones achieved.  We'd share fond memories and funny anecdotes, and most likely laugh and cry while reliving them. 

We'd talk about how much we love our divine roles as mothers.

And of course, I'd ask her where she got her hat.

My name is Aleisha, but my zany and adorable five-year-old calls me "Mama Leisha." My secret for getting through the "crayon on the walls, apple juice spilled on the floors, laundry piled as tall as Everest, toilet clogged with Fisher Price 'Little People'" kind of days? DIET COKE. (And a side order of fries!) Aleisha blogs at She Calls Me Mama Leisha.