Geneva’s Daughter

”You remember Kelley. She’s Geneva’s daughter.”

Gart and I drove to Little Rock this weekend to visit my family. My mom and her siblings had a cousin reunion on Saturday. My memories of my mom’s cousins are vague. But what fun to watch and listen as they reminisced.

Also, my Aunt Elizabeth made a mayonnaise cake. Yummy! But that is a story for another day.

Sitting outside on the deck, I listened, chatted with family, enjoyed the sunshine. In the middle of all that, overheard the following. ”You remember Kelley. She’s Geneva’s daughter.”

Geneva’s daughter. I love that description. But what does it mean?

First, I have to tell you about Geneva. She is the fourth of nine siblings. Growing up, she never liked her name. Diagnosed with rheumatic fever as a child, she remembers being sick. In high school, she excelled in her classes and was a basketball star.

As an adult, she took care of our household. Worked successfully as a secretary in a variety of fields-business, education, church. Suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Has been married to my dad for over 50 years.

Geneva bravely faced breast cancer. She is now a five-year survivor.

Even at 73, she does her hair and make-up every day. If someone asks why, “Because it just makes you feel better,” she replies. Within her family, known for writing poetry.

But what about her role as my mom? She taught me to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and took me to church. Purchased every Dr. Seuss book there is and helped me learn to read at a young age. Ordered Highlight magazines for me and my brother.

My mom spent hours waiting in her car while I was taking piano lessons. Found a way to purchase a violin when I came home in 4th grade announcing, “I signed up for orchestra today!” Encouraged me to go to college and graduate school.

Mom never gave up on me during difficult times. Ones due to poor choices on my part. She demonstrated the importance of family in her roles as sister, daughter, wife. Prayed faithfully (and continues to pray) for me and my family.

Is she perfect? No. Neither am I. She often frets too much. She sometimes struggles with relinquishing control. She has trouble letting go. So do I.

She is my mom, Nana to my kids, my friend. Her life experiences affect mine, as mine affect my children’s. Not a picture of perfection, but a picture of love. A ”no matter what” kind of love.

I’m proud and grateful to be described as Geneva’s Daughter.

A Letter to Moms

Dear Mom Friends,

Oh, how we need each other!  This motherhood business is tough.  From the moment we first meet our little ones, everything changes!  New responsibilities and emotions-not to mention hormones.  There’s almost a crisis of identity as we discover our new “normal.”  And just about the time we’ve figured out who we are again, those precious little ones are all grown up.  Which brings us right back to that identity crisis problem-not to mention the return of the hormones.

The beautiful part is no matter which end of this spectrum we currently find ourselves, there is someone we can help.  We moms with many years of experience are able to provide reassurance and encouragement to younger moms.  And you young ones…we “older” moms need you equally as much!  As you confide in us, we feel needed.  You remind us that our experience holds value.

We are in this mom thing together-the beautiful, difficult, happy, sad, funny, frustrating, silly-and that only describes one day in any given week!   Or possibly only one hour, depending on the day.  So don’t be discouraged.  You are beautiful and you’re doing a great job!

Now–go take a nap!  Or go to bed!  Whichever currently applies…

Sincerely,

Your Mom Friend Kelley