It had been so many years, I couldn't remember the last date my mother visited my home. I was so excited to have her come and spend a long awaited week with me. Mother didn't drive so we had to plan well in advance to have my brother and his then girlfriend make the drive to meet me at the "Cracker Barrel" restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama. It was a convenient place to meet just off I 85 where we could stretch our legs, empty our bladder and eat a quick bite, before we returned to our car for the three hour drive back to my home in northeast Georgia. I
was very excited to have mother come for a visit, as much had changed for me since her last trip to my home. I had remarried a wonderful man after a very long difficult marriage to an alcoholic. Her last visit had been an unpleasant one and I was anxious for her to see that life had improved for me, that I was happy and doing well. My mother was well into her late seventies by then and it was obvious her health was beginning to fail and she might not be with us to many more years. I had brought my husbands mother along for the ride to Montgomery that day, as company seem to make the drive bearable and the time fly. Conversations have a way of distracting us, so much so that we missed an important exit on the interstate to Montgomery and found ourselves headed to Columbus instead. Even still we managed to somehow meet my brother in time to pick mother up at our prearranged meeting place. After eating a quick lunch, we soon found ourselves back in the car making the long three hour drive back to home. I remember very little about conversations in the car that day. With three women talking, I'm sure we conversed about family mostly, just trying to catch up on all the latest news of what everyone else was doing. Something in me said savor the moments Barbara, hang on to mother's every word for the years are fast slipping away! I'd made a few plans for us that week, shopping at some favorite stores, cooking a few special dishes, but mostly I was looking forward to quality time with mother, something I hadn't done in a long time. Mother had five children. She tried through the years to remain closely connected to each of us but once we married, left home it wasn't so easy to do, because she didn't drive. Mothered tried and we did too as the years pressed on and circumstances
allowed. Mother had lived in Atlanta in the mid 1950's, she was in the prime of life and our family was young. Back then my daddy was stationed at Ft. McPherson in the Army. I wondered what mother was thinking, as we drove thru the "Grady Curve"on I 85 north in downtown Atlanta. The city had undergone many changes in the years since 1955. The car was eerily quiet as we made it through some of the worst traffic congestion of the trip home that day. Before long, you once again heard the soft buzz of female conversation flowing in the car as the tension from
the drive started to ease. I hated the traffic in the city and avoided driving in it at all cost, but this trip was different. I was willing to endure the pain to have that special time with mother after so many years. Our first stop as we neared home would be to let Sylvia (David's mom) off at her house. Then do the necessary thank-you's for her company on the drive to Montgomery to pick up my mother. David's mom is a special lady and wonderful mother in law. I couldn't be more blessed to have her and David's dad in my life. When the Lord placed me in this family, he gave me another set of wonderful generous parent's, who never say nay when you need them. Who they are and what their about is a story I'll save for another time. David's family has embraced me like none ever have or ever will I suspect. Their love has touched me in the most profound ways. I began to feel greater excitement as we left Sylvia safely at her front doorsteps and said our good bye's. Mother was now seated in the front seat, close to me and just like a small child she was taking in all the new visual vista's that were leading to her second daughter's home. As mother aged it was easy to see her childlike vulnerabilities. The area of north Georgia
my home was located in was new to mother. Her last visit with me, she'd found me living in small one room cedar cabin. The cabin was located a mile and half up a badly rutted dirt road in the mountains further north. The setting was lovely and picturesque, but the cabin was so isolated, without phone or means to stay connected with the outside world the way she'd been accustomed to having. The years with my exhusband were troubling times and I'm certain mother sensed the burden I was carrying then, but she never interfered in any of her children's lives. Even though she may have disagreed with many of our choices, she was always supportive and warm to anyone we brought along with us in life. I think she knew early on this marriage
was going to be bad ride for me. I remember many tearful phone calls when mother with her words would shore up the crumblings walls of discouragement for me. She never failed to show love and compassion, even in the worst of times to me. Her visit to my mountain cabin was something I'd needed, as it help to reconnect me with family and served as a reminder that I was still loved and not alone as I was starting to feel in this world. The better part of twenty years had gone by since her visit to the mountain home and so much had changed for me thankfully. I was living in a new town, with a new husband and enjoyed being on the threshold of a new life. David purchased us a home in suburbia, a small quaint ranch, situated in cul de sac on the outskirts of midtown Atlanta. We were living in the same town he'd been born and raised in and lived all of his adult life. I was happy, content finally and living a peaceful life. God was in the process of restoring me and I was excited to share my blessings with mother. Mother was pretty quiet as we approached the driveway of my home. I wondered if she was thinking how different it was from the last time she'd visited. She'd already met David, so she knew what a kind gentle spirit he was. She'd already come to love him as her new son in law. By now she could see the american flag hanging on the garage door frame, waving in the warm summer breeze. Almost as if to welcome her for the last visit to her daughter's home. As we entered the house through the garage door, we walked into the kitchen. I sensed mother's eye's roving as she began to take in her surroundings. Everything she saw was sparkling clean, just the way mother liked it. She was greeted with the smell of spring flowers filling the air. A little carpet fresh in kitchen trash container can do wonders, permeating the entire house with the smell fresh spring flowers. Mother began to ooh and awe as she made her way thru the kitchen to the living room, She then walked into the front foyer and dining room area where she let out a big sigh. Mother loved pretty things and through the year's trying to raise her family, she'd learned to make do with what she had and be quite creative. Our home growing up was always clean and very well ordered. In her last years going to garage sale was her favorite pastime. With simply a few dollars in hand she could discover a world of new treasures to decorate her home with. She and dad loved going to yard sales and in their final years it was that fun thing they could do together. As mother took in her surroundings she began to comment on the various things she saw decorating my home. Somethings mother had given me through the years from her many yard sale treasure hunts. But most were trinkets and furnishings I'd collected through my own journey in life. I'm a keeper of things I like, and I'm especially fond of finding things that can be repurposed. As we entered the dining room my mother's eyes became large and wide, almost as if she'd found the room she loved the most. I'll never forget what she said to me that day. Her words sure and deeply sincere, "Barbara your home is beautiful, just like the picture's you see in one of those fancy magazine." I had to hold back tears at hearing my mother praise me but
instead I just smiled and said, "Thank you Mama!" I then reached over to give her a big hug around the neck and said, "Mother, do you know how I learned to create this lovely home?"
She shook her head no, as though she were unsure how I could have learned to decorate and keep a home so well. At that moment I looked deep into my mother's eye's and said,"From you Mama, from you!"