“You have not been writing much lately.” I look at my teenager daughter Reagen and respond to her question with a puzzled “Why?”
Her answer was enough for me. She said, “I like reading them.”
My blog renewed this week for another year. My little sister Andrea said she loved my blog. It reminded her of how mom always kept a journal. That makes me smile.
Even on a week, when you reach for a Mother’s Day card off the rack and pull your hand back because you realize you don’t need one.
So from the motherless to the childless, I hope this Sunday is special to you.
I guess I can also can tell you a little secret as to why I have not been writing.
It all started Christmas Day. My house was empty and that bothered me. I am in the kitchen making all kinds of noise when Jeff asks, “What are you doing?”
I reply that I am taking down “just one” kitchen cabinet.
How that turned into several months later and a remodel that looks a lot like my grandmother’s house, I do not know.
Somehow one cabinet snowballed into a new wall, and then an antique sink and at one point even a toilet sitting in the dining room.
Everything is back where it belongs including my precious door. It now guards the laundry room again.
I can also tell you a well known fact around here. I don’t have much common sense.
It is a true gift to me.
My grandmother loved to say your full name and slap your shoulder when absurd things came out of your mouth.
Needless to say, “Woooo, Cherylllll Ackerrr…” made you brace yourself and kinda still makes me wince to this day.
But in all honesty, I would give anything to have my shoulder slapped.
We would stand at the sink and wash and rinse. We planned meals and grocery lists.
She told me of mistakes she made as a mother and as a mother-in-law. I can still hear the regret in her voice.
She told me, “Cheryl Acker, You ain’t gonna find no perfect man. If he works and don’t drink and he’s good to you, that is about all you can ask for.”
And long before I had Jacob, “be good to your daughter in law”.
Oh Granny, you were such a genius.
She ran a store in West Blocton, Alabama. It was a small town that knew all of your business.
Like the affair her husband was having.
She told me she begged him to stop.
Her mother begged her not to divorce him. She went against her wishes.
She said she could not live with him knowing that he would not quit seeing the other woman.
She told me, “I didn’t see anybody and I didn’t marry your granddaddy until after he passed away.”
The heartache of public scandal. She didn’t mention it much.
Aunt Genevieve, however, loved to “stir the pot”.
We were standing at the sink. Me and Granny.
Aunt Genevieve was sitting at the kitchen table. I will never forget this as long as I live.
She said, “Granny, I thought you run into the other woman on Main Street.”
Granny kept washing dishes with her back turned to Aunt Genevieve and replied, “I did.”
“I thought you hit her in the head with a coke bottle and got fined $5.”
A pause and then, “Was it worth it?”
My sweet Granny got up every day and dressed up from her earbobs to her pocketbook-she was a class act. She was elegant.
She put her hair in a scarf. She smelled like Avon’s rich moisture. She kept her Cape Cod dishes dusted and her house in order.
To my great surprise, she kept washing dishes and said, “Every penny.”
I never saw that coming. We never mentioned it again.
I wondered about betraying her by sharing her heartache. But I firmly believe that we are not defined in our success as much as our failures. How we walk through life after we stumble and fall is a greater legacy than any plastic trophy.
If you are hurting now, just know that one day it may encourage someone to keep going like your granddaughter or your friend.
I am not endorsing bad behavior, just knowing that so many people now go through things so publicly. Social media has given small towns a run for their money.
Pain is not something easy to share with an entire town. It was not easy to share 30 years later with a little girl who loved you.
I hope she knows her life lessons echo in my head and my heart to this day. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to be US.
Happy Mother’s Day to the sweetest grandmother I could ever ask for. We were not related by blood, but love.
Your example is one I love to follow. I have a soft spot for scarves and a smirk for Blocton coke bottles.
I miss you Theo. All of you.
You would probably slap my shoulder for telling that story.
Thank you for putting up with all of your Acker family, even when we stirred the pot.
My kitchen makes me think of you. And smile…
Somehow I just know that we will get through this crazy world. Even if it is one dirty dish at a time.