Here’s to Strong Women

Here’s to strong women.

May we know them,

May we raise them,

May we be them.

People were trickling out of the swimming pool after Bubba’s third birthday party. He had conned someone into taking off his floaty, and I didn’t realize when I opened the pool gate that Bubba had slid in behind me. For some unknown reason, he sprinted past me, yelled, and jumped into the pool. I just screamed, “Mama!” It was an instinct! I was scared, holding my newborn, and I couldn’t do anything so I yelled for my mommy.

Well, my mama has been known to make interesting spur of the moment decisions, and this was no exception. Before I finished my third syllable of mama, (that’s right…my mama has 3 syllables) she had jumped, fully clothed, cell phone in hand, into the swimming pool. She immediately came up for a side of the mouth swimmer’s breath, as though she were swimming for the gold medal, then began dog paddling like a mad rabid beast. Meanwhile, Michael Phelps Bubba had swam to the side and hopped out clueless to the drama around him.

When mama reached the middle of the pool she finally stood up, the shallow end is only three feet deep, and looked all around shouting, “Where is he? Dear God, where is he?”
I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t contain my laughter. I laughed so hard I was crying and out of breath. It wasn’t the situation, even though it was hilarious, & it wasn’t the sight of her standing there dripping wet while Bubba slid past and grabbed some Cheetos. It was the look on her face, that sideways breath she took, and the dog paddling….oh my gosh! The dog paddling! I swear, it was as though my granny herself had jumped in the pool. Her face with her wet hair and that intense look in her eyes…well, it was no longer her face. It was her mother’s.

I thought about this story recently as my mama and I were riding down the road talking about my granny, how we missed her, and how long she lived after her Alzheimer’s diagnoses.  “It was the fight in her,” Mama said. “She always had those beady, determined eyes. Even in the end.”

granny blg c

That was true. And it wasn’t always a positive thing. If my Granny decided to do something there was absolutely ZERO chance you could get her to stop. If she wanted to plant a tree, she was planting the tree. No obstacle could stop her, the setting sun, a broken shovel, busted water line, everybody begging her to stop….There was no stopping her. The tree would be planted.

That same determination and strength kept her through the sudden loss of her husband, the realization that she must provide for her family, night school, getting her GED, and the loss of her son. Those beady brown eyes would set, and there was no stopping her.

That was the look I saw in my mama’s eyes that day she jumped in the pool. It was a fierce determination, a strength, a look I have seen many times. When necessary, those big blue eyes will set….and there is no stopping her.

Ok, this sounds so crazy as I’m typing it, but I remember being a kid and hearing my granny say, “Y’all know, I could take a few deep breaths, set my mind in the right place, and, if I had to, I could withstand somebody cuttin’ my arm off.” Crazier still is that she wasn’t lying! She could have done it!

My own mama would say that she is nothing like that. She hates pain. She begs doctors not to give her shots. But, I know, if she had to… I have seen her take a few deep breaths, and survive.

So, I say to you, my friends and sisters who I know or don’t know, to all of you who I love and to you I’ve never met, to the young girl whose parents had an awful divorce, the woman with a mean husband, the young mother who lost her own mother, the women who have survived their children, to you who stays up late each night praying for your child, and to the woman begging for a child; I say, Take a few deep breaths, set your mind in the right place, and you will survive.

Sometimes it takes the really awful things, probably not someone cutting your arm off, but something horrible, to make us realize that we are strong. Women, mothers, daughters, sisters, we are strong. If we had to…

Here’s to strong women.

May we know them,

May we raise them,

May we be them.

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9 thoughts on “Here’s to Strong Women”

  1. I don’t mind telling that I laughed so hard that I nearly had tears in my eyes at the mental picture you painted of Teresa jumping into the pool , fully clothed no less. But I DID shed a tear when I saw your granny’s picture and read the rest of the story. Thank for making my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful..I needed some tissue for this. You are very right that we can be strong women. The older I get, I find that I am more like my mother. ” Mirror mirror on the wall I am my mother after all. “

    Like

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