Growing up I was what is called a "latch key kid". Meaning , I had my own key to my house and after school would go home alone until a parent came home from work . Prior to my latch key status I was baby sat after school and in summers by my grandparents as well as my great-grandma , Mamaw Hannah . All of the grandchildren call her Mamaw Hannah no matter where they fall in the line of secession . Anyway , I spent many a afternoon and summer day at my Mamaw Hannah's . Mamaw Hannah was a traditional, old, southern, Christian woman . She was a wife of a miner , mother of 12 , faithful church member and friend to many . That's just part of who she was , to me she was much more , actually I am sure to all of us she was much more . I often find myself thinking of her when I am doing what I consider to be traditionally southern women things (I always puff my chest thinking she would be proud to know that some of her ways have stuck with me), such as breakin' beans on the porch , making sweet tea , and what not . Tonight as I sat listening to a debate online and letting beans cook on the stove I thought of Mamaw Hannah . I spent a lot of today cooking or preparing foods for cooking so , I guess she's kinda been on my heart all day . What would she think of us now ? I am sure the technology would impress and scare her all the same time . She would be excited to see how so many of us grew up , went to college , got married , had babies, those babies had babies and so on . She would be wearing us out on a daily basis for not being in church as much as she thought we should and she would be the first place we would all go to when feeling down .
Now that I am grown I have often thought how short changed other cousins might have been by not getting to have spent as much time as I did with Mamaw Hannah . But something my Mamaw said about Mamaw Hannah (her mother) has changed how I think on my memories , in a good way . One day when going through old family pictures we started discussing Mamaw Hannah when my Mamaw said , "She made all you kids feel special . I bet you thought the way she treated you was different than how she treated all the others ." I sure did , until now (insert sound of reality/glass shattering here) . What a revelation it was to me to think that she loved all of us as much as she loved me . I mean , she loved me SO MUCH !! That sounds so selfish and vain , I know ! I don't mean it in a , why would she love everyone as much way, but in a awe inspiring , HOW did she love us all so much way !?! I recall laying on her couch with twisted ankles , migraine headaches , and even just to be beside her and the amount of safety and love I felt there was immeasurable . To know that all of us got that kind of attention and affection was a wonderful revelation for me . It also helped explain a little of who I am, I think . I feel like we all at one time or another wonder how/when certain parts of who we are were formed . I wrote in a previous post about a child secretly telling all her friends that each of them was her best friend , and in her heart that was true . She genuinely loved each of them just as much as the other . While the story that came from wasn't about me , it might as well have been . For the most part , I genuinely love people , the ones that don't agree with me , the ones that are mean to me , all of them . I mean, I wouldn't go on vacation with all of them , but I have a genuine unexplainable love for them . And while I have had many experiences in my life with varied people, in varied countries and situations I think it may have been my time with Mamaw Hannah that shaped this part of my heart .
Tonight as the smell of something simmering on the stove & the sound of jack snoring in the floor fill the house I am taken back to evening time with Mamaw Hannah . Every morning she would sit on her brown couch brushing her long silver hair . She would braid it and then wrap it in a bun on top of her head , securing it with bobby pins and then every night she would undo the practically undone bun from her head , untwisting the braid and brushing her hair before she went to bed . I feel like I can hear her humming as I picture it all in my head . Tonight I am grateful for memories , revelations , and facts ! Odd combination perhaps , but thankful none the less . I hope that whatever else shapes my heart as time goes on that this influence of Mamaw Hannah never fades . Even if I forget how to cook beans or braid my hair I pray desperately that her consistent and unconditional love is one trait I never lose .
I will probably share more stories about Mamaw Hannah in the future . There are so many !!