Childhood Memories of Momma

I was sewing this morning and as I was clipping stray threads and pausing to realign seam edges and move pins out of the way, I remembered the sounds of my mother doing the same thing, sitting at the sewing machine using the foot pedal to control the cadence of the whir of the needle as it moved along the path of fabric she was guiding between her hands. She made great dresses and costumes for my sister and I as we grew up, fitting them perfectly to us. And she taught me how to sew, enough so that I can look at a schematic and spool a bobbin and troubleshoot why my needle isn’t pulling thread.

I was cooking this afternoon and as I threw some things in a skillet and started them sizzling, I remember my mother working to prepare us good food every day, day in and day out. We rarely ate out when I was a child. I say that, and you might think, oh, you mean, at a fancy restaurant. No, we might have gone to a Burger King once a month and that counted as the time we ate out that month. Now, part of that is because momma was and continues to be a master chef, part of it was because of tight budgets and it is way cheaper to cook at home than let someone else prepare your food, and part of it is because for a time there, the closest restaurant worth eating at was thirty minutes away. (Not much unlike our current situation.)

I was praying with my daughter last night and as I joined her in her jubilant shout out of names of people she loves, I remember the nights we gathered to pray using the Pockets prayer guide. We began to pray each night, never a memorized prayer, but a prayer that encompassed more than our selves or our situation. Later, as we grew up, we would learn to keep a prayer journal and be the first to volunteer to pray out loud or read scripture in our Sunday School classes. Much of that has to do with how my mother and father raised us to pray with confidence when we were little. So I’m starting my daughter on a similar path; now she asks to pray each night at bedtime.

I was singing with my daughter in the car on the way to preschool today and as we sang “Oh-oh” and “Horse” and “Bear” (her titles, not the proper names), I remembered my mother singing with us as we rode in the car. First we started on silly songs, and we still love and know some of those silly songs about camels and ghosts and car rides, and later we learned songs together that we could sing in church, with motions and everything. I remember the silly songs she taught our girl scout troop, leading us in campfire songs about flannel sheets and singing our prayers over meals.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 3.10.58 pI love that I have carried lessons that my mother taught through her presence and moving through her world so that I can be a good mother to my daughter (soon to be daughters). I love that I can call her and check a gut feeling that I am having and know that my decision is on the right path. I love that I can share the love that I get from my mother with my family and others around me. I love my momma.

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Troop 277

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When I was in elementary school my mother led a Girl Scout troop. We had the most awesome Girl Scout troop ever. We went on camping trips where it always rained. We took hikes on islands you can only get to by ferry where wild horses roam free. We made up songs to sell Girl Scout cookies, and we sold them at the grocery store like superstars. We created our own uniforms, we didn’t wear the annoying socks or ugly skirts or shorts. We did make the concession of wearing the vest or sash, but that was only to show off the badges we earned.

And our group of girls was amazing. We still are amazing, actually. I have kept up with a few of the women who used to be part of our troop, and they are kicking ass and taking names thriving brilliantly at everything they do. If Girl Scouts is supposed to prepare us to be leaders in the world, we succeeded. Not that we all are presidents of the most powerful corporation in our areas, no, we are good at what we do, and we have found ways to lead and serve in our own unique ways.

I was proudly the most odd child in our group, as I have been in most of my other social situations… ever. But that did not deter the girls around me from being good friends to me. The weirder I got, the bigger their grace became. It was one of the best gifts that I could have ever received from a group of girls growing up. I’m sure that we all claimed our own form of misfitery, who completely fits in at age ten anyway?

When we moved the summer after I turned twelve, I tried to get connected to another girl scout troop, but the leaders were lackluster as best, and only talked about money. I only remember doing one badge project with them over the six months I stuck it out in going with them. I thank my parents for realizing that I didn’t want to keep going, and not making me do so.

I missed my friends. I missed the girls that I could be comfortable with. I missed the space where I could relax and know that being myself was acceptable. I never stopped being myself, but I didn’t bond with any of the girls at the new troop. I don’t remember any of their names.

But with my good troop I remember watching others make s’mores around a campfire and being part of something bigger than myself. I remember watching the stars on one of the rare nights when it wasn’t raining and seeing huge swaths of light in the sky as I was surrounded by girls who accepted me for who I was. Thanks girls, for being shining points of light in my world.

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