Every day. That's how often I think of her. It's been 15 years since she passed away and I still think of her every day. I remember her gentle smile, the way she crinkled her nose when she laughed, her wrinkled hands that some how still remained beautiful, those beautiful hands painting all the fine details on the ceramics she took pride in, the smell of fried potatoes when I stepped off of the school bus, her relationship with God, the red and blue dress that she wore so often, the Mother's ring that never left her hand, the hankerchief that held her money in a very safe place (yes...that would be inside her bra), her long black hair that she wore in a low side pony tail or a braid, how I always seemed to make her happy even though there was a deep part of her that was so sad, the choice she gave me of either a spanking or being grounded the couple times I did get in trouble with her, me choosing to be grounded because I knew it wouldn't last long, her patience while teaching me how to fry chicken...even after I burnt a few pieces, the way she looked when she was worried, the way she wanted to keep me close with every bone in her body...but she let me grow, the way she encouraged me. Most of all I remember the confidence she tried so hard to instill in me. She had a special connection with God and just knew that I was meant for something great. Above all else, she taught me faith. Faith that everything happened for a reason. Faith that God could move mountains. Faith that if you give back to others, God will return that to you by "ten folds". And love...love to everyone...no matter who they were...no matter their culture, ethnicity, background...or even their mistakes. Forgiveness...as she forgave everyone, no matter what they had done. Her relationship with God always felt so magical, but tangible. So strong and so real that you could feel it and touch it. For those of you who don't know who I'm talking about, it's my Grandma. The woman I was named after and who raised me up until she passed away when I just turned 15. The woman who I call Mommy. When she passed away, another wonderful woman stepped in to help pick up the pieces. She never tried, nor would, take the place of Mommy. What we had was different. It was hard at first. Erica was only 25 and all of a sudden has a 15 year old living in her home...sneaking into her make up and eating all the pizza rolls. It was a huge adjustment for both of us. We always had a strong relationship, but we butted heads often. Probably like most Mom's and their teenage daughters now that I think about it. Erica taught me things that Mommy couldn't. They had different lives. They were different people. It's funny because I always see it as Mommy taught me to be half of who I am and Mikie and Erica taught me the other half (obviously there's life experiences, etc. but over all this is my philosophy). Erica taught me to be strong and not let people run over me (although...I'm not sure how much of that stuck...lol), to be confident but not cocky, to know that I am no better than anyone else but no one else is better than me, to work hard and I can do anything I want, to take care of myself, that it is never okay to lie (of course unless it's a "yes you look good in that" type of lie), and to love passionately. I remember so many of Erica's lessons and the way I learned them. I can remember the times when Mommy was alive and she would take me shopping for clothes. I just thought she was the coolest person. I remember her telling me how to wash clothes the correct way and I was so proud that I could do that. One of our first bonding experiences was when Mommy was in the hospital and I had my 8th grade graduation. She put my hair in hot rollers and showed me how to put make up on. I felt pretty. She was proud. I know the look of when Erica is proud and I've seen it many times. It's some of my happiest moments. When she saw me grow and learn, watched me walk across the stage at graduation, dropped me off at college on the first day, graduating college, saw me in my wedding gown and put my necklace and ear rings on me, and every time I do pictures of Myca and Macy or a friend. Recently Erica and I have grown closer than I ever imagined. She had a hard time having children and I know it hurts her so to see us going through the same thing. I can see that she's reliving so much of her pain. When I was in the hospital for my last surgery, she was there. She held my hand through the hardest thing I've ever gone through. She held my hand through the embarrassment and the pain. I could see her getting upset, but then pulling it back because she knew she needed to be strong for me. I introduced her to the dr's and everyone as my Mom and I could see her face beam with pride. That's the face that always makes me the happiest.
I have so many other women to thank and be grateful for. If I wasn't getting ready to walk out the door, I would blog a paragraph about most of them because Lord knows they deserve it. First my beautiful mother-in-law Peggy (I am truly the luckiest wife on Earth...she is added to my list of things I need to blog about), my wonderful aunts who were there all through out my life, and Charlene...although she wasn't here I know she has always loved me in her own way.
Now that I've been so mushy. Here's something funny for all you Mom's. Each of you continue to touch my life every day. I am amazed by you. Thank you for all that you do.
If you don't see the above video, I'm sorry, but I don't have the link. lol. If you're viewing through email, you should be able to see it if you go to my website at www.priscillabphotography.com
PS...I have several sessions to blog, but as I usually blog from my lap top and it hasn't been connecting well to me networked external hard drives, I've been having a little trouble with that. Don't worry to those of you patiently waiting...we got lots of beautiful images and I can't wait to blog my favorites!!!! Soon...so soon.