The Heart of a Mother

I’m going to tell you a story that causes me shame whenever I think of it. I’m reminded of it, because today is Mother’s Day, it involves my mother, and I recently told it to my siblings when we met to spend time with my mother in February. I’ll begin by giving you some backstory.

My dad was a busy pastor when I was growing up and my mom was as involved in ministry at the church as he was. I remember practically living at the church. I’m pretty sure there was no one save church-g739d330aa_1280the janitor that spent as much time at the church as we did. My dad had to prepare two different sermons a week, one for Sunday morning and one for Sunday evening, plus a mid-week Bible study and adult Sunday school class. He was also the youth pastor and sang in the choir, which my mother directed. And, of course, there were lots of meetings, hospital and home visits, potlucks, weddings, and funerals. It was the 60s and early 70s. Dad provided for the family and Mom was responsible for our home and the care and feeding of the children. She also worked as a school teacher, a successful Avon Lady, and a college fundraiser, over the years, to supplement the family income. She was probably as busy or busier than he was, especially when we were young.

The backstory continues. I remember it being an issue that we, their three children, balked at picking up our toys. My dad liked things tidy. Mess was a source of stress for him. I remember my parents fighting about this and Dad telling Mom she needed to discipline us. If you know mybaby-g3a8630712_1920 mother, you know she’s a big, ole marshmallow, as sweet as sugar. She was on the permissive side of things, as far as parenting goes. She was too busy to argue with us and she didn’t like confrontation, either. She was a pushover because she was a peacemaker, always trying to smooth things. I don’t remember doing much around the house ever. Unlike my husband’s family, where the children were required every Saturday to do set chores before they were allowed to play or leave the house, we did very little. I emptied the dishwasher, set the table, and did my own laundry as I got older, but nothing more involved than that. Onward to the cringe-fest.

When I was in high school, my mother was planning a party. My parents were hospitable people and we had groups in regularly. She was busy preparing the food and cleaning the house and she img_2881told me to clean the downstairs bathroom, the one my sister and I used. I had never cleaned a bathroom before. I flatly refused. An argument ensued, but I was, at the time, a rebellious, depressed teenager and I knew there was no way she could make me do it. I won the argument and stormed out of the house, leaving her dumbfounded, I’m sure. I came back later and headed downstairs to my room only to find her stooped over in the bathroom, weeping, as she cleaned the toilet I’d refused to clean. I turned away, went into my room, and shut the door.

I did this. I was disobedient, I disrespected her, and then ignored her pain. I can’t recall if I ever said I was sorry. I can think of other instances like this, as well. I had a rather rocky adolescence. In other homes, this kind of ongoing, rude behaviour may have caused permanent harm to the relationship, but not in our home. You see, my mother is probably the most Christ-like person I’ve ever known. She met surliness with gentleness, meanness with kindness, and offensiveness with grace. She lived outimg_2882 the two greatest commandments. She loved God and loved people with all her heart. My dad’s success in ministry was due in no small part to her. I was a fortunate recipient of her love and grace and she lavished it on me through all my crying, whining, arguing, general messiness, mood swings, friend troubles, school skipping, and growing pains. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow me as I follow the example of Christ.” My mother could say this, though she never would because she’s far too humble and, while I’m still not much of a bathroom cleaner, I do my best to draw near to God every day in the hopes I’ll become more like Jesus and, yes, more like my mother.

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Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to follow me or sign up to receive my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram. Take a peek at my Redbubble store Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

70 x 7

Lately, I’ve seen regular posts such as the one above come across my fb timeline. I’ve also read numerous articles of the same ilk. They press us to rid ourselves of those individuals who frequently use, abuse, fail, stress, and annoy us. We’re encouraged to surround ourselves with only healthy, creative, uplifting, high-functioning types, the end result being that our lives will then be filled with all the happiness, peace, and ease we deserve. For all of you who believe doing this is even in the realm of possibility, good luck. If you systematically work at this, I fear you’ll find yourself alone. Who’ll be left in your circle of friends? There’s no such thing as a circle of one.img_3776

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Celebrating love in all its incarnations. May you love and be loved!

Pictures by Polly Mayforth Krause. Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to follow me or sign up to receive my posts via email. Take a peek at my Redbubble store. Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

Later, Dad! A Reflection on the Death of my Father

Note from the Author: I’ve received permission from my family to share the story of my father’s passing. Some of you may have read parts of this on Facebook. I believe it’s so important that we share our stories with each other to draw comfort, inspiration, and wisdom from them and to help us better navigate life.

 I always knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when. Death, that is. It’s rudely brushed past me before, but it’s easy to distance yourself when it’s someone else’s loved one. When it’s your lovedheart one, when someone from your inner circle exits, death is no longer a curiosity and an occasion to show empathy, but a piercing of the heart. I had no idea that I would be consumed by it, that my dad’s face would take up residence in my mind, and that his departure would so ravage my thinking that keeping track of anything would become a considerable challenge. Continue reading “Later, Dad! A Reflection on the Death of my Father”

Keep on Dancing

I see you there

Your glossy, pale hair swaying to the music

You pose and leap and glide

With every movement comes the sweetest smile

Such visible enjoyment

You are graceful for your four young years

So new and innocent and free

Oh, little ballerina

Let me offer you a small piece of advice

Keep on dancing

As the years beat on in time

Be flexible, be fluid

When the spotlight shines

Take joy

Stretch out

Reach up from where you are

Become the shooting star that you were meant to be

But never soar so far that you will not be ready

For when the floodlights shut their eyes

And sure as death they will

And suffering strikes an errant chord

You must not fall

Do not give up, do not lay low

By all means, wrestle with your grief and take your rest

Then go

For life is in the movement

A waltz with pain produces beauty

Only if you

Keep

On

Dancing

Complete the experience. Listen to Mandisa’s Overcomer.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

 

You Oughta be in Pictures…or Not

My first camera, a basic Kodak, was a Christmas gift, a costly gift, when I think about it now, in time and coinage. One had to purchase film, snap the allotted pictures, take the film into a store that would develop it, and pick up the pictures when they were ready. You paid for every photo, the pic of your grandparents with grandpa’s head cut scan00152off, the pic of your grandparents where you almost sliced grandma clean away, and the pic of your foot (Seriously, I loved my grandparents. I just sucked at taking pictures). There was excitement happening when you retrieved those photos and you were pleased if some of them turned out to be semi-worthy of the time that went into their creation. You slapped them into a coil bound, self-adhesive photo album and, if you’re anything like me, hardly ever looked at them again. Sometimes, you left the used film sitting for so long, you didn’t even know what was on it anymore.
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Out of the Mouths of Teens

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My son and his junior high band class played Christmas carols at City Hall one year. Before angeltinsel2they began, the band teacher turned around to explain that the students had only been together for a paltry few weeks. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that my son had played the saxophone. The teacher added that with the limited number of students and, consequently, instruments, the melody may be carried by instruments we were not accustomed to hearing carry the melody.
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Footprints in the Snow

For my husband

Walking together in the chill of a winter’s eve

Bodies craving warmth are bundled into obscurity

Breath hangs like icicles

You trudge on ahead

Diamonds sparkle at the crunch of your heavy boots

I follow sure-footed the glittering path you’ve made for me

I thank you for those footprints in the snow

For the many things you do for me

To make my life a little bit easier

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

My Mother’s Dog

One of my pet peeves is people who don’t pick up after their pets. A walk in the spring is like tiptoeing through the pooch shit.

I had a dog once. The only reason we had a dog was because one of my mother’s clients offered it to us. It was a toy poodle. It was cute, especially when the groomers didn’t turn it into a topiary tree.
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My Children Have Me

For my children

I have children and my children have me

They have my body

They took from me to form

The bricks and mortar of their frames

All mine

They grew inside

And forced their way into the world

And took me with them

 

They have my time

My resources are theirs

Their sustenance and shelter

Come at my expense

My help, consistent and intense

They flourish in the wake of all my tenderness

I carry and support them

 

They have my mind

My thoughts are oft of them

Their lives, their health and happiness

My meditation

Now become my true vocation

They learn and try, excel and make mistakes

And I applaud them

 

They have my heart

They had it from the first

My love for the them far from a wispy, passing notion

More like a sure devotion

No matter where or who they are

I cannot help but love them

 

They have my cells, my time, my care, my mind, my money, and my love

My listening ear

My best advice

My fervent prayers

My biggest hugs

There’s not a day that passes by

That I don’t thank the Lord above

That I have children and my children have me

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Amy Sky’s I Will Take Care of You.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂