Happy New Year and welcome to 2016. I’m not much for New Year resolutions but I have given thought as to what I want to hold for this up-coming year. I’ve done extensive work on my story and how it has impacted my life. Most of that work has involved digging into the effects of my addiction (eating disorder) and the sexual abuse that occurred during my childhood.
Because of this I have ignored the goodness that was present during those years, in particular, with my mother. She has been absent in much of my story. It is not because she wasn’t present it is just that until recently I haven’t allowed my heart to engage with her presence in my early life. Yet, I’m realizing more than ever that she was there and she has influenced me today.
It is fascinating for me to remember the walk with my mom along the shores of Lake Michigan that has resonated in my heart for years. It is even more fascinating that I’ve never spoken about it. Yes, it happened on one day, and as a 13 year old it has a resting place in my heart that I’ve only just recognized is there.
My mom and I had an afternoon alone. We were on vacation and my dad and brothers were off somewhere else. There would be no competition for her attention or scrutiny over how we decided to spend our time. We chose to walk along the beach and into a nearby park. It wasn’t so much the location that made the difference for me but it was how my mom engaged me. As we began our walk she reached over and took my hand into hers. I felt such warmth and tenderness in holding her hand.
Her touch felt safe and spontaneous and it caused my heart to relax and lean into her presence.
I felt enjoyed and that somehow she understood all the angst my 13 year-old heart and body were holding. We shared much laughter over saying, “bread and butter” as we raised our arms in unison over the posts and bushes along the way. We never lost our connection. She held onto my hand tightly and accommodated for my smaller size.
It was a glorious day filled with sunshine, sea gulls and rolling waves. The beauty of the day was everywhere with the blue sky, the green beach grass and the sand warming our feet as we strolled along. She expressed her love of the lake, the land and the memories of her childhood growing up surrounded by the beauty of water and nature. I was getting a glimpse of the child in my mother who had been hidden to me until this day. She was playful. She was kind. She appreciated beauty. She was relaxed and so was I.
I can recount this walk like it was yesterday…and I am savoring the goodness of it today. I, too, am a lover of beauty, texture, color and touch. This all unfolded for me on that day. And I hold the memory of my mom in my heart as a daughter forever grateful for her.
There is always goodness mingled with difficulties that form the stories of our lives. God’s presence prevails in all of them. I’m choosing just one day of goodness to carry me into 2016. If I can pass on to my children and my grandchildren just a smidgen of a memory like the one with my mom, I will be truly thankful. It takes only one day to make a difference. I am hailing in the year with the goodness of this day.
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 50 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.
Hope grows in me as I read your words, Mary Jane. Thank you for sharing! -beth
Hope is wonderful…hold onto it! Thank you for the encouragement!
Mary Jane, that was a lovely piece to read. I could picture you and your mom walking along the shore holding hands and talking. I’m happy that you can take that piece of your story with you into 2016. It encourages me to do the same with my family. It’s never too late, right?! Thank you for sharing your glimpse with us.
Never too late…that is what I believe. Blessings to you into the New Year.
Your offering here confirms what I am choosing for the coming year…..to look at the stories of my past with tenderness . For years I have forgotten how much lap time I had with my mom rather than how absent she seemed to be. Thank you for confirming my desire to see the “stories” of
my past in a way that blesses my childhood. Thank you for inviting my heart to something new
You are so welcome. So glad you recognize the invitation with the intentions of tenderness for your story.
Beauty…sheer, stunning beauty…in the words that give life to this memory and in the hope your engagement with others offers. Thank you.
Your are welcome…thank you for your encouragement.
I absolutely loved this. Filled with beauty and joy. Thank you MJ
Hank you, my dear friend…Happy New Year!
Beautiful. We have much more than we don’t have. Thanks for this wonderful reminder.
You are welcome,,,focusing on goodness!
Dear Mary Jane, I loved this entry and I especially loved these sentences: ” She expressed her love of the lake, the land and the memories of her childhood growing up surrounded by the beauty of water and nature. I was getting a glimpse of the child in my mother who had been hidden to me until this day. She was playful. She was kind.” I am curious of her childhood and also why you have not written of her earlier. A bit like me, we seem to reflect on our fathers more. I loved that your mother was playful. I love that and I love that you are beginning the year remembering this memory. Happy New Year.
Thank you, Beckie. I love your curiosity about my mom and me! I’ll be pondering my relationship with her more this upcoming year.
I love this Mary Jane. I’m reminded of your joy of walking the beach in search of beach glass. In fact I have some pieces of that glass you shared with me a number of years ago. Your words invite me to look more deeply at a time my mother and I walked the fields looking for dried things for fall flower arranging. I will take that time. Thank you for your words. Love, Valerie
Thank you for your encouragement! Happy New Year. Glad you, too, had time with your mom that you enjoyed.
This post encouraged my heart to focus with kindness on what was good in the midst of the hard in my relationship with my mother as I was growing up. I tend to view things through that “all or nothing” and “black or white” lens, rather than through the one of “grace and goodness in the struggle.” Thank you for helping to reorient that lens to focus on the moments of warmth and understanding, because they were there. I am grateful to still have my mother and to be able to share times of remembering and redemption together as we continue our healing journey.
I’m so glad you still have your mother as well. Bless you as you remember those moments of goodness with her. I understand the thinking that has robbed you of them in the past. Now is the time…it is not too late.