My Aunt San has this incredible super power which enables her to make anyone laugh about anything no matter the circumstance. She truly has a gift, equal parts comedy and empathy for the human condition - which is to be flawed yet all colorful children of God. I've seen it in action, walking by a stranger she'll smile or make a funny face all to cultivate the best out of them and us. This Happy-stance she takes is not because she's without trials or worries; despite her discomfort, she fills a void for harmony amongst mankind.
It's not easy to see a super hero struggle. My mind wanders to old school Superman and his aversion to kryptonite or even modern-day Luke Cage and his silver bullet; witnessing what everyone else may see as a downfall (even the victor) can be devastating if you let it. But I know there is victory in suffering. It's a silver-lining called resilience! Aunt San's Achilles' heel manifested in the form of 3 brain aneurysms found last year, all in very distinct places lining her skull. In a short amount of time she's undergone several surgeries with each one leaving a medical mark of confused comprehension making her days more difficult. She's hard on herself for not moving as quickly or talking as much. She blames herself for slow recognition and the repeating of questions or statements. I'm sure you can identity with loved ones that might feel this same way. On top of the mountain of things Aunt San has taught me, it's that there's nothing more scary than going through a trial and not knowing if others understand. Today and everyday I vow to let her know - "we do." Things are not the same, but that's okay. God continues to provide life, health and strength. Our BIG God can handle hurt emotions and still cradle us in our walk with him.
My mom is another strong woman from which I come from and honestly a source of comfort for many of my family members. Lonnie is consistent in her nurturing, even when she doesn't feel nurtured herself. A severe muscle weakness keeps her wheelchair-bound and over the years I've witnessed her bravery during this major life change. Mom's light is just as strong as it has always been, because God dwells within. My prayer for any caregiver is patience and grace. Grace for yourself that you're doing the best job you can and patience to mend and comfort your loved one in their times of need. I admit, at times it feels like mom isn't "fighting" the way she should, or staying motivated, but I have to remember its her walk, not mine and that God shows her things I'll never know. I pray for her strength, stability, and restoration each day.
My cousin Jodi is a mother of 2 and is a devoted wife and worker in my home church, in Erwin NC where she lives. Her Christian faith is by far one of the strongest and in the passing years where Aunt San and mom's super powers dwindle, I've seen her step in weaving the pieces together, like a mighty side-kick of sorts! Jodi simply put, doesn't miss a beat. I probably shouldn't proclaim this out loud, but when I was growing up, I wanted to be her. It went farther than trying on her clothes and spending weekends in her college dorm... I had to know her favorite soda (Dr. Pepper) and favorite color (lavender) and before I knew it I inherited those favorites as my own. She is a powerhouse and works so hard that I can't figure out if she ever sleeps (seriously, never seen her take a nap). I'm fortunate to still learn from her, in a very copy-cat-like fashion!
And that brings me to the reason for our trip, Alexsandria.
- who is the jazzy culmination of Aunt San's determination, Lonnie's loyalty and Jodi's faith. Alex was the first female in our family to join the Air Force, flying across country to California. I admire her bravery and persistence to march at the beat of her own drum. It is wonderful to watch her transform into womanhood before my eyes. I'd like to think of her as a super hero in training, at the head of her class.
This brief post uncovers the female gems of this side of my family. I'm reminded through our travels together that there is a bit of them inside of me, but there are others who I dare not forget: Helen Wright my late grandmother from which all of our fortitude flows; Aunt Elizabeth, my namesake; Aunt Lossie, my Godmother; Aunt Mary; and all of the derivative fabrics that make up our generational cloth - Kymberli, Khristie, Kittrane, Gabrielle, Kasha, Deedee, Makaylah. I gain wisdom and strength from my dad's family too - the undisputed matriarch Grandma Jackson, my Aunt Belinda and Aunt Tina, my step mom Harriett, sister Raven, cousins Fatima, Kyemah, Barbara and Tommy.
Take a dive today in the pool of strength that flows from the strong woman in your family. Don't wait to show them that your love for them knows no bounds. Hug them, call them, cherish them and give them their flowers while they can still smell them. Draw from their own examples of greatness to fuel your own. It's genetic, but it's also spiritual. I've learned to trust God because of these women, furthermore I've proven time and time again that God exists because of their encouragement. And there is no greater superpower than leading souls to the Throne.
If there's a Superman or Superwoman in your life, whose cape may be faded, or whose walk is not as tall, I encourage you to help them carry their shield. Have you ever helped a super hero across the street? I'd like to imagine that with your initiative and their power that you both arrived safely to your destination. Thanking God today for the superwomen in my family, it is their wings on which I soar.
Happy Mothers' Day Everyone!