“Don’t touch that! It was Mother’s.”
My first memory of my mother was not a memory of my mother at all. It was a memory of spying a beautiful decorative box sitting on a shelf in the old bookcase in the den. I suppose my 5-year-old fingers were reaching for the box. All I remember was my eyes caught a glimpse of the pretty object, and then I was grabbed and twirled around. My big sister, Iris, angrily shook me and shouted, “Don’t touch that! It was Mother’s.”
Other similar memories ended with synonymous echoes, “Keep your hands away. That was Mother’s.”
I was by far the youngest in the house. The next older sibling was my brother, Paul. He was a decade ahead of me in life. The age differences and the withdrawn personality of my dad, left me feeling alone. As I think back to my early childhood, I was always lonely and bored. Being fed and clothed just didn’t fill the emptiness that I felt in my heart. Even though no one blamed me for my mother’s exit as I was entering, her death left me void of the nurturing that a mother naturally gives a little girl.
Then one day, she came into my life. The house was full of people. I remember I was feeling afraid. One of the guests had brought her little terror of a son to Paul’s graduation celebration. He had a pocket full of bugs. I didn’t stop to find out if they were real or not. I ran and ran and hid under the bed in the guest room. I felt safe there. I stayed there a long time. Then the door opened. I saw a pair of high-heeled shoes walk in and stop before the full-length mirror. I peeped out. As I did, my eyes met her eyes. She giggled.
“So, what are you doing down there?”
I didn’t respond.
“Oh….” she cooed. “You must be Marsha’s youngest. You look like her. Yes, you’d be just the right age!” She fairly leaped toward me and fell to her feet. She got eye-level with me and begged for a hug.
I crawled out and fell into her arms. Tears started falling. Looking back, I realize that she struck a chord in my heart. I knew she knew my mother, and I wanted to be close to her.
“Oh, little one, Marsha talked so lovingly about you. She was so anxious to have you in her arms! Oh, how excited she was to be your mother. She knew God had planned one more child. She talked about how special she knew you were going to be. God told her you’d be a writer.”
The mystery woman squeezed me tight and began to whisper . Oh, how did she know I was starving and she was feeding me? The origin of my name became clear and the empty void began to close as she softly reassured my aching heart, “I remember the day that Marsha called me on the phone and told me that she had named you. She knew you were going to be a girl. Your mother loved you, Promise.”
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