I am awake this morning only because I have to be. I’ve been waiting all my whole life ever since I was thirteen to face this morning and it’s finally here. This is it, this is my D-day. This morning begins a whole new chapter of my life. It’s a chapter that I wish I didn’t have to write. Today is my 39th birthday. It’s six o’ clock in the morning and I have been awake all night long just thinking.
I still remember Mommas 39th birthday, and the memories carry me away.
My Granny Anna is cooking breakfast for someone and as she cooks she talks to me in her special granny voice, sweet and singing like a dove as she so often does. “You know Janelle, this is a very special morning for your Momma, it is her 39th birthday”. That’s the reason I flew in from California, to especially be with your momma this morning because Smith women cannot be alone on their 39th birthday. We Smith women are very special; we get a special touch on our 39th birthday. Then Grandma said, “We are a living legend and when you get to the age of 13, I will tell you the whole story and how this legend came about, and you can only find out at the age of 13".
Then Granny and I delivered the pancakes and sausage to Mommas bedside.
Then I saw the change, her face was totally different, the corners of her mouth were turned different and it happened over night. One line was up and one was down with a perfectly formed S inside the middle, The S for Smith. She was still beautiful though and I told her so, because beauty doesn’t begin on the outside, it starts on the inside and works its way to the outside, for an all-over beauty.
This morning, Jan the first, 2005, I am getting the special treatment, the smell of sausage frying is floating up the staircase and reminding me of a far-a-way time when life was simple and easy. I know the Folgers is perking in the pot because the aroma is floating up the staircase and teasing my heartbeat.
About a half an hour later, my sister Florinda came swinging through the door looking like Loretta Young with a vase of red roses and my 10 year old Vickie was right by her side. They both screamed happy birthday at the same time. The meal they delivered to me was fit for a Queen on her crowning day.
Breakfast is finally over and I must face the final answer, “will I or won’t I become a true legend”?
I’ll have my answer in a minute; I am ready for the test, because I left my beautiful cameo dresser mirror lying beside me on the nightstand, I took the mirror slowly in my left hand, got it in front of me and lay it face down on my lap, my best friend, my sister Florinda held my hand while I took my journey into no-return land.
Then I said a silent prayer, “Lord help me, I don’t have the energy.”
Then I got a surge of energy and turned the mirror up and turned it over. There it is, one wrinkle going up and one wrinkle going down with a perfectly shaped S in the middle right exactly on the corners of my mouth. I cannot believe it; I have not escaped this legend.
My daughter Vickie hugged me close and said, “Momma, I still love you”!
You’re the most beautiful woman in the world to me and you must remember what you told me on my 13th birthday, “Beauty is only in the eye of the beholder”. Then my sister Florinda said, “get up and get dressed, I am going to teach you how to fight this legend with the best make-up money can buy. I have fought the battle for 10 years and as you can plainly see, I have beat the legend”.
Then I said, “that sounds good to me” and then I thought something sounds even better,
the words of a beautiful lady, my momma. She said, “legends live on, only in the heart of those who keep them alive”!
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