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Raising Me

{I asked Taylor to take this non-candid candid of me for this post.  Here I am in Grandma Tillie’s dress and shoes that Cookie would approve of (OK  let’s be honest, she would have bought them for me.)  I don’t know how bloggers do this kind of thing every day.  It is so embarrassing!

You should see the outtakes.}

{I suppose this is what got me thinking:} 

I started reading Women At Church by Neylan McBaine.  (That amazing book deserves its own separate post and if you’re a Mormon woman, do yourself a favor and locate a copy immediately.)

In the beginning, she reflects on the many women (not just Mormon, of course) who have influenced and shaped her life, her mother being at the top of the list.

{Yesterday, during the third hour at church, where we meet with just women in Relief Society, I took these notes on my phone:}

I have been feeling so alone and isolated lately. Singing the opening hymn in RS today I was thinking about Cookie (because it’s October and because I’m wearing fabulous shoes) and I could not hold back the tears. I miss her desperately. I am thinking now of the women in my life who have shaped me and are now gone from me. I am realizing that the older I get, the more I have to be the strong woman who helps shape her daughters and nieces and others. I need to lift and serve after the manner of those who have lifted and blessed me. It feels daunting but I believe in the strength God will give me.

I sat there with my head down, while everyone else around me was singing, and just tried my best not to sob out loud.  I sniffled, breathed deeply, and tried to prevent my mascara from turning goth.  But all I could think about was Cookie, Grandma Tillie, both of my grandmothers, my adopted grandma, Erma… all gone from me for now.  I wanted to sit at Cookie’s kitchen table, drinking that yummy Dole juice she always had in her magnet-bedecked fridge.  I wanted her to tell me something funny about how Uncle Frank is driving her to drink.  I wanted to snitch cookie dough with Grandma Tillie and have her tell me that in her old age she’s not worth a hoot or a holler anymore.  I wanted Erma to come and teach my kids all the card games she taught me.  I wanted Grandma’s bread and a shopping date with Nana.  And then I thought about my mother, and how most of these women were also mentors and models and nurturers to her.  She carries the torch now and someday it will be me.

Clearly I am still only 33, and there are many women in my life still shaping me.  My mother (at the top of my list), my mother-in-law, my sisters and sisters-in-law, Cookie’s daughter, Holly, countless friends and soul sisters.  I don’t have any sort of torch to carry quite yet.  But this little emotional moment yesterday has gotten me thinking about the circle of life (why did Disney have to take that expression and make me feel so dorky using it?) and the great eternal sisterhood that I am privileged to be a part of.   I couldn’t dream up better mentors and nurturers and wisdom bearers than I have had.  And I look to them and to God to build me to be likewise strong and seasoned and wise and patient and good and gentle and loving (and fun! and bold! and colorful! and exciting!) so that I can be them some day. Solidarity, sisters!  I love you all.  Thanks for being part of my circle.



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