What kind of role model am I? Am I “good enough”?

I have been resting up all week during spring break. It gave me a lot of time to rest, catch up on things I had let go for awhile, get some school work completed. Here it is the last day of break. I’m rested, looking forward to going back to school and working with my students there. Today, though, I’m reflecting on my own children and grandchildren.

During the week, I got to have dinner with my youngest daughter.She works so much it is hard to get any time with her right now. It was really nice just sitting at the restaurant and just talking.

T he rest of the week, I didn’t get much time with the rest of the family. My oldest daughter went out of town to visit grandpa-in-law with her husband and children. They stopped at the cemetery to visit grandma-in-law, showing their little daughters where their family roots were, paying respects. I am so glad she got to do that. I think it is important for my granddaughters to know where they comes from, to develop a sense of where she belongs. It also was good for grandpa to know grandma is still loved and is honored.

It made me think of my daughter’s relationship with her grandma, my mom. She was only 4 1/2 when Mama passed, but there was a strong bond there. My mom loved her unconditionally and she knew it. I still have the last photo of them together. Mama gave her an apron that was made by her grandma for me (Grannie was my great grandmother). Grannie had made a matching set of aprons for Mama and me when I was about 4 1/2. Now here was my Mama passing it down to my daughter. I didn’t know it then, (but I somehow think my Mama knew) but that was the last time they were together as six months later, she was gone from cancer.

As I said, family heritage is very important. The intentional passing on faith, family heritage, traditions, belongings, etc. isn’t as important in our society as it was when I was younger. I am of an age now where I realize I’m not a 30-something individual. I don’t feel old, I still feel I am in my 30’s but my driver’s license, skin and body are telling me I’m older. I’m not listening to them though. I’m going to stay in my 30’s as long as I can. However, I do have to look to the future. I am now the matron of the family. I need to make sure I pass on my faith, traditions, family heritage and the things that are important to me on to my children and grand children.

Did I just say that?  Yes, I’m a grandma now. I’m too young to be a grandma of four, but I love every minute I have with my babies.

When I look for a role model on how to be a good grandma, I think of my Momo. Mama was “Mama,” not “Grandma” in my eyes. She was only 48 when she passed. That is way too young to be a “Grandma.”
My Momo is known as “one of the last of the southern belles.” That’s coming from my other southern grandma Josie. (She’s another pretty awesome woman of faith).

As I mentioned in one of my other posts, Momo led me to the Lord at the age of four. I think that is one of the main reasons she is so dear to my heart.
Every morning when I woke up, is smell her big breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, buttermilk biscuits and hot coffee wafting through the house. It was so warm and inviting. Add to that the sound of her singing old hymns in such a sweet song of reverence and love, you just knew, she knew who her Savior was.

Momo is my role model as first of all, she knows her Jesus. Every part of her puts ‘flesh’ to our Lord. She is now almost 94, bent in half from osteoporosis, but still talks about her Jesus, and lives her life simply and with joy. Her house is filled with family and the savory smell of food cooking in the kitchen as it has been for probably over 75 years. Her life is first of all a life of faith and love. Secondly, it is of family. Third, she shows her love for her Lord while she cooks and to her family as she serves. Today, it is more of the family giving back to her with making and serving the Sunday dinners at her house now, but even that is an extension of the love she gave for so many years.

Her legacy is a family who now serves the Lord in their own homes, churches and communities. There are ministers, missionaries, nurses, doctors, teachers, contractors, farmers, hairdressers, computer-IT guys, mechanics and more who are carrying on the faith and faithfulness that she modeled in her life.

So now I question myself. What kind of role model am I? I can clearly see all the mistakes I made as a mom…I suppose that’s normal. Hindsight is always 20-20 they say. I was the best mom I knew how to be. I did my best to teach my children how to love the Lord as best as I knew how. But for me, I got too busy. I worked so hard at trying to do the right thing that I never “got” it in time. God spoke to me once and said, “Be, not do.” I didn’t get it. I did more as time went on, but not while the kids were still at home. If only I had relaxed, just enjoyed my life, my Lord, my kids, my husband. But my low-self-esteem got in the way.

I always felt ‘not good enough.’ I hear it’s something a lot of people deal with. I had it bad. I wanted SO hard to be like Grandma Jessie, to live right and do right as she would always say. She always loved me unconditionally, so it wasn’t something she had said or done that was the problem. It was a lie I had picked up along the way, some things that had happened in my early childhood which seemed to confirm it and a lifetime of believing a lie.

It was the week that my first grandchild was born that it all changed. Literally days before she arrived, I had what was thought at the time to be a heart attack sent me into the hospital. They found nothing, but kept me for tests for a few days. I sat there in the bed and reflected on my life. I had spent nearly 50 years in trying to be good enough, to do it right. I stuffed my emotions, i went along with the program, whatever that was. I didn’t even know who I was or what I really wanted in life. I finally came to myself and said to heck (used stronger language than that) and told myself that I didn’t want to die like that. I wanted to live life to the fullest. I wanted to enjoy the life that God had given me. I wasn’t good enough on my own, no one is. That is why we need Jesus. I needed to be real with myself and my family.

When I left the hospital, I told my husband things were going to be different. I didn’t  know how this would all work out, we might have a few more fights, but I needed to change. He said, “Good. I was wondering when you would do that.” It’s been almost eight years now. I’ve never been happier in my life. I’ve let go of the personal expectations, what I thought were others’ expectations, even of what I thought God’s expectations for me of ‘being good enough’ was.

It’s been a long journey, but here I am. I am confident in who I am, what my talents are. I have a much better marriage, I think my kids appreciate me more.

So back to my original question for myself. What kind of role model am I? I think I am being real. I am real, I laugh and cry over my family’s victories and trials. I am responsible. I am faithful I hang in there when times get tough. I live my life to please my Lord. I model the things Momo taught me with family and food. But, it’s no longer the 1960’s when I saw her do those things. I can’t stay home and take care of my family, live on the farm and have all the healthy things she had. I can’t sing like she does. So I am learning to bring her faith (and mine) into the 21st century.

When I sing, I play CD’s and videos as I cook or clean. I love to zumba (even though I look like something is caught in my britches—I am NOT coordinated). I don’t mind though. I am free and I am having fun! If someone laughs at me, they at least had a laugh today. I can take it. If not, they’re laughing with me.

When I cook, I do it with passion. I love food and sharing it with others. I am learning to quilt, making over the old ones that Momo gave us and learning how to do quilting with my sister, who is very modern in her approach. I am doing Ancestry.com with my Dad and learning about our family, passing that on to my children. I am trying to redevelop the habit to write letters and send cards on birthdays, to reconnect with the family.

I am beginning to pass my faith along through letters, emails, and now blogging. My children and grandchildren should know about all the wonderful things God has done in my life and the lives of our family. There are so many stories to tell of healings, miracles, visions, dreams. Our lives have been a whole soap opera of comedy and drama as you’ll see in future posts.

I think some of the biggest regrets I have with my own children are that I didn’t pray with them often enough. I prayed for them, cried at night at their bedsides and in my quiet times, but not often enough to where they were participating in it with me. I regret I was too private in my life and struggles. I got frustrated too easily. I didn’t always speak up when I should.

Today though, I have changed that. I may not have done all the right things, been perfect with my kids, not “been good enough” but that is the past. My kids know my heart, they still love me, they survived and they’re good people. Today, I can learn and grow from my younger days. I am now going to be the best grandmother (Momo) I can be. I will model my faith, my love of family, share my food and recipes with them (my 3 year old grand daughter cooks with me and the 2 year old is trying). I will pass down my heritage to them.

What kind of role model am I? I am a woman of faith, full of unconditional love and is happy in her own skin, enjoying every day the Lord gives me. I think that is “good enough.”