Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good Golly

Miss Molly

What a week this has been for you. After making the ridiculous decision to take four teacher-certification tests in one day, having had a total of eight weeks of education courses, you managed to pass all of them, getting your results a few days ago. And then there was the going to class and finding out you are now highly qualified (a No Child Left Behind leftover term) to teach either Special Ed or English or some kind of crazy combination of both.

But let’s go back about 25 years.

You were my late-in-life baby, a surprise but never a mistake. On the day you were born, as I put you to my shoulder to smell your sweetness, you patted me on my close-to -middle-aged back with your little hand, as if to say everything would be all right.

There were times during your teenage years when I questioned your commitment to that promise.

Although we had picked out Emily for you, you were a Molly from the first time I saw you. Whenever you complained about being named after a Little Richard song, your daddy told you to be grateful it wasn’t Tutti Frutti.

You didn’t have an easy childhood with your father and me divorcing when you were six, with your anxiety causing you to throw-up into Barbara’s kitty litter box each morning on your way to school, and with your sorry eyesight requiring your little pink glasses.

Barbara’s house was your safe haven while I traveled with work and other things. She did your hair, bought your clothes, packed your lunch, and was generally your mother while I climbed my ladder and followed my bliss. You were so good at school and so worried about it that I promised you a party if you’d just get into some kind of trouble.

That was a mistake. You later got into all kinds trouble and had your own parties. When you were in Middle School, I remember you drawing body parts in class and then proudly wearing the shameful orange vest with the other “misunderstood” miscreants.

And then there was high school and your first love, which could and probably should have done you in, but didn’t. I’ll never forget that day in July of 2004 when you told me you wished we could look ahead a few years so you could surprise me with how you would turn things around. Well, almost six years later, you’ve gotten your wish. However, even though I’ve been amazed by your intelligence, commitment, and stamina, and delighted with your success, I’m no longer surprised by the adult you’ve become.

The rest of that tough summer, you and I spent a lot of time together, getting to know each other all over again, reading good books and watching bad television. You began to make new friends while holding on to the old ones, who, like you, decided it was time to grow up.

I knew you were going to be fine when you got to college and started actually liking your professors, and when you changed your major from practical Computer Sciences to totally impractical English "because you loved it". At that point, those bits and pieces of earlier hard times managed to make you strong enough to take on the world, while also helping you to understand and accept the frailties of others, characteristics that will make you a wonderful teacher.

And so, my youngest child, friend to brilliant odd balls, old souls, and facile survivors, I predict you will continue to find your own way in this crazy world on whatever paths you decide to follow. In addition, it seems you have managed to keep that very first promise you made to me when you were just a few hours old. Everything is, indeed, all right.


Kate said...

Good Golly, Miss Marcia!
I don't even know you, yet, beyond these posts I started reading about a month ago. And now I check every day to see if you've posted something new.
Your literary expression is a joy to read, and these posts to your children are wonderful in SO many, many ways. They honor them, reflect you, and model a kind of parenting that is rare.
What a gift you are. It sounds as if your children know it, too.
Smiles and Blessings on all of you.

Anonymous said...

Marcia - You've done it again - caused tears at the tenderness, understanding of self and daughter, truth about the road traveled, love and praise for a very special daughter. All done with beautiful language and expression. Wonderful story. Mary B

Anonymous said...

Loved the comment - Well, your name could have been "tutti frutti" Mary B

Barbara said...

As you know this blog is truly close to my heart. I cannot imagine my life without Molly in it. She was so special to me, Joe,Keith and Tambra. Iam so very proud of her and wish her the very best in her future.
Thank you for sharing her with us!

Cheryl Thompson said...

I loved the Erma Bombeck column, "I loved you best" - you remind me of her -

It is normal for children to want assurance that they are loved. I have always admired women who can reach out to pat their children and not have them flinch.

Feeling more comfortable on paper, I wrote this for each of my children.

To the first born......
I've always loved you best because you were our first miracle. You were the genesis of a marriage, the fulfillment of young love, the promise of our infinity.

You sustained us through the hamburger years. The first apartment furnished in Early Poverty... our first mode of transportation (1955 feet)... the 7-inch TV set we paid on for 36 months.

You wore new, had unused grandparents and more clothes than a Barbie doll. You were the "original model" for unsure parents trying to work the bugs out. You got the strained lamb, open pins and three-hour naps.

You were the beginning.

To the middle child...
I've always loved you the best because you drew the dumb spot in the family and it made you stronger for it.

You cried less, had more patience, wore faded and never in your life did anything "first," but it only made you more special. You are the one we relaxed with and realized a dog could kiss you and you wouldn't get sick. You could cross the street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married, and the world wouldn't come to an end if you went to bed with dirty feet.

You were the continuance.

To the baby...
I've always loved you the best because endings generally are sad and you are such a joy. You readily accepted milk stained bibs. The lower bunk. The cracked baseball bat. The baby book, barren but for a recipe for graham pie crust that someone jammed between the pages.

You are the one we held onto so tightly. For, you see, you are the link with the past that gives a reason to tommorow. You darken our hair, quicken our steps, square our shoulders, restore our vision, and give us humor that security and maturity can't give us.

When your hairline takes on the shape of Lake Erie and your children tower over you, you will still be "the baby."

You were the culmination.

Melissa said...

Wow. I mean, I know that Molly has grown up with me being absent, but you have nailed the beautiful adult that she has become. She has grown up through some "less than ideal" times, and he has not only crushed what was in her way- she has come out even better and stronger on the other end.

Thank you for reminding us how absolutely wonderful Molly is and what potential she has to make life a little bit more wonderful for some kids who would have less without her in their lives.

Unknown said...

I love my Molly! It's easy to see where my beautiful, warm-hearted friend gets both her talented mind and her loving heart! This is so beautiful! Thank you, Marcia, for giving us Molly. She has kept her promise and then some!

Lensie Herring said...

I knew when I first met Molly that she was amazing, and we were instant best friends. Through the years she has taught me so much,including how to handle my liquor, and how important school really is! I am still thankful for that "first love" of hers, because of him I met her! I know you're as proud of her as she is of you!

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