The Three Faces of my Mother

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

My Mother, Clora Mae Coates

I was born late in life to my parents, Thomas & Clora Mae Coates. I was the youngest of the ten of their children. I often tell my siblings, “They finally got it right!” My earliest memory of what my Mom looked like is the picture above. As far back as I can remember, this is what she looked like. Really did not change much over the years. Hair got a bit grayer. Few wrinkles here and there. I did not know as a kid that my Mom was over weight. I never noticed, till she lost so much weight that I could see a difference. She was “Mama” and that was all I needed to know. So for most of my life when I closed my eyes or heard people ask about my Mom. This is the face I would see. This is the face I still see, even when I see her now.

My Parents: Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

When I was about 15 years old, I was going through my Mom’s box of pictures (I still do this at least once every six weeks). I ran across the picture above. I had never seen (that I knew of) a picture of my parents when they were younger. My Mom told me it was her and my Dad. “You were so pretty!” I remember telling her. She replied with “What happened huh?” I told her that she was still a beautiful woman. At this time my Mom still looked like she did in the picture at the top of this page. The picture of my parents when they were younger was their wedding day. March 14, 1953. So now I had two faces to my Mother. The one I knew here and now. And the one that married my Dad at just 16 years of age.

I really did not know much about my Mother when I was younger. Just the average stuff a kid knows. Birthday (May 10, 1936), Where she was born (Broken Bow, Oklahoma), Her family (The Taylors) and her famous cake she baked for almost all of the church bake sales, Milkway Cake. But I really did not know details of her. Her hopes, dreams, what made her marry my Dad at such a young age. But as the years went on, I began to learn more and more about my Mom. After the passing of my Dad we got very close. And since that time, we have gotten extremely close. There is absolutely nothing that I can not tell my Mother. Though I do not always share everything with her. The freedom is there should I want to do so. There is no shame, judgement or disappointment in anything I might share with her. That is a true gift to any daughter from their Mother.

Clora & Matt <br>Great Grandson

Clora & Matt (Her Great Grandson)

So this brings me to the face of my Mom, now. Still amazingly beautiful. But now I see my Mom in a different light. I don’t just see the beauty when I look into her eyes. I see the 78 years that she has lived on this earth. I see a young girl with joy for the future, marrying a man eight years older than she was, at the age of 16. Giving birth to her first child at 17, the day before her own birthday. Giving birth to the second daughter 11 months later, to the day! I see a disciplined woman who raised 8 children (7 girls, one boy) in the house of the Lord, there was no excuse for not attending church. Who was not afraid to put a little thunder in the diaper when needed. But had soft arms that not one of us could resist laying on, curdled up talking about our hopes and dreams. I also see a Mother who has endured more grief than any one person should go through,  who buried two children just a few years apart from each other (RIP Thomas Jr. & Veronica), who I have never once seen her shed a tear over. I see a wife that lost her husband the day before their 46th wedding anniversary. Though I seen and heard many tears, she bravely went on about her life. She is a Gold Star Granny (RIP Pfc. Matthew W. Wilson). And buried her oldest child just two short months after Matt’s death.

But among all the heartache, the dreams, the joy and the loss. I see “Granny”. What she loves for her grand kids and great grand kids and great great grand kids to call her. I see the lady who has went through all of that to become the woman she is today. Though most days she is tired, finds it difficult to stay awake, hard to remember most things and can no longer walk without the aide of something or someone. Her mouth drawn just slightly because of the stroke. Her face has indeed changed with age and with health issues. But this same face that tells the story of her life, is the same face that lights up any time one of her great grand kids or great great grand kids crawls up into her lap. Her eyes smile without even trying. And it is then when I notice it. It’s the same face that my Mother had when I was born. The same face I seen through out my life, the same face that I never realized was getting older. It is the face of unconditional love, at its finest.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 11:05 pm and is filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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