Monday, August 11, 2014

Mama, Do You Love Me?

Last week in a training I was given the task of identifying one person who had been a consistent and loving support for me throughout my entire life. I was overwhelmed and humbled by the fact that I could make quite a long list of family and friends who would fit that role. My immediate reaction though was to think of my amazing mom. 

There are so many great things I could say about her but it would make me cry if I tried to type them all. And since my super awesome mom and dad gifted me a new computer recently it would be unfortunate to have it get messed up by crying puddles over the keyboard.

So instead I'll share a memory that I shared in the training.  We were asked to give an example of when that person showed us unconditional love and support. A flood of moments ran through my mind: every soccer game, every basketball game, every cross country meet, student council elections, learning to drive (and almost killing her in the process), coming home to tell her I aced a test, coming home to tell her I failed a test, and on and on. No matter if it was good news or bad news my mom embodied Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" and supported me through it all.

However, an extremely random yet vivid memory came to mind. Growing up I had an affinity for Native American culture. There was a good chunk of my childhood where I was convinced I was Pocahontas. I played in the woods and look for waterfalls to practice my diving but stayed away from raccoons. I'm not sure which grade I was in but somewhere around 2nd or 3rd grade I picked up "Mama, Do you Love Me?" at the school book fair. The cover depicted what young Molly assumed was a Native American or Eskimo family and she couldn't resist.  Here's the cover and text of the book:

Mama, do you love me?

Yes I do, Dear One.

How much?

I love you more than the raven loves his treasure, more than the dog loves his tail, more than the whale loves his spout.

How long?

I'll love you until the umiak flies into the darkness, till the stars turn to fish in the sky, and the puffin howls at the moon. 

Mama,what if I carried our eggs - our ptarmigan eggs! - and tried to be careful, and I tried to walk slowly, but I fell and the eggs broke?

Then I would be sorry. But still, I would love you. 

What if I put salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens, and lemmings in your mukluks?

Then I would be angry. 

What if I threw water at our lamp?

Then, Dear One, I would be very angry. But still, I would love you. 

What if I ran away?

Then I would be worried. 

What if I stayed away and sang with the wolves and slept in a cave?

Then, Dear One, I would be very sad.
But still, I would love you. 

What if I turned into a musk-ox?

Then I would be surprised. 

What if I turned into a walrus?

Then I would be surprised and a little scared. 

What if I turned into a polar bear, and I was the meanest bear you ever saw and I had sharp, shiny teeth, and I chased you into your tent and you cried?

Then I would be very surprised and very scared. But still, inside the bear, you would be you, and I would love you. 

I will love you, forever and for always, because you are my Dear One.

 So back to my vivid memory.  I'm reading this book in our family dining room and I'm amazed. This mom says she's going to love her daughter no matter what.  Even if she turned into the meanest polar bear she'd ever seen. I called out to my mom, "MOM!" *This was obviously before I got into the habit of calling her MK* I started asking her the same questions. What if I broke something? What if I ran away? What if I turned into a polar bear?! I'm not sure what she was thinking when I asked her those things but it was probably something along the lines of "what did Molly break now? Wait, did she say polar bear?" But each time she said she'd still love me. And I knew that if she'd love me as a polar bear she'd love me no matter what I did for the rest of my life.  And that gave me peace of mind.

I had not thought of that book in close to 15-20 years but somehow it came back to me so clearly when the question was asked.  And even though I haven't turned into a polar bear you might say that moving to DC was the equivalent of the line "What if I stayed away and sang with the wolves and slept in a cave?". I've stayed away, sometimes I sing as I walk around capitol hill, which is crawling with wolves, and I even live in the basement of a house that we often refer to as my cave.  Yet through it all my mom has always been there and always loved me. 

So here's to my fantastic mom. I don't know what I would do without her. Love you, MK!

Also, if you have a daughter who likes to spend time in the woods and thinks she's Pocahontas, I highly recommend getting her "Mama, Do You Love Me?"