Monday, July 30, 2012

Sentimental Moments

Special moment with my parents and maternal grandparents,
Papa and Mama Yount  (1977)

This evening I'm in Cincinnati, savoring a few hours with a woman who has been like a best friend to me for all 36 years of my life.  Her back porch is one of her favorite places, and I'm hanging out there watching my girls let off some steam in the back yard for awhile. 

As I sit here and reflect, I can't help but have my mind flooded with thoughts of my Mama Yount.  Her unconditional love, constant concern, and genuine kindheartedness make her one in a million, in my book. Although my grandfather passed away at the age of 56 from a very rare blood disease, she has kept his memory alive for the rest of us, and I can feel the love and respect that she continues to have for the man he was...33 years later. 

I remember the trips that I took with her as a child.  One of my favorites was when she and her sisters cooked breakfast for my cousin, Andrea, and I on a charcoal grill near the Nolin River in Kentucky.  It was 5-star cookin', let me tell ya!  Mmmm!  :-)  I was able to ride along on several of her trips back "home" to Evansville, IN, and those are some of my earliest chilhood memories that I will forever have in my heart.

She took me on my first city bus ride.  I was probably 8, and we went from her house in Hyde Park down to the beautiful Riverfront Stadium.  After we finished walking around the downtown for awhile, we rode the bus back home.  Nothing huge, but it was just another one of mama's efforts to make my visits fun.

Her house was my favorite place on earth. 

It seemed to be the biggest place I had ever seen, and when I visited again just a few years ago (I explained to the current owners who I was and they offered my sister and I a tour), it didn't seem to be any smaller.  With three stories plus a full basement, who wouldn't feel like they were in a castle?  And we always wondered what lurked behind the little door in the wall of the third floor.  Probably just attic space, but little girls can have great imaginations, right?  :-)  All of us cousins loved putting on our yearly Christmas drama on the lower landing of the dramatic staircase, playing ping pong in the basement, helping make biscuits in the kitchen, opening Christmas gifts in the living room, and yes, even spying on the Catholic priest who lived across the street. Usually did that from the bay style window on the second  If we were bored inside the house, we might get walk a couple of blocks to Hyde Park Square, where we could shop at Pier 1, get ice cream at Graeter's, or browse the children's section of the library.  If the timing was right, we could always go to mass across the street. I only did that a couple of times.  :-)

As the years passed, mama felt that she needed a different style of home, something easier to navigate.  She moved to a beautiful brick ranch in Amberley Village, and we made hundreds more memories there.  When I had my wisdom teeth cut out, she came to be beside me and change out my ice packs every twenty minutes.  As I enrolled in college in  Cincinnati, she gave me a job working under her in home health care.  That was a huge blessing to me all four years. When I chose a husband, she accepted and loved him.  Then we had children.  And she started the cycle all over again.  Now Kait and Alli love to help mama make biscuits.  Her house is one of their favorite places to go.  And they feel that same unconditional love, constant concern, and genuine kindheartedness.

But we're entering a different season.  Last week brought difficult news. The strong woman we know is fighting a physical battle that will be rough at best.  She has a large ovarian tumor that is likely cancerous.  Within the next couple of days she will be making the decision of whether to pursue surgery and treatment, or let nature run its course.  Her doctor has told her that physically she seems to be 20 years less than her actual age, and that is why surgery is an option.  Although none of us wants to have to see her face these difficult decisions, they are here.   If you think about it, please pray for her to have clarity in the face of this. 

In the meantime, I'm going to get back to savoring the moments and making some more memories.

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