How She Is Beautiful

There had been roses and a hound dog, a tire swing, a rattlesnake, and a new baby in recent memories. I sat with Barbie dolls and crayons, and you walked out smiling, my widow’s-peak beautiful Mama in your wedding dress. You leaned on the door frame with a told-you-so face, trying it on for Daddy.

Every night when I tuck Jude into bed, he tells me I’m beautiful, and I know he means it, because I remember that intense longing for my beautiful Mother. He tells me every single night, though I walk around like a water balloon carrying my 4th prodding child.

You did that, too – ballooned 4 times, your stretched out thigh skin, a prophetess for the shape of my own legs. I remember peppermint sticks and you growing in a sweatshirt, the rustled leaves, and the crescendo of woods. I remember muddy pond feet and the bologna cut into heart shapes.

Spring came with a baby, and I ripped my head open on the concrete in the hospital parking lot. I kissed you when you came home, and you smelled like sweet milk.

A summer after that, you were wearing the yellow trapeze dress again, full to the brim with surprise baby, the one that came out like a Sumo. You leaned against the door frame, back of your hand to forehead, and you posed for the photograph, all of us shot through with side-glanced emerald eyes.

At some point when I was still small, I remember being at grandmother’s, the television loud. We prowled in the front room, you and I alone and quiet. I’m sure you had to move something to sit at the piano. Your fingers touched the keys, and out came such sadness, the first time I ever heard Fur Elise or had even thought about the music that might come of you.

Something in me wonders now if I didn’t somehow understand in that moment that life started way before my own memories, that darkness had the potential to swallow, and that you chose to be our Mama and to love our daddy.

So much ugly was lost on you, Mama. It’s almost Mother’s Day, and I want you to know that I hope to be like you, how beautiful you are.


  1. Such a sweet Mama’s Day post.

  2. Brought me to tears. Such a tribute to your mama. I love the way you see the world and the stories you tell about it.

    • Well, Elizabeth, it’s funny because it makes me cry, too. Being mother made me see her differently, but pregnant again this time around has changed my perspective again. Having 4 children so quickly and working so hard to keep baggage to a minimum, I see how hard she was working now.

      Thank you for always encouraging.

  3. courtney says:

    I’m remembering the last time I hung out with my mama. I was a sophomore in college and we sat on the bed eating chips and salsa and watching TLC. She explained how much she loved me even before the doctors placed me in her arms; she explained how her whole world changed with me. I believed her then. I miss my momma so much! And I want to honor and bless all the mother’s and motherless daughters out there. You are loved.

  4. Beautiful. Your way with words bring tears!
    Alana recently posted..Balance

  5. I would kill to be able to give my mom a gift like this. You are wise and gifted and I so enjoy your writing.
    Melissa@one thing recently posted..Tipping Point

  6. I love reading your posts for the same reason I love to watch movies… they take me to another world. I am with Elizabeth, “I love the way you see your world and the stories you tell about it.”

  7. What a precious gift to your mom. I’m inspired!
    Shannon Wheeler recently posted..How to Live a Story Worth Telling

  8. Beautiful Amber.
    Really touching and sweet.
    Being a mom certainly does change the way we see our own mothers.
    Happy Mother’s Day!
    Danelle Townsend recently posted..Allowed

  9. Oh, Amber. This is stunning. What a beautiful, momentous way to honor your Mama!

    And? You are a hundred kinds of beautiful. Like, totally. :)

  10. Jennifer Ensor says:

    This is so beautiful. It made me cry. You know how hard that can be. Thank you for this. I love you friend.

  11. You have a beautiful, image-creating way with words.
    Thank you.

  12. AMBER, came over from Ann (sweet mama who ballooned 6 times and always has God’s breath on her lips.)

    Love the descriptions: The yellow trapeze dress, “muddy pond feet”.

    I too, remember my wonderful mother and her playing piano whenever she had stress, (she played to sooth her own soul & drown out us 5 bickering siblings, yet we’d stop to hear the hymns. )

    Blessed Mommy’s day! You are blessed indeed!

  13. Beautiful. Just beautiful. What a blessing you are to your mamma and to your own babies.
    kris c recently posted..Weekend Wanderings Mothers Day Edition

  14. I just stole a moment the other day, in the middle of a long mommying morning, at the piano with my daughter Grace . I played for her the beginning of that same haunting, melancholy song, and her eyes were open in wonder. Thanks for helping me to see what she is absorbing from all these moments… I want to be the mommy for her that I did not have for myself.
    Wife Mother Gardener recently posted..Happy Mommys Day!

  15. wow. ohhhhhh wow. that is lovely. what a vivid and lovely memory~

  16. Oh, I love this. Thank you, sweet sister.
    Dawn Camp recently posted..A Practically Perfect Mother’s Day

  17. “Something in me wonders now if I didn’t somehow understand in that moment that life started way before my own memories, that darkness had the potential to swallow, and that you chose to be our Mama and to love our daddy.”

    What a testimony. What a moment… Why am I crying?
    Kelly Sauer recently posted..The Processing


  1. […] of art: Becky makes it in her kitchen; Christian with the swing of a bat; Hayden with poetry; Amber with prose; Ann with a word of encouragement when she shares struggles and imperfection (and never […]

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