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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life Lessons from Rosie

This post is a long-neglected answer from the Q&A series in January and early February. Check it out here.

Janet asked, "what would you say you learned the most about life from your friend Rosie?"

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer this question, Janet. Grief is very personal to me... it's been difficult for me to open up about the recent losses in our lives, but I finally feel I'm at a place where I can share a few things. So here goes...

Rosie didn't just enjoy her children, she savored them, the way one would a fine wine. She loved everything about them, at all times, even those not-so-nice times. She embraced their temper tantrums, cherished their quirks and enjoyed every single stage of their development. That's not something I do easily. I think y'all can tell how much I adore my little Tongginator, but I think y'all can also tell I use humor to get me through most of motherhood.

Not so my friend Rosie.

She adored her children, I think partly because she became a momma so late in life, but also because she and Ring struggled to become pregnant and then experienced such an incredibly stressful time after the twins' birth. (For those of you who don't know, Pocket and Posies were born as micro-preemies at 25 weeks, each weighing less than two pounds.) Sometimes I feel like I'm always looking forward to the Tongginator's next stage. Sometimes I forget to live in the moment. Sometimes I just get plain irritated with where we are.

Not so my friend Rosie.

I never once saw her lose her temper with her children. Sometimes she might share an exasperated sigh, but her patience seemed limitless. And she loved everything they did. My favorite memory of Rosie and I together involved my organizational skills and her intense love for her children. It came about because Rosie didn't throw away any of their artwork.

And when I say any of it, I mean any of it.

Her basement stored boxes and boxes of papers, many containing one single squiggly line across the center. Rosie knew she needed help, but she didn't know where to start. Each piece of paper, each creation, held so much value, she just couldn't bear to part with it. Once she asked for my assistance, I became ruthless. I devised a system whereupon I placed about 20 creations on the ground in a collage, stood on a chair to take a digital picture of it, then forced her to select only one or two to keep "for real." Everything else went in the trash.

Once we collected about 20 of THOSE creations, I made her narrow it down even further, allowing her to select five or six while I, with my teacher's eye, selected a few additional creations. We kept at it for hours, which tells you how much she originally saved. I think we reduced the pile by about 90%, still leaving about 25 or so creations for each twin for each year of life.

Which is still over 100 pieces of art per child.

I'm just not that kind of momma. I DO keep some of the Tongginator's more memorable creations (so far it's averaged to about 20 a year), but most everything ends up in the trash can circular filing cabinet. I don't cherish motherhood in the same way as did Rosie. I doubt I ever will, but she definitely acted as a role model for me. Others might whisper that perhaps she was too permissive with her children, but I think Rosie knew better than all of us. She only had six short years with them.

I'm glad it was six years filled with "too much love" rather than too much discipline.

19 comments:

Jill said...

Rosie sounds like she was an INCREDIBLE woman. Someone we could all take some life lessons from. How blessed you were to have Rosie in your life!
Hugs, Jill

Wade's World said...

What a special woman!!

Tonggu Grammy said...

You captured her, Honey!

Misty said...

ahhh, i'm teary this morning. i know the grief you feel won't ever go away. i love the love you have for your friend and her family. hugs this morning.

planetnomad said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman!

jen@odbt said...

We could all take a page from Rosie's book. What a remarkable friend, woman and mother.

Wanda said...

I second what jen just said. What a legacy your friend left.

(I know somthing abut grief - I lost my twin sister just over a year ago - still hard, always will be.)

Hugs,
Wanda

Aunt LoLo said...

What great lessons...and something I need to work on.

@ Wanda - Your comment made me cry. I don't want to imagine life without my twin sister. God bless you.

Sharie said...

Couldn't we all be a little more Rosie:)

laura said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!

prechrswife said...

Just precious.

Mamatini said...

Your last line is such a good reminder for all of us. How blessed you were/are to have such a light in your life.

Janet said...

Good answer. Rosie sound like a wonderful lady.

Beck said...

Lovely post. She sounds like she was a unique, wonderful person.

mommy24treasures said...

oh my Rosie sounds like such a lovely soul. I am so glad she enjoyed and savored life each day.
thank you for sharing.

The Gypsy Mama said...

" she didn't just enjoy her children, she savored them"

- what a remarkable testimonial. If I could be remembered for some part of my parenting, my hope would it would be something like that.

You have given a beautiful tribute to her and her children here. I hope they get a copy of it to keep with their collection of pieces that will make up the collage they have of their mother one day.

Dita said...

You know, TM, when I read your posts each day I am constantly amazed at your ability to draw me in to 'know' all these wonderful people who have touched your life (and the not so wonderful ones as well...sometimes I really love hearing about them).

You have an incredible gift and I am so glad that I have the chance to see life through your eyes when I come here.

I have solved the artwork/ schoolwork problem. I take a photo of each of the items and then I download them into the computer marked "Fourth Grade", etc. and voila...there they live in .jpg until I one day make a nice Shutterfly book entitles..."All that Junk I Did in School that My Mother Saved"

Then I discreetly hide the acutal pieces in the circular file that often travels out to the marshes.

Hugs,
Dita

Heather of the EO said...

This is such a beautiful post. You really appreciated her and you really SAW her for all the wonderful things she was. I'm sure she knew that. Everyone wants to be truly gotten. And you so obviously totally got her. Writing this will always mean so much to you and to her family, her twins when they one day get to savor these words like they themselves were savored.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

What a wonderful woman......it sounds like she was one in a million!!

Man...the artwork and creations can just take over....it is a little overwhelming. I really try to keep it down to about 20-30 per year as well and the rest go.....I just cannot hold onto it. I like the digital photo idea.....thanks for the tip!!

Lisa