Darkness is falling at the close of this Christmas day, while snowflakes are slowly floating downward upon ground that is already white. It has been a lovely day, a day to satisfy all those wishing for a white Christmas. It was raining at breakfast time, the ground was soft and soggy, and it looked as if the weatherman had missed the mark. However, the rain turned to a fine, misty snow, gradually forming into big, fluffy flakes that transformed the bare ground into a white landscape. As night overshadows the day, so this Christmas day is slipping into the shadows and is already a memory. It has been a good day, with five generations seated around the table feasting upon holiday food and enjoying the fellowship.
We received a wonderful gift on Christmas Eve. Our seventh great-grandchild, another little girl, was born to Miriam and Douglas Becker of Newark, Ohio. She weighed eight pounds and 14 ounces, and was named Kaitlyn Maria. She has the Bragg hands, inherited from her grandfather Kevin, whose own hands at birth were described as “leaf rakes.” She was due the 22nd, on Mom’s 88th birthday, and was named “Maria” after her.
It seems such a short time ago that her mother, Miriam Abigail, was born. It was on a cold January night that Kevin and I made the trip back home from the hospital, still astounded that we’d finally gotten a girl after so many grandsons. (Mike’s Christina was already born, but they lived in Louisiana and wasn’t part of the local tribe.)
As soon as Abigail was big enough to travel back and forth between our houses, she became my constant shadow. Early in the morning, when I wanted to relax a little while before beginning the day’s housework, she would appear. “Let’s go make the bed, Mommaw,” she would urge. “C’mon, let’s wash the dishes.” She made me get into my chores whether I was ready or not. One day she confided to me, “I want to grow up and be a “mommaw” just like you.” She completely skipped the “mommy” stage. She did take a pattern from me. Sometimes she would come down before I had time to pray, and would follow me upstairs while I had my morning devotions.
She would kneel silently beside me while I prayed, and I didn’t realize she was listening so intently until one day after I said “amen” she reminded me, “You didn’t pray for Mommaw and Poppaw Stone (her great-grandparents.) So I had to kneel back down and tack a “P. S.” on my prayer. She was a joy to have around. One day when we were washing my car, and she was flinging soapsuds vigorously all around, she told me, “I want to grow up and be nice and sloppy just like you!” She also kept me humble, remarking once, “I love you Mommaw, but you do spit when you talk!”
Her mother showed me a card that Abigail had in her billfold when she learned to print. On her vital statistics, there was a line for “My Best Friend.” Abigail had printed “Mommaw.” That was one of the best compliments I ever received. Naturally, after she reached her teenage years, she stopped trailing every step I made. I missed the little pig-tailed girl that she used to be. I missed her even more after she married and moved to Newark.
Time has made a circle once more and she has a little girl in her arms. I would like to see history repeat itself and have her grow up right across the driveway from me. I would like to have her dog my footsteps and “help” me with my housework. I would like to have her look at me with genuine devotion in her eyes, just as her mother used to do, and think I was the grandest Mommaw in the whole world.
December measures out her few remaining days and soon the New Year will begin. We live in a time of uncertainty, the world trembling on the brink of disaster. No one knows what the coming year will bring. It is human to worry especially those who have loved ones in the military. Yet we know that God has everything in His hands. How wonderful it is to have someone we can trust to go with us all the way. Whatever happens, we are safe in the Savior’s care. As Matthew states when he was at the brink of death, “Whether God takes me, or lets me stay, I’m a winner either way.”
Cousin Alyce Faye