Mother’s spirit hovered around me all day.
Goldie Leona Banks Brooks was no shrinking violet. Or pansy. She was more like the lantana and verbena that bloom in Texas most of the year. I doubt she’d delight in this comparison, but hear me out.
First, these hardy plants thrive in heat and drought and aren’t fussy about the soil. They add bold color to the garden and require zero tending. They’re dependable and determined, and they find a place to bloom, invited or not. They don’t give off fancy fragrances, but they don’t apologize either.
Mother’s favorite flower was the rose (with the orchid coming in a close second). I think she admired their delicacy, and I know she loved the scent of the rose. It’s a good thing she was neither a rose nor an orchid, fragile and fussy about her surroundings. She wouldn’t have managed as a Great Depression farm wife otherwise. Nor would she have survived twenty-five trying years of widowhood, holding onto the home and farm land she and Daddy worked so hard to acquire.
January 17th appears on the calendar each year, and I return to memories of growing up as Goldie’s girl. She had always wanted a daughter, but by 1941 she had given birth to three boys and buried one. So when in 1946 her doctor confirmed she was expecting another child, all she could think were girl thoughts.
Thereafter, she made a pest of herself among church friends, asking them to pray for Goldie to have a girl. (Truthfully, they learned to run the other way when they saw her coming. 🙂 She threaded her days with incessant prayers of her own. Please give me a girl. Please give me a girl.
But in time she convinced herself it was better to build a wall of defense around her heart than to leave it exposed to disappointment. She entered the clinic to deliver her fourth child on the 5th day of September, telling herself she and Wilson were destined for a household of boys. (Would she have traded either of her precious boys for a girl? Never!) (Tweet That!)
“What’re you crying about, Goldie?”
“Another boy.” Sniff, sniff.
“No. It’s a girl.”
“Stop teasing me.” Blub. Blub.
“Goldie, we have a girl.”
The doctor entered the room. “You did it, Goldie. You got your girl.”
Wiping her face with the hem of a sheet, Mother sat up …
And the rest is … Well, it’s proverbial history packed with mother love and gratitude. And a lesson learned: Pray and expect a miracle.
Later, the preacher wrote to friends who had moved away: Praise the Lord! Wilson and Goldie have a girl! Little did anyone know at the time, but eleven years later, Goldie was to have another baby–a boy again, but–oh–how great was the rejoicing.
Indeed, Mother was like our Texas lantana and verbena. Strong. Stubborn. Self-sufficient. At times, overly so. She asked no one to wait on her or tend her. But on this, the day after her 98th birthday, how I wish I could.
Lord, how weak is our faith. We often pray, doubting.
Help us to pray, trusting. For Jesus’ sake.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.