When I was five, my grandma Forkel passed away, which is my Dad's mother. My grandpa Forkel died when my Dad was only twelve, so I never met him. I'm certain that they have watched over my Mom's parents to make-up for not being able to see me grow up. My Mom's parents, Carolyn and Jim Phillips, have basically been my second set of parents. My Mom can attest to this because she knows Emmaline and I will tattle to Mamaw if she's getting into trouble. My mom is fifty-six and we aren't afraid to go to the boss of this whole operation.
My Mamaw, Carolyn Sue Phillips (Sanderson), was born in 1940, and she will be seventy-six this coming November. She was born the year after World War II started and Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. Also, according to Wikipedia, it's the same year the first McDonald's opened. So, my Mamaw is as original as McDonald's. She had my Mom when she was nineteen and then my uncle and finally my aunt.
I'm one of their group of grandkids and one great-grandchild and I have really been thinking about what having my Mamaw in my life has meant to me. I spent the night at their house and I would get up really early so I wouldn't miss anything. Every school program, sports game (in my case was not many), art show, graduation, or event I have seen my Mamaw in the audience. She pays attention and knows what is going on with all of us, even times when we don't say anything. She has always watched and paid attention to each of us, all the while making us feel special.
She has been through hell and back time after time. In the time I have been alive, she had cochlear implant surgery, defeated breast cancer, underwent chemo, recovered from a major motorcycle accident, and the loss of family members. Countless people face adversity and give-up but that has never been an option. The Lord sits on her shoulder, he has to, because she's the closest to being Jesus I have ever seen.
This Thursday, she goes to have surgery for the removal of colon cancer. She is loved by so many and I know many of us would rather take her place. I would give any of my limbs just to keep her from any kind of suffering. She is the strongest person I know and as she faces this new chapter, she will kick its ass the same way she has every other time before.
So, it really got me to thinking about what a wonderful life I have had because of her influence. If anyone deserves every blessing and gift this world has to offer, it is my Mamaw. My Aunt Linda told me once that it was impossible for me to fail. I asked her, "Why? People fail all the time. Who is to say I am any different?" She told me that I have too many strong women in my family to be any different. She was completely right. I have a female army of strong women around me.
We all get so busy in life but really it is the people we would do anything for that matter the most. I want to make my Mamaw proud because she makes me so proud. Everything I am I owe to my family and it wouldn't even be possible without Mamaw. She is the glue that keeps us together and she will continue to do so. I hope I can be half the person she is one day and I will give every last breath I have in trying.