We Are Pieces, Wholly

Yesterday, I was talking with some friends and we remarked on how we try to emulate certain women. We talked about how as teenagers we would go through entire phases trying to be exactly like someone else because we honestly didn’t know who we were. Of course we all come out of those phases with a few bits of that person attached to us. As we merrily roll along, we continue to pick up bits and pieces.
It was Tennyson who once said, “I am a part of all I have met.”

After my friends left, I pulled out some paper and made a list of the women I try to be like. I don’t try to be exactly like them (thank goodness for growing out of 16), but I pull from the best parts of them.
At the top of my list is my sainted mother who I can’t help but emulate on account of the fact that -first of all -I look like her.
In the past month, I’ve heard more people tell me how much I look like my mother than I have in my entire life.

What do I try to pull from my mother? Her ability to do things -all things -neatly. I can’t seem to pull it off like she does, but I try. I clean my trash can every other week because I’d hate for her to see gunk in the bottom of it. My microwave gets a weekly deep cleaning because I shudder at the thought of mom seeing tomato and butter splashed and caked onto the white insides.

She prays every night with her door open where her children can see her.

She listens, really listens. I genuinely believe that when I’m with her I’m undoubtedly the most interesting person in the world. What’s more: she never tries to fix me. I wonder how much a million other children would pay to spend an hour with a mother who refrained from fixing them. My children would love that above anything -this I know. But at this point, my “fixing” simply involves getting pants on front-wards and shoes on the right feet… SOCKS included.

She MAKES the holidays. From decorations to gingerbread houses, she brought the spirit of every holiday into our home. And isn’t that what really makes HOME for us?

Her list is the longest -the most detailed. Following her is my grandmothers -both blessed women are still living, and I’ll be DANGED if I don’t pick their tired brains for all they are worth.
How do you can peaches, Grandma?
How do you quell morning sickness, Granny?
Show me how to be a lady. Show me how to laugh. No matter how old I get, see me as the little granddaughter who can do everything she puts her mind to the very best you’ve ever seen it done (foot rubs and messy cooking experiments included).

I study the lives of my great-grandmother and learn more about myself between the pages of her journal than I do through the pages of my own.

I watch my aunts around me -the way they live, the way the interact with those around them, the way they overcome what’s placed before them. I’ve watched them turn a conversation away from gossip effortlessly. I’ve watched them run households, serve, follow promptings, and care.

I TAKE from that, even if they don’t know they’re giving, I TAKE.
I hope reading this doesn’t give the women in my life the feeling that I’m hunkering behind the front bushes in their yards, chanting…
Every breath you take
Every move you make…
I’ll be watching you.

I don’t stop with family. Why should I when there’s so much good to TAKE TAKE TAKE from the ENTIRE WORLD -YEA EVEN the ENTIRE HISTORY of the WORLD?!

I reach out and try to touch the wit of Dorothy Parker but leave behind most of her attitude.
I want to write like Norah Ephron, but I don’t want her life.
I want to love, laugh, live, and reach out exactly like Marjorie Pay Hinckley.
I want to have the courage of Esther to tell my Father in Heaven that YES I WILL do WHATEVER YOU SAY even if what you say is “Go forth and obtain the donations of the world.”

I delve into fiction and my heart thumps wildly as I read about Jo March of “Little Women.” I want her wild spirit -her imagination.
My heart sings happiness as I watch “Thoroughly Modern Millie” for the millionth time. I want Millie’s bright attitude -her optimistic view of humanity. Her spunk! The easiness about her that simply attract friendship… even her flaws are downright attractive.

I want to have the grace of Julie Andrews.
I want Loretta Lynn’s spit-fire.

BUT MOST OF ALL: I want it my own way… unfortunately, in order to make Julie Andrew’s grace my own, I may have to nix it entirely. Grace has never found a home with me, and I’ve got the scars, broken nails, bumped head, twisted tongue, twisted ankle, and clumsy legs to prove it. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop trying by any means.

Is this list complete? No it is not. It’s constantly building. The more I live life -the more women I meet -the more stories I hear… my list grows and grows and grows.

There’s inspiration fairly woven into the air of the earth… and I’m constantly inhaling. We all are.

Who is on your list? Be they fiction or fact, living or alive in you, cinematic or scriptoric… who are they?
Yes, I just made “scriptoric” up. It means “of or having to do with scriptures.”

Please excuse the lack of pictures in today’s post. It deserves pictures. A better woman would ADD pictures, but an even better woman would know the value between getting pictures put by names on a blog post OR getting a shower.

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