Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Giver

I touched on the fact that my mother is such a huge giver in an earlier post, but because this is and has been such an ever present trait of hers, I felt the need to expand on it.

For as long as I can remember, mother has had a heart as big as Texas for someone who was down on their luck or maybe didn't have as much as she thought they should, especially when it came to her children.

When I first got married, my husband and I lived away at college. Had it not been for my parents and my husband's parents, we probably would have starved. As time went on and grandchildren entered the picture, there was never a time when mother wasn't giving our kids all the things that mother thought they were missing out on. Not only my children, but all her children. From food, to clothes, to any and everything that she and my dad could possibly afford to do for us, they would.

Now, when it comes to money, mother is pretty well spot on. Last week, my niece Shelly came down to help out with errands and the like. I had asked her to take mother to the bank. As they pulled through the drive thru, my niece noticed that she didn't recognize the bank teller. As she requested her banking needs, the teller asked for mother's identification. Being that mother has had to relinquish basically all forms of ID, Shelly was fearful that she didn't have anything. Mother began to dig through her pocketbook, unsure as to just what she was looking for. When the teller left to go up front, mother began to follow her usual routine and started showing her strife about the situation. Mother shouted out that she ought to come in there and kick their butt, it was her money and she ought to be able to get it when she wanted it. Finally, mother was able to locate her drivers license, even though she isn't allowed to drive anymore. As the teller returned, she eagerly informed them to never mind the ID, and that everything was in order. Shelly mentioned later that she was curious as to whether the microphone at the window had been left on the whole time and the entire bank was able to hear Mema's rantings. As they exited the drive thru, I'm sure Shelly was glad she lived some 60 miles away.

When my dad died and mother remarried, she and her late husband Yates would come into town when their checks arrived each month to deposit or get them cashed. My workplace, which is a Baptist Association, is right in town and they had a habit of stopping by from time to time. On many occasions, mother would stop in and see if there was a need at the office for a one hundred dollar bill. Often there was and we would give it to wherever it was needed most. Over time, mother gave to various causes. Once I had commented to her that my computer would soon need replacing at work. Since we are a nonprofit organization and Christ affiliated, she donated the money for a new computer and all the trimmings.

Not long ago, mother sold a number of cows. Well, my mother has always been a giver to the Lord as well as to others. I had come down to her house the Sunday morning after she had received her check for the cattle sale. As I was leaving to go to church, she told me to wait a minute. She wanted to know if she had tithed her cattle check. Because I was running late that morning, I told her we'd do it another day. She said in a motherly tone, "You're not trying to make me cheat the Lord are you?"

Since my niece Shelly was down, I asked her to take mother for her dentist appointment and she agreed. Now the last time mother went to the dentist a few months back, that visit like most was no fun. Mother worked just up the street from her dentist office back in the day and everyone in there knew her very well, unbeknownst to me. As we entered, the receptionist looked like she might have been there for years and years. She greeted mother very friendly. Mother didn't seem to know her, so I didn't think anymore about it. Mother was called back, and as I sat there tied in a knot that mother would be blurting out some unwarranted opinions about her having to come to the dentist, I stepped over to the lady at the desk and whispered that mother had dementia. She began to tell me that she had known mother for many years as she just worked a few doors up the street. My heart dropped a little even though I should have seen that one coming. When mother finished her appointment up, I wrote a check for her visit and made the big mistake of telling her how much it was. As we were leaving the office, you could hear mother voicing her right as a patron all the way to her car. Today, Shelly would have to endure this insanity. One piece of advice I gave to her was to be sure and not let mother know the cost of her visit. Even if it meant lying.

I'm not sure why mother has retained a lot of her money wisdom, but I'm just thankful a part of her still remains.

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