How She Is Beautiful

There had been roses and a hound dog, a tire swing, a rattlesnake, and a new baby in recent memories. I sat with Barbie dolls and crayons, and you walked out smiling, my widow’s-peak beautiful Mama in your wedding dress. You leaned on the door frame with a told-you-so face, trying it on for Daddy.

Every night when I tuck Jude into bed, he tells me I’m beautiful, and I know he means it, because I remember that intense longing for my beautiful Mother. He tells me every single night, though I walk around like a water balloon carrying my 4th prodding child.

You did that, too – ballooned 4 times, your stretched out thigh skin, a prophetess for the shape of my own legs. I remember peppermint sticks and you growing in a sweatshirt, the rustled leaves, and the crescendo of woods. I remember muddy pond feet and the bologna cut into heart shapes.

Spring came with a baby, and I ripped my head open on the concrete in the hospital parking lot. I kissed you when you came home, and you smelled like sweet milk.

A summer after that, you were wearing the yellow trapeze dress again, full to the brim with surprise baby, the one that came out like a Sumo. You leaned against the door frame, back of your hand to forehead, and you posed for the photograph, all of us shot through with side-glanced emerald eyes.

At some point when I was still small, I remember being at grandmother’s, the television loud. We prowled in the front room, you and I alone and quiet. I’m sure you had to move something to sit at the piano. Your fingers touched the keys, and out came such sadness, the first time I ever heard Fur Elise or had even thought about the music that might come of you.

Something in me wonders now if I didn’t somehow understand in that moment that life started way before my own memories, that darkness had the potential to swallow, and that you chose to be our Mama and to love our daddy.

So much ugly was lost on you, Mama. It’s almost Mother’s Day, and I want you to know that I hope to be like you, how beautiful you are.

About me


What I Knew In My Dying Day: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Tara Owens
August 19, 2015
Condemnation on the Molehill
June 08, 2015
Tools for the Highly Sensitive Mother: An Introduction
April 27, 2015
The Uncouth: The Hormonal
May 12, 2014
What Mothers Me
April 01, 2014
Learning How to Eat (and a giveaway of Mom in the Mirror)
May 20, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Motherhood and Anti-Depression
February 08, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: On the Trail
January 25, 2013


Southern Gal
Reply May 5, 2011

Such a sweet Mama's Day post.

Elizabeth @claritychaos
Reply May 5, 2011

Brought me to tears. Such a tribute to your mama. I love the way you see the world and the stories you tell about it.

    Reply May 5, 2011

    Well, Elizabeth, it's funny because it makes me cry, too. Being mother made me see her differently, but pregnant again this time around has changed my perspective again. Having 4 children so quickly and working so hard to keep baggage to a minimum, I see how hard she was working now.

    Thank you for always encouraging.

Reply May 5, 2011

I'm remembering the last time I hung out with my mama. I was a sophomore in college and we sat on the bed eating chips and salsa and watching TLC. She explained how much she loved me even before the doctors placed me in her arms; she explained how her whole world changed with me. I believed her then. I miss my momma so much! And I want to honor and bless all the mother's and motherless daughters out there. You are loved.

Reply May 5, 2011

Beautiful. Your way with words bring tears!

Melissa@one thing
Reply May 5, 2011

I would kill to be able to give my mom a gift like this. You are wise and gifted and I so enjoy your writing.

Reply May 5, 2011

I love reading your posts for the same reason I love to watch movies... they take me to another world. I am with Elizabeth, "I love the way you see your world and the stories you tell about it."

Shannon Wheeler
Reply May 6, 2011

What a precious gift to your mom. I'm inspired!

Danelle Townsend
Reply May 6, 2011

Beautiful Amber.
Really touching and sweet.
Being a mom certainly does change the way we see our own mothers.
Happy Mother's Day!

Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies
Reply May 7, 2011

Oh, Amber. This is stunning. What a beautiful, momentous way to honor your Mama!

And? You are a hundred kinds of beautiful. Like, totally. :)

Jennifer Ensor
Reply May 7, 2011

This is so beautiful. It made me cry. You know how hard that can be. Thank you for this. I love you friend.

Reply May 8, 2011

You have a beautiful, image-creating way with words.
Thank you.

Reply May 8, 2011

AMBER, came over from Ann (sweet mama who ballooned 6 times and always has God's breath on her lips.)

Love the descriptions: The yellow trapeze dress, "muddy pond feet".

I too, remember my wonderful mother and her playing piano whenever she had stress, (she played to sooth her own soul & drown out us 5 bickering siblings, yet we'd stop to hear the hymns. )

Blessed Mommy's day! You are blessed indeed!

kris c
Reply May 8, 2011

Beautiful. Just beautiful. What a blessing you are to your mamma and to your own babies.

Wife Mother Gardener
Reply May 8, 2011

I just stole a moment the other day, in the middle of a long mommying morning, at the piano with my daughter Grace . I played for her the beginning of that same haunting, melancholy song, and her eyes were open in wonder. Thanks for helping me to see what she is absorbing from all these moments... I want to be the mommy for her that I did not have for myself.

Reply May 8, 2011

wow. ohhhhhh wow. that is lovely. what a vivid and lovely memory~

Dawn Camp
Reply May 9, 2011

Oh, I love this. Thank you, sweet sister.

Kelly Sauer
Reply May 11, 2011

"Something in me wonders now if I didn’t somehow understand in that moment that life started way before my own memories, that darkness had the potential to swallow, and that you chose to be our Mama and to love our daddy."

What a testimony. What a moment... Why am I crying?

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