Each summer my mother sent me away to live with my Southern grandmother. Mimi loved Jesus, lemon pound cake, old fashioned roses, and afternoon tea. As she hummed "In the Garden," she brewed a pot of tea, then made vignettes for us with china and fresh flowers. She also created a world, a little pocket of calmness, a place for a young girl to gather strength.
While we drank tea, she cut me a huge slice of lemon-apricot cake and told me about her sisters, her mama, and grandmama. Mimi brought history to life. I saw a white farmhouse, red dirt, spotted dogs, chippy rocking chairs, strong women in floral aprons. I saw Ma Brabham making soap in the big kettle, the Mississippi sun beating through the pines. I saw Mimi walking with my mother down the long dirt road to the mailbox (a queen bee was due to arrive in a box for the hive). I saw weathered hands pulling weeds and heard the snap of a hydrangea stem.
Mimi had a way of seeing into my soul. I was an indecisive child, unwilling to make choices. Me, I was the holdup in the line at Morrison's Cafeteria, dithering over chocolate cake or coconut cream pie. All these decades later, I am still a waffler. I over-think. I will yank up a fragile idea before it has time to take root. Even now, I know that my old style of blogging (all over the place) is rubbing up against a new style, one that I cannot name. No wonder I can't commit. It's easier to ruminate.
Mimi knew this about me.
"It's scary to change," she'd say.
I didn't want to be afraid, and she knew that, too.
"You can be fearful and still be brave," she said. "One doesn't exclude the other. You need both in this life."
She also reminded me that not making a decision is a decision.
"Just figure out what you want," Mimi said. "Figure out what you don't want. Then decide. And that's when the magic happens."
Mimi's lessons are still with me, and that means she is with me, too.
She was right there, cheering me on when I decided to tackle Wordpress. And she was right there when I signed up for a photography class. She was right there to help when Lightroom kicked me to the curb.
She is there when I sip Earl Grey or walk through a garden. When I'm scared I remind myself to be brave. And no matter what, I am never alone.