Mama sits in her clean dress, her hair still damp from washing. I clip her toenails and file them down. She’s not too happy about this, but she is much calmer than she was about her bath. During her bath she kept shouting and swearing and wanting her mama.
But now she says, “I want to go home and see my children.”
I perk up, surprised. She never mentions her children. She doesn’t seem to remember she has them anymore.
“Do you know the names of your children?”
Mom looks thoughtful but says, “No.”
“Ricky and Sherry?” I offer, suggesting the names of her two oldest in case they may still be in her long-term memory.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Delbert? Ira Lee?” I mention two of her brothers; in case these are the “children” she misses.
None of the names spark a memory for her, so I let it go. Yet I’m intrigued that she said she wanted to see her children. And I remember again how precious it is to be a mama’s child. How dear it is to be known and loved and fretted over and prayed over and scolded by and even pestered with a mama’s love.
And I’m so grateful I still have my dad knowing me and loving me. But I think of all the mama love that was lavished on me through the years and how I took it for granted and even scorned it sometimes. And my face is wet with tears and shame and regret.
So now it’s my turn to lavish love on my mama, even though she fights me and shouts and doesn’t understand that washing her and dressing her and brushing her hair are acts of love. And I hold her hand and talk of life and sing to her, though she doesn’t know my name or me.
But someday Jesus will restore all things. And then Mama will look at me, and the knowing light will come in her eyes. And then she will see that I am her child, her only daughter. And she will know that she is my mom. And the mama’s love will be back again. Forever.