Today is July 9th. Eighty-one years ago my mom, Wilma Leigh Prophitt, was born. She was the oldest daughter and third child of seven living siblings. My grandmother used to tell me that even as a child my mom was strong willed. Somethings never change. My father and I both learned a fast life lesson in that whatever made my mom happy....made us all happy. When I was a child she would take us to the beach, play board games with us, handle the local boys green snakes without flinching, take us on learning trips (the planetarium, the zoo, the science museum)...life was always a learning experience...and we learned. She did not just take my brother and I....she took any child that wanted to go...and would pay their way if they could not afford it. My mom taught 3-4 year old Sunday School at First United Methodist Church, where WE attended regularly. You will notice I made the we bold and you are probably wondering why....well...my parents did not just drop me off at church...they took me....and they were actively involved in my religious upbringing. My mom was a Brownie mother. My mom volunteered at Belvedere Elementary where I went....my mom was a see all, know all, do all. My dad worked....my mom was a SAHM....my dad always had to do the electrical stuff at Belvedere for the Halloween Carnival....even after I left Belvedere...they would call him....it was his favorite story to tell. Then...one day when I was in the third grade...my world changed drastically. My brother died....and my mom secluded herself into her own world....and only glimpses of the original Wilma were seen. She had great people skills...so to the rest of the world...she seemed fine. She quit teaching Sunday School....but she went to one. She stopped taking us on the little educational trips....but she still was involved....sort of....in my life. Conniston Junior High was my next school and she was involved there....PTA, etc....but it was different...she did take us to the beach here. Forest Hill High School was the last stop of my educational career....and she was even less involved there....no PTA membership here....but...she emerged somewhat from her self-made cacoon. I sang with New Dawn at the time and we toured one summer....she and my dad surprised me at one of the concerts in another town. My childhood was not bad....I just never understood my mom....and felt I never measured up to what she wanted. My parents moved to Alabama after I married....and all of a sudden....my mom appeared to me one day....she asked me if she could take my kids....and all the neighborhood kids to the planetarium? I was delighted. I was a SAHM in college at the time....and my mom was keeping my three kids for me two days a week. She took my kids to see all the covered bridges in Alabama, she made perserves with them (something she never taught me how to do), she taught them to sew, to candlewick...she was AWESOME MOM once again....only now...she was AWESOME GRANNY! My kids thought the sun and moon hung in her....and I would find myself looking at all of them very confused. In January of 2005 my dad became sick...and they moved in with us for a short period of time....my mom was working at the time and the doctor did not want my dad left alone. That short period of time turned into nearly 5 years....one thing after another went wrong...and my dad eventually died in October of 2009. My mom's world changed drastically ...from the time in January 2008 when my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer....she did the same thing she did when my brother died...she pulled out the cards...and played solitaire.....all the time. I hate that game. Everytime I would see those cards...I knew...something was bad. This time things were different even more so....this time...she played cards because she had dementia. When my dad died....my mom was placed in a dementia unit....and has been there ever since. My cousins, Cindy, Amanda, Linda, and my Godmother Francis are the only familiars that visit her. But....today....Frank and I will go to Adams and celebrate her birthday with her....we will be the only ones who do(Kat wished her Happy Birthday yesterday). Being an only child stinks. But remember....I told you earlier...she was one of seven children? Well...two of those families...one brother...and one sister-in-law still live in town....she visited them when she was well.....they never visit her. Sigh....that is another post for another day. She will know who we are....maybe. She won't remember that we came....unless I sign her visitors pad she keeps....she will sing with me.....she will hug and kiss us when we get there and when we leave. Dementia is a terrible thing...it is a waste of such good minds. If you have a momma, granny, special woman in your life....call them today and tell them how much you love them. You may wake up one morning.....and not have one. Happy Birthday Momma....We love you!
PS....I stand amazed...will wonders never cease...my uncle came to see her today. He didn't come to see just her...he now has a high school friend there...he went to see him....she was an afterthought...but hey...he went to see her....and sang Happy Birthday to her. She was thrilled when I got in there. Her day was a good one....she knew him....and knew me. Sometimes you just have to settle for winning the small battles.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.