26 December 2008

Mary Nell Gubser * July 1930-Dec. 2008

the eight Gubser kids
my mommy is 3rd from the left

My maternal grandmother passed away just before midnight yesterday (December 25). The old girl held on for one more Christmas.

While standing in her room at her nursing home on Christmas Eve, I was struck with how ironic the word 'mom' is.


Such a small, tiny word for such a big, profound job.

My grandma embodied that small word. And in her small, sick, frail, 95 lb. frame, lying there in that big bed, surrounded by her legacy, I thought about what an immense woman she was. One that took on the biggest job you can have in this life on earth. And she did it with fervor.

Being a mom.

That small, tiny word.

Not only did she do it in a big way in a literal sense; she had 1 terrific husband, 6 daughters and 2 sons, 17 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 1 on-the-way, any day.

But she did it big non-literally, too. She devoted herself completely to her family.

Sure, she made mistakes along the way; stepped on toes, hurt feelings, maybe she hollered too much. But she produced 8 pretty darn, good people, if I do say so myself. Heck, raising one that turns out alright is a challenge, but 8?!

Now that I am a mother, I understand and empathize with some of the mistakes I am sure she made along the way. I get it, that sometimes what you think is such an inconsequential decision or action, can deeply affect your child for their whole life. Every choice we make as mothers can leave a profound mark on their little minds. It is truly a balancing act, and it is our children's tender souls that hang in the balance.

Sweet Mary Nell must have been one of those tightrope walkers that can juggle daggers while teetering on the line because what she left behind is pure magic.

We are all less than perfect, to be sure. It's not always grins and giggles, wine and roses, best friends forever. But we love and laugh and dance and sing and joke and cry and mourn.


The one thing that meant the most to her; that she devoted her life to, that she tried to give her best to, even if on some days, it just wasn't good enough; was the one thing that was her masterpiece.

Her family.

And I am so grateful to be a part of what she started, and only hope that my continuation of the chain ends as beautifully as it began.

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