My DNA is ancient. The bits and pieces that formed in my mother's womb were formed in her mother's and her mother's. The mitochondria is passed unchanged from mother to daughter and has been so since the dawn of humanity.
This morning, I reflect on motherhood and what that means in my life. I think of Jerusha who traveled dusty trails to reach Indiana in the early 1800s, losing her husband to an early death along the journey. And I wonder about Adeline Mosher and Alice Gunter, Jerusha's daughter and granddaughter. What were their lives like in the early days of our country? Farm wives who struggled, carrying the joys and sorrows of raising their families, sometimes burying their children before their parents, and survived. I remember fondly my grandma Edith Munson and the the beautiful Christmas treasures she baked. Sylvia Hasty died too young. My mother was a rock for her family. Her death left a hole in our souls that we still are working to fill.
I carry on their memories and their genes, and because of their lives, I live mine forwarding those bits and pieces of DNA on into the future through Stephanie Herrick and her daughter Kylie Rios. At nine, Kylie has no thought of the history coursing through her veins. But she will.
Today, I offer a poem of gratitude to my mother, and her mother, and her mother -- and to all the daughters who will be.
Gladioli growing beside the stable door.
Mother on her knees clawing loam, searching for bulbs.
Separating, digging, replanting. Her connection with the earth.
Solid values embedded in fertile soil.
The ethos of the Heartland – God, country, family, fulfilling promises made.
My heart swells with gratitude for that great woman, on her knees nurturing seeds sown by God.