Three stories from life after rebirth that remind Becca of how much she loves and is grateful for her momma. Shit gets real sappy. [Duration 09:24]
I love when I get the chance to bring together things that on the surface, are unrelated.
Today, I'm bringing together how traveling often reminds me of how much I love my Momma.
I'll be honest in saying, I cried a LOT while composing these. There is no one in the world quite like my mother, and having to articulate my feelings about her really brought a lot of the feels to the forefront.
Even though traveling is what I am destined for right now, I miss her a lot, and I hope that she enjoys the fuck out of today's piece.
I'm sharing three short stories here today. Here is the timeline breakdown:
Story 1: Literally all 2 months I was at the farm. So between January 16th and March 17th.
Story 2: Hard to say, but sometime around February 11th.
Story 3: April 3rd, with the road family who would become Punto G.
Thanks Mom, for everything.
I love you!!!!
My name is Becca and this is From the Ashes, Episode 6: I fucking LOVE my mother.
It’s mother’s day!
And, in honor of a woman that I love so, so deeply – I thought I’d share three stories from my travels that specifically remind me of how much I love her.
Mom, I hope you hear this. I love you so much!
I was washing dirty dishes I did not create. Dishes that someone had carelessly left out and forgotten.
In the beginning, I did these forgotten dishes with resentment. I wondered how people could be so careless, and so selfish. I wondered how people could walk all the way to the sink, dishes in hand, put the dishes in there, and not take the two minutes it took to actually wash them. I was especially confused considering the reminder to wash dishes happened literally every morning.
And then, Momma, I thought of you.
I thought of you dinner after dinner, meal after meal, day after day, week after week, year after year, washing basically every single dish I ever used.
You washed my dishes when I moved back in at the age of 21 after graduating from university. You washed my dishes when I moved back in when my life fell apart at 32.
And when I asked you if I could help, (even though I admitted I hated washing dishes) you always smiled calmly and said, “I don’t mind. I like doing it.”
As I scrubbed what seemed like the 500th mug left out after breakfast, I wondered how you did it.
How you could wash other people’s dishes for more than 30 years, and enjoy it.
I put the clean dishes I had just washed into the dry rack, and then I walked away. I couldn’t figure it out how you did it. I was still really frustrated.
Day after day, I walked through the barn that the 45 of us lived in. I washed forgotten mugs, abandoned dinner plates, carelessly strewn utensils, everyone’s everything.
And one day, as I washed, I found myself humming. Moving the sponge in my hand to the rhythm of a song in my head, and I realized I no longer resented the task.
It was an easy task. It was simple. Meditative. And it was a way to consistently help people I had come to love. And I knew that those in the community who didn’t wash dishes contributed many other things to the harmony and joy in our collective experience.
I felt you within me in that moment. In my mind, I saw you at the sink in our kitchen, and I felt connected to you. Like I understood you just a little bit more than I had the moment before.
I thought about every dish you’ve washed for me – for our whole family – and I basked in the immense amount of love you’ve given – just through this one simple task. I felt lucky to have a mother like you. I felt lucky that you turned something that could’ve been a battle into something that you simply took responsibility for – out of love.
I was riding in The Founder’s red pickup truck. I was on his team that day.
Being on his team meant a long day of mindless hard labor, and it also meant the privilege of riding around in the truck with with him.
Today, The Founder and I were alone in the cab of the truck. I had been at the farm for a month, and I had been doing little else but hard physical labor. He knew I had more skills than swinging a shovel and stomping on grass, so he challenged me to think about my contribution.
“So Becca, when are you going to use your skills here?”
After some short discussion on what I felt my skills were, he asked me to consider being house mother.
I responded with some serious emotional defense “Listen man. I destroyed an engagement because I don’t want to be a mother. You’ve got the wrong person.”
At the time, I obviously was not into the idea of being called a mother. But now, as I look back, I think again of you, Momma.
When I describe you to people, one of the first things I say about you is that you are immediately everyone’s Mom.
It doesn’t matter who a person is, where they’re from, how old they are, or how I know them. Every time I have introduced you to another human being in my life, you have immediately welcomed them. Warmly. With a huge, genuine hug and a big smile.
You’ve listened to the people I’ve brought into your life with rapt attention, you’ve given advice, and you’ve shared yourself with them as well.
As much as I always talk about how I am my father’s daughter, this love that is a part of you is fundamentally a part of me.
The founder of the farm saw that in me. He saw the legacy of your love.
As I look back on the moment he asked me to be house mother, I realize that he wasn’t asking me to be a stereotypical mother. He wasn’t asking me to be someone who disciplines or someone who keeps the kiddos in line. He was simply asking me to use the gift you have given me to help the farm to thrive.
The gift of loving unconditionally. To care for others, even when they are near strangers. To make anyone feel welcome and loved immediately. To planting the seeds of innate belonging so that eventually people will blossom into living authentically, and as themselves.
He was asking me to give the love I have basked in my entire life because of you.
You have such a beautiful gift, and as I move further and further through this world, there are no words to really describe how grateful I am to you for having given me this gift.
It is the reason I am who I am, and I consider the way that I love one of my superpowers. I have it because you have it, I have it because you gave it to me.
We were sitting around a campfire. It was our first night together, and we didn’t yet know that we would eventually become family.
A brilliant boy posed a simple question asking about the greatest lessons one of our parents have taught us. We shared deeply that night, myself included.
I told Emily’s story.
How she had gotten sick.
How you had sat by her side night after night as she endured treatments.
How she hadn’t lived long.
How the experience had changed our entire family.
And then, Momma, I told them what you told me, so many years ago after attending the sharing session with the other adults at the bereavement camp.
I still remember it, and still impacts me to this day.
You can’t live in your pain, Becca. You can’t live in your past. You can and should remember her, but you can’t stay there. It’s not what she would’ve wanted.
You have to move on. And you have to live your life.
I told them about how I watched as you transformed what happened into something meaningful.
As you turned this tragedy into strength.
As you created a story around the death of a child that ultimately helped to empower me. To empower yourself. And To empower us all.
Every bit of strength I have … every small ability to move on, to move forward, to power through after tragedy, to keep my chin up, to see the opportunity in endings, to pull the silver lining out of the darkest of storm clouds, is because you showed me how.
So much of my resilience is because you are resilient. I learned how to bounce back from hardship by watching you do it. So much of my ability to churn out a positive story from a tragic tale is because I listened to you spin tales of tragedy that always ended with how you came out better on the other side.
In a word, you are a survivor. And because you are a survivor I know how to thrive. Because you made it so that my life has less struggle and hardship than yours did, these lessons that helped you to keep going are the lessons that help me to live my life brightly and with endless, untempered courage.
Right now, I am more than 6000 miles away from you. We are far apart and yet because of these experiences, I still feel like you are right here with me.
Although I have always felt so lucky to have you as my mother, halfway around the world, that feeling has gotten much, much deeper.
Thank you for making the choices that you did when I was young.
Thank you for following me around with a camera and supporting me literally every step of the way throughout my life.
Thank you for holding me up when life got too heavy for me to support myself on my own.
Thank you for loving me and trying to understand me, even though I am not meant for a normal path through this life.
Thank you for teaching me how to love myself without makeup, without artifice, and without a filter.
Thank you for never withholding your truth, and for teaching me how to live mine.
Thank you for showing me the importance of constantly learning, growing, and never sitting still for too long.
Thank you for boarding down that volcano in Nicaragua with me, and for teaching me that being a badass doesn’t end just because you’re pushing 60.
Thanks for getting drunk for the first time at like 55 just because I asked you to.
And thank you for showing me how to dance without reservation, and with the full strength of who you are.
You are the literally the best mother in the world.
I am so glad I will always be your child, and that you will always be my mother.
I fucking love you with all my heart.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.