When I read the tender and nearly mystical post about her daughter, Lola, the youngest in their family, written by Maggie May (whose writing takes my breath away with its heart-wrenching, lusty, earthy, soulful expressions of love, loss, and more love) I thought of what my mother meant to her family once upon a time.
She was Margaret, there in the first photo sitting on her brother Marshall's tummy, circa 1916. The tiny 1-1/2"x2" photo wasn't preserved well, which indicates to me that it either was not a favorite of her mother's, the protector of photos and all memorabilia, or that it was so well loved by someone in the family that it was kept out, or maybe treasured in a wallet and shown often. No matter the wear.....the love still shines through.
There she is with the whole family in their only formal family portrait. The boys: Jim, the eldest, Marshall, the middle brother, and Richard, the youngest must have been told to be on their best behavior for the photograph and little Margaret would follow their lead, always, because she idolized them. She is what, maybe three years old, in this portrait? That would give Richard and her -- so close they were -- only seven more years together before he was killed in an auto accident in his junior year of high school. His death devastated that strong, loving family and it informed the way Margaret loved the men, including four husbands, in her future: grasping, testing, wanting, rejecting.
But before the sadness and challenges to come there were these and many more moments of contentment and grace.