My Mama’s Voice

My Mama and Me
My first memories
include my Mama’s voice.
No matter where she is,
no matter where I am,
I hear her—
“There was a little girl,
who had a little curl, 
right in the middle 
of her forehead.”
       Mama points in thin air,
       draws a circle.
“And when she was good,
she was very, very good,”
      she emphasizes very,
     nods up and down,
“and when she was bad,”
      she exaggerates bad,
      lifts an eyebrow,
“she was horrid.”
     Mama shudders,
     shakes her head. 
It’s a gentle warning.
Her words still ring true.
At the end of each day,
Mama would always say,
“Goodnight, sleep tight.
Don’t let the bed bugs bite.
And if they do…”
      This is my cue.
     I say, “Take your shoe, 
     and rub their tummies
     black and blue.”
Mama says, “I love you.”
    And I say back, “I love you, too.”
It's our routine. 
In times of trouble, 
Mama stands on God’s word.
How many times did I hear
her say?
“And we know that all things
work together for good
to those who love the Lord
to those who are called
according to His purpose.”
     Mama would say it now 
     if she could.
And then—"I love you.”
But I hear her voice. 
     "I love you, too, Mama."
     No matter where you are.
    No matter where I am.
Mama had three children. Somehow she always made me feel I had her undivided attention. How adorable is she? Family vacation, July 1972, Hoover Dam.

41 thoughts on “My Mama’s Voice

  1. I can still hear my mom’s voice too. No voice on earth (then or now) could soothe like hers. It’s been nine years since she passed, but I can still hear her—saying something like, “It’s alright, sugar.” Nobody else has ever called me sugar.

    Thank God for mamas! Thank you for sharing this excellent poem! Blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your Mama sounds a lot like my Mum. Always with the kindness, attention and little sayings, no matter how little time she had to spare or how ill she was. We children came first. Alas, she passed too soon (46 years ago) only getting to see one out of 10 grandchildren. She always thought of others first and I will always remember her. Stay well Crystal and thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The years past but the memories last you can’t recreate moms love, the nuggets of wisdom I still chew, to the favorite songs she sang that still shine through, I saw it all again in your sharing, God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful memory. One of my first memories was sitting on my mama’s lap with my head rested against her chest. When she would talk it sounded muffled and soothing and I always fell asleep. My mama has been gone for seventeen years but I still can hear her voice and remember how soothing it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Breathtaking, my friend. How fortunate are we to have such memories to inspire us? Our mothers gave us life not once, but countless times with their unselfish goodness. Just from reading your own stories, I know you give your own children a similar comfort.

    Though 2020 has been, well, awful, beautiful writing like yours restores even the most frazzled of spirits. Thank you, Crystal.

    Oh, and I totally relate to your story about dialing your parents’ phone. Although Dad has been gone eight years now, I still have messages he left (I had a landline all those years ago, in addition to the mobile). Anyway, every year or so Comcast asks if I want to keep the archived messages.

    How strongly can I say, “yes?” One of my fondest activities, especially when other events are caustic, is to listen to the dozen or so messages I have saved. Asking if I want to come over for dinner, thanking me for a package I sent, etc. Oh now I treasure those recordings!

    Your exquisite poem was similarly heartwarming, Crystal. Thanks for the Christmas gift!


    1. I recently finished John Berger’s novel Here Is Where We Meet. The narrator’s long-dead mother shows up and tells him, “the dead don’t stay where they’re buried” and “do us the courtesy of noticing.” The rest of the book includes stories of people who have shaped his life. I ended up writing an eight-page essay about it, and his ideas weighed on me before I wrote this post. I hope to do my mother more courtesy by remembering what I noticed. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me, Keith. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  6. Thank you for sharing!… no doubt your Mom has a special place in your heart and you can visit and chat with her whenever you wish to… “ The love a mother has for her children is legendary, it is said a child is the mother’s heart outside her body.” (Author Unknown)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    And may all the wishes you wish come true
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

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