Memorial Day Cookout 5/28/2012 — A Personal Journal Entry
This is an excerpt from a journal entry of mine from May 2012. I was at a Memorial Day family cookout at Maw’s house. That evening of the cookout I spent time looking at one of Memaw’s (Maw’s mother) scrapbooks and I also remember having a conversation with Maw about my college classes and how defeated I was feeling after my last semester. Maw always knew just what to say to uplift and encourage me. This conversation with her always stuck with me thereafter and I’m so glad I journaled about it.
“I had asked Maw if she could get out Memaw’s old scrapbook so that I could look at it and she had it sitting out for me to look at. I spent at least two hours looking at it. Maw and I took it outside and looked at it on the patio together.
I love looking at all of the old pictures of my beloved relatives and the relatives that I wish I could have met. And I love hearing Maw tell me stories and memories from her past. Memaw used to write poetry and I absolutely love reading it! Her poetry is so beautiful. Reading all of that poetry has inspired me to write and journal and scrapbook.
Maw told me that Memaw would love to know that I love poetry and reading all of the classic novels (Memaw’s favorite novel was always Jane Eyre)! I guess I get my love of poetry from Memaw. Maw has also told me before that Papa would be so proud of me for loving to work in the garden. I feel like I know Memaw and Papa, but Papa died before I was born and I’m pretty sure Memaw did too. I really wish that I could have met them, I think that we would have really gotten along with each other and I would have loved them even more than I do now. But I know that I will get to meet them in heaven one day. I know that Memaw and Papa are looking down from heaven watching me.”
“While the girls were still playing, Maw came to stand by me and she asked me how my summer was going so far. I told her that it was going good but I was just afraid that it was going to go by too fast. Maw told me to just enjoy every day of my break. Then we got to talking about classes and school work.
I told her that I guess I would be ready to go back to school when the time comes. And I was telling her that I was still upset about my bad grade that I got in BIBLE. She told me that one bad grade didn’t matter and that I have come a long way, and that as long as I am learning, grades aren’t that big of a deal. I told her that I was learning a lot, but that I feel like sometimes no matter how hard I try I still get low grades.
And at this point I was tearing up. Maw told me that she had to work really hard in school too! And that good grades didn’t come easy for her. Maw said that she had a cousin that just got really good grades so easily but that she was different. Maw hugged me and told me that I can do it. She gave me the love, support, and encouragement that I needed and can get from no one else. I just know that I want to graduate and keep pushing forward.”
Re-reading this journal entry almost 10 years later is kind of surreal. I still remember that conversation with Maw like it was yesterday. I was feeling so defeated and embarrassed about my bad grade in that one college class. I was worried I had disappointed my family and I felt like I was failing and couldn’t measure up. I think when Maw saw how I was feeling and she opened up to me about how getting good grades was hard for her too it created this safe space for me. She also made me feel loved and supported. I was putting my worth and identity in good grades, but Maw reminded me that I am enough just as I am, with all of my flaws and short comings.
For as long as I can remember, Maw was always encouraging me and speaking positively over me. Even when I felt so defeated and didn’t think I could do something, I knew that she whole-heartedly believed in me and knew I could do it. Maw always told me the story of how her daddy believed in her, and when she didn’t think she could do it her daddy would tell her “You can do that, Kat!”. Maw told me that she would always think to herself “If Daddy thinks I can do it, then I guess I can”. What a beautiful picture of how powerful our words are and how much of an impact they can make on the next generation.