Touch of Tenderness
I want to thank Jackie Lynnley for prompting me to write this piece of the earliest memories of my childhood.
I have been testing my brain trying to recall my earliest memory of when I was a child. I grew up as the youngest child in a family of ten children. My father and mother had separated and my mother was left to raise her large family on her own.
We were a large family but there was a lot of love in our family, it always seems that when any family that has had hard struggles do come together to support each other, especially when you are poor. My mother was the glue that held us together, no matter what happened in our family it was my mother that always soothed our troubles or took care of the problems. I was a skinny little boy who was afraid of everything when I was a child and only did something if my mother told me it was alright to do it or was pushed by her to do it.
The earliest memory I have of my mother was when she would be ready to give me a bath, she would first take me to the bathtub and start the water running from the faucet. Then she would take me tenderly in her arms and hold me with my body leaning backwards into the bathtub so only my head would be under the running water. Although I was off the ground, I still felt the strength from my mothers arms holding me tenderly and had confidence that she would not drop me. My mother always followed her old spanish traditions of how to keep her children healthy and one was that you always wet the top of your head before you wet the rest of your body, this prevented you from catching a cold. (I still do this today anytime I get into the shower or just to go for a swim)
After wetting my head suffinciently, then she would display her strength by applying shampoo to my head with one hand while she still held me tightly aloft with her other arm. Then she would start scrubbing my head while holding me leaning backwards, until she felt she had gotten that boyhood dirt off of my tiny head and then with such a touch of tenderness would gently lean me back under the faucet and rinse my head, giving it one last comb through with her fingers until she felt it was clean enough for her. She would then exercise her God given strength for her children and lift me back up to my feet, i would always turn with a smile and look at her face and could see the glow that shone from her face, this was the motherly love of her children, that was never questioned.
She would then fill up the bathtub up to a certain level and give me a bath with a sponge making sure she got the rest of the dirt off. This was followed by a good toweling off and a change into my pajama's. After this, I knew it was bedtime where she would come into my room I shared with my older brother and kiss me goodnite with a little prayer. I did not realize that I was without a father in my life, for my mother was the world to me.
Because I was the youngest of the family I grew up as a momma's boy. The only male role models i had growing up were my older brothers, but as i went through my life I learned to be strong and persevere from my mother. She was the tenderest woman I ever knew but her will power to succeed always exceeded the odds against her, she would not let it stop her from raising her family of ten and instill in them that same strength to succeed no matter what life gives you.
I decided to show a picture of my mother so all could see the beautiful woman that she was and if you look closely you can see in her eyes the strength, will power and love and tenderness she had for her family.